Pascrell $270 Million Police Funding Bill Signed into Law
Lives will be saved with newly authorized TBI and PTSD training grant program
U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) today celebrated the signing into law of his legislation, the TBI and PTSD Law Enforcement Training Act (H.R. 2992). The new law 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).
“Today is great for policing in the United States. We are prioritizing police funding at over a quarter billion dollars,” said Rep. Pascrell, who leads both the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force and the Congressional Law Enforcement Caucus. “Very often, Americans with TBI and PTSD are not readily recognized by first responders, which can lead to challenging situations. This new program is being created because legislation I authored. President Biden signing this law I wrote will help our first responders recognize these trauma conditions. This training is good for first responders and good for our neighbors in need. With our law enforcement officers under unprecedented threats these days, it is important we stand with our first responders and give them helpful tools. I thank Senators Ossoff and Grassley and Chairmen Pallone and Nadler for helping get my bill across the finish line. Lives will be saved by this law.”
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).