Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) released the following statements after their bipartisan legislation to support law enforcement officers seeking mental health services was signed into law by President Biden.
The Confidentiality Opportunities for Peer Support (COPS) Counseling Act will encourage the adoption of law enforcement peer counseling programs across the country and ensure that the information disclosed during peer support counseling sessions by federal law enforcement officers is kept confidential.
“Our law enforcement officers serve and sacrifice for our communities every day, and this law will help ensure they get the mental health support they need,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “My husband was in federal law enforcement, and I spent eight years working closely with our brave police officers as Nevada’s Attorney General, so I know these men and women face extreme challenges and trauma on the job. I wrote this bill to make a difference for law enforcement in Nevada and across the country, and was proud to stand with President Biden as he signed it into law today.”
“Law enforcement officers across the country sacrifice so much to keep our communities safe, and they often endure challenging and traumatic situations in the process. Confidential peer counseling programs provide an important mental health outlet for these officers to share their experiences, decompress and receive guidance. This law ensures officers have an opportunity to participate in peer counseling with the confidence that their privacy will be protected. I am grateful that it has been signed into law to support our law enforcement officers,” Grassley said.
Modeled after Nevada’s confidentiality laws, the COPS Counseling Act will provide confidentiality to federal law enforcement officers who use peer counseling services, excepting admissions of criminal conduct or threats of serious physical harm. The bill will also encourage first responder agencies to adopt peer counseling programs by requiring the DOJ to make best practices publicly available on its website and to provide a list of training programs for individuals to become peer support mentors.
As the former top law enforcement official in Nevada, Senator Cortez Masto has been a leading advocate in the Senate for our police officers. Her bipartisan legislation to combat the crisis of law enforcement suicide was signed into law last year, and she teamed up with Senator Grassley to call for full funding for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) program that is the leading source of criminal justice funding for state, local, and tribal governments. The American Rescue Plan she championed set aside $4 billion so that Nevada’s state and local governments could maintain essential services like police and first responders.