Bill aims to reduce law enforcement officers’ deaths

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A bipartisan bill recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives hopes to reduce the number of law enforcement officers and others killed or injured in situations that involve mental health.

Nationwide, one in every 10 police response calls involves a person suffering from mental health challenges. In addition, one in every three people transported to a hospital emergency room for psychiatric reasons are taken there by law enforcement officers, and one in every four people killed by law enforcement suffers from a mental illness.

The Law Enforcement Training for Mental Health Crisis Response Act of 2019 would invest $15 million over three years through the U.S. Department of Justice for law enforcement training. This training would include how to resolve or de-escalate any potential issues that may arise during interactions with people suffering from mental health illness and how to best interact with these individuals.

“The reality is that our law enforcement officers are often the first on the scene when someone is suffering a mental health crisis,” U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH), the bill’s cosponsor, said. “But without adequate training, those encounters can be both dangerous and tragic.”

U.S. Reps. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) and Kendra Horn (D-OK) introduced the bill.

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