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Pascrell Legislation to Improve Police Trauma Training Advanced by Judiciary Committee

During National Police Week, TBI and PTSD Law Enforcement Training Act heads to full House

Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) today celebrated the House Judiciary Committee’s approval of his TBI and PTSD Law Enforcement Training Act (H.R. 2992) during National Police Week. First proclaimed by President John F. Kennedy in 1962, National Police Week has grown to a series of events that attracts thousands of law enforcement officers to our Nation's Capital each year to honor those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

“It is essential that we better prepare our first responders to identify symptoms of TBI and PTSD so they can properly assist individuals who are suffering from them,” said Rep. Pascrell, who leads both the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force and the Congressional Law Enforcement Caucus. “My bill will help our first responders as well as those dealing with the every-day symptoms of TBI, PTSD, and other trauma-related ailments. I’m grateful that Chairman Nadler and our colleagues on the Judiciary Committee acted swiftly to advance my bipartisan legislation to the full House and I look forward to working towards its final passage in the near future.”

Rep. Pascrell introduced the TBI and PTSD Law Enforcement Training Act last year with Reps. John Rutherford (R-FL-04), Don Bacon (R-NE-02), and Val Demings (D-FL-10). The legislation would provide better training to law enforcement for interactions with individuals suffering from traumatic brain injury (TBI) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 3.2 million and 5.3 million people live with a TBI-related disability in the United States. About 8 percent of Americans will experience PTSD at some point in their lives and about 8 million adults have PTSD during the course of a given year.

Despite the prevalence of TBI and PTSD, the majority of people cannot recognize and identify the symptoms. As a result, many law enforcement and first responders struggle with interacting with individuals suffering from these conditions. Many of the symptoms of TBI and PTSD, such as confusion, inability to follow directions, and impaired thinking or memory, can be misinterpreted or mistaken for intoxication. Additionally, other symptoms like agitation or irritability can raise safety issues for the individual with law enforcement and first responders.

Developing and implementing training programs that provide information on recognizing the signs and symptoms of TBI and PTSD can help improve emergency response, public and first responder safety, and interactions between first responders and individuals with these conditions. Further, by better understanding the prevalence of TBI and PTSD among our nations' law enforcement officers and first responders, we can take an essential step in promoting officer health and wellness. 

The TBI and PTSD Law Enforcement Training Act is supported by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP); Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA); Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA); Major County Sheriffs of America (MCSA); National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO); National Narcotics Officers’ Associations’ Coalition (NNOAC); National Sheriffs Association (NSA); Sergeants Benevolent Association NYPD (SBA); National District Attorneys Association (NDAA); National Association of State Head Injury Administrators (NASHIA); Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA); and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

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