Reno, Nev. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) held a roundtable at the Sparks Police Department to discuss her legislation, the Law Enforcement Suicide Data Collection Act, which aims to prevent and address the national epidemic of police suicides.
“Tragically, we’ve seen police suicides in Nevada and around the nation. I want to do all I can to make sure Congress is supporting our law enforcement officers in every way possible, but we need more data. This bill will let us learn where in our law enforcement community we need to offer more support. And with more precise data, we can implement more precise solutions to help the people who put their lives on the line every day.”
2018 was the third straight year in which police suicides outnumbered line-of-duty deaths. Law enforcement agencies across the country lost at least 167 officers to suicide in 2018. Currently, there is no comprehensive government effort to track suicides and attempted suicides in law enforcement like there is for line-of-duty deaths.
The Law Enforcement Suicide Data Collection Act requires the FBI to open a voluntary data collection program to track suicides and attempted suicides within local, tribal, state and federal law enforcement. Information collected and maintained by the FBI will not include any personally identifiable information.
Participating law enforcement agencies will report information on suicides within their agency to the FBI, including:
- Circumstances and events that occurred before each suicide or attempted suicide;
- Location of each suicide or attempted suicide;
- Demographic information of each law enforcement officer who dies by suicide or attempts suicide;
- Occupational category for each law enforcement officer who dies by suicide or attempts suicide; and
- Method used in each suicide or attempted suicide.
This bill also directs the FBI Director to submit an annual report on the data to Congress and publish the report on the FBI website.
This program would serve as the principal data collection tool on suicides and attempted suicides within law enforcement across the country. By providing accurate and detailed information on these suicides and attempted suicides, more effective prevention programs could be implemented to save lives.
The full text of the bill is here.