Pascrell Police Funding Bill Passes House and Senate
Authorizes $270 million for Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program, Funds New Police TBI and PTSD Training
U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) today praised passage in the Senate of his legislation, the TBI and PTSD Law Enforcement Training Act (H.R. 2992). The legislation authorizes $270 million over five years to reauthorize the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP), and funds a new Pascrell pushed police training program to help law enforcement and first responders better recognize and respond to people suffering from traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The legislation will now go to President Joe Biden’s desk to become law.
“Despite what some say, Democrats are funding our police. Our bill that is on its way to becoming law ensures first responders will be equipped to assist individuals who are suffering from mental illness,” said Rep. Pascrell, who leads both the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force and the Congressional Law Enforcement Caucus. “For years, the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program has funded trainings, crisis intervention programs, and community partnerships. My bill reauthorizes this critical program for a half-decade and creates a new training program to help our first responders assist individuals dealing with TBI, PTSD, and other trauma-related ailments. By funding a study at the CDC on incidence of TBI among first responders, my bill also takes an important step in improving the lives of public safety officers dealing with the often debilitating symptoms of traumatic brain injury. I’m grateful for the work of Senator Ossoff and Senator Grassley in advancing this important bill. I would also like to thank Chairmen Pallone and Nadler for their steadfast efforts. I look forward to President Biden’s signing of these changes into law because it will help save lives in all communities of America.”
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). This legislation is led in the Senate by Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA). The House Judiciary Committee advanced the legislation on May 11 and the House of Representatives passed the bill on May 19 during National Police Week.
JMHCP funds programs to support individuals with mental illnesses or substance abuse disorders who come into contact with the justice system. By reauthorizing the JMHCP at $54 million annually through 2027, an increased level, this bipartisan bill will fund first responder training programs, crisis intervention teams, mental health courts, and other programs that help law enforcement assist individuals experiencing mental illness.
The bill will further fund new trainings to help first responders better recognize and assist individuals suffering from PTSD or TBI, which contribute to approximately three million emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths each year. About 8 percent of Americans will experience PTSD at some point in their lives and about 8 million adults have PTSD during a given year. 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.
Finally, the bill authorizes a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to better understanding the prevalence of TBI and PTSD among our nations' law enforcement officers and first responders and recommend resources.
The TBI and PTSD Law Enforcement Training Act is supported by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME); 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).