Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) signed on to the bipartisan Public Safety Officer Support Act, introduced by U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), to support the families of officers who struggle with their mental health or who die due to trauma-linked suicides. The House companion to this legislation recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives.
“The families of law enforcement officers who die by suicide deserve our full and total support,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “These brave men and women respond daily to difficult, sensitive, and traumatic situations. This legislation will ensure that should tragedy strike, officers’ families receive the benefits they are owed.”
Currently, many families struggle to receive benefits because federal law limits the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) program to only cover physical injuries—excluding any support for mental health concerns. While the U.S. military already recognizes suicides by service members as deaths in the line of the duty, the PSOB does not. The Public Safety Officer Support Act would direct the PSOB to treat work-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), acute stress disorder, and other trauma and stress disorders as a line-of-duty injury for eligible officers as well as those who are permanently disabled as a result of attempted suicide.
Senator Cortez Masto has been a devoted advocate for law enforcement during her time in the Senate. She has passed numerous pieces of legislation to secure robust funding for officers and resources for local police departments in Nevada. Most recently, Senator Cortez Masto introduced the Invest to Protect Act to provide $250 million to support small law enforcement across the country over the next five years. In 2021, President Biden signed her bipartisan bill, the Confidentiality Opportunities for Peer Support (COPS) Counseling Act, into law to encourage peer counseling sessions for law enforcement and provide confidentiality to officers in Nevada and across the country who attend. The Senator also passed the bipartisan Law Enforcement Suicide Data Collection Act to track law enforcement suicides and use the anonymous data collected to improve mental health intervention and decrease law enforcement suicides. Senators Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) recently secured $3 million in federal funding for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s new reality-based training facility to make sure officers are equipped and have the resources they need to handle every situation.