Senator praises Chief Soto for making access to mental health resources a priority for the Reno Police Department
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) today announced Reno Police Chief Jason Soto as her guest to the State of the Union address. Chief Soto has been a leader in promoting officer safety and wellbeing by providing innovative mental health resources and peer support to his department. He previously joined Senator Cortez Masto at a law enforcement roundtable in Sparks, Nevada, to discuss her legislation to address the crisis of police suicides.
“From his position as the City of Reno’s top law enforcement officer, Jason Soto is fighting to end the mental health stigma in the law enforcement community, support his officers through the stress and trauma they experience on the job, and build resiliency at an agency of over three-hundred officers. He has been an essential partner in my efforts to better understand and tackle the growing problem of police suicide, and I’m working to bring to Washington, D.C., what I’ve learned from the successes of the Reno Police Department under his leadership. I’m honored to have Chief Soto join me as my guest for the State of the Union to highlight the importance of supporting the wellbeing of our men and women in blue.”
According to Blue H.E.L.P., 2019 was the fourth straight year in which police suicides outnumbered line-of-duty deaths. Law enforcement agencies across the country lost at least 228 officers to suicide in 2019. Currently, there is no comprehensive government effort to track suicides and attempted suicides in law enforcement like there is for line-of-duty deaths.
In October, Senator Cortez Masto introduced the Law Enforcement Suicide Data Collection Act, which 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.
The program created by this bill would serve as the principal data collection tool on suicides and attempted suicides among 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.