Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Senate passed two pieces of legislation co-sponsored by U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.). The American Law Enforcement Heroes Act of 2017 and the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act of 2017 both increase the resources and funding for programs supporting local law enforcement, policing departments, and veterans.
“Veterans face unique challenges following their years of service, and we must make sure that they are taken care of when they return home,” said Cortez Masto. “Their training makes them highly qualified to serve in law enforcement and I am pleased that the American Law Enforcement Heroes Act will prioritize the hiring of veterans so we can better serve Nevada communities.
“Additionally, addressing mental health issues is fundamental for providing our police officers with comprehensive care. The Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act of 2017 will provide valuable resources to police officers who are in need of mental health care, and it is also a needed push to destigmatize mental illness.
“Our veterans and police officers deserve to receive the support they need to excel. Both bills are a step in the right direction, and I am thankful to my colleagues for supporting our veterans and law enforcement officers.”
The American Law Enforcement Heroes Act of 2017 changes part of the COPS grant program that provides grants to hire full-time police officers for community orientated policing to allow for the prioritizing of the hiring of veterans in these roles.
The Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act of 2017 directs the Department of Justice, Department of Defense, and the Department of Veterans Affairs to develop resources to equip local law enforcement agencies to address mental health challenges faced by officers. The bill would also make grants available to initiate peer mentoring pilot programs, develop training for mental health providers specific to law enforcement mental health needs, and support law enforcement officers by studying the effectiveness of crisis hotlines and annual mental health checks.