Brooks Honors Law Enforcement on the House Floor During National Police Week
Washington, D.C. – Last night, Congresswoman Susan Brooks (R-IN05) joined her colleagues on the House Floor to honor our nation’s police officers during National Police Week and Mental Health Awareness Month and to highlight a bill she recently introduced in the House, H.R. 2228, the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act. Companion legislation, S. 867, was introduced by Senators Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Todd Young (R-IN) and passed the Senate yesterday. To watch Brooks’ remarks, click here.
A copy of Brooks’ remarks are below:
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize National Police Week and it’s also Mental Health Awareness Month.
I want to thank my colleague, whom we affectionately call Sherriff, a Sherriff who served his great state for 33 years.
And, I want to express my profound gratitude to the men and women in uniform and their families who serve and sacrifice so much to protect our safety.
But I think we also need to talk about a way that we can repay them for their sacrifice and service by making mental health services more have the resources to handle so many difficult on-the-job situations they deal with every single day.
Police officers are constantly under attack often on the job.
Caught literally in crossfire of violent domestic violence and violent crime.
Finding and recovering bodies of murder victims, some of whom are young children.
Targets for lone wolf shootings and attacks.
Injecting NARCAN, the overdose reversal drug, into people who’ve overdosed on heroin, trying to save them. Think about all of the different things the men and women in uniform have to do day in and day out.
For most people, just one of these experiences would be enough to cause trauma. But our police officers face these and unthinkable situations daily, sometimes leading to significant mental health challenges for our officers like suicidal thoughts, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.
Fortunately, we have many law enforcement groups, including the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Indiana Fraternal Order of Police, who are working to offer our officers the support and treatment they need to continue to protect themselves and our communities. Since 2010, officers in Indianapolis have been able to receive counseling and referrals to doctors and clinicians through a unique in-house program, staffed by fellow trained officers.
To help more police departments develop and implement similar programs, I’ve introduced along with my good friend a new member of congress from Florida, Val Demings, a former police chief in Orlando. We’ve introduced H.R. 2228, the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act.
This will improve sharing of federal best practices at the Department of Justice and Department of Veteran’s Affairs with local police departments. It will make grants available to initiate peer mentoring pilot programs, and develop training for mental health providers specific to law enforcement, and study the effectiveness of crisis hotlines and get officers annual mental health checkups.
If our police officers are healthy, our communities will be safer. We owe it to all of our heroes in law enforcement across the country to protect their mental health and wellbeing. And I’ll urge passage of this legislation.
Thank you, and I yield back.
For more information on H.R. 2228, the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act, click here.