New Law Funds Law Enforcement Collaborations with Mental Health Experts

Orlando Representative Val Demings applauded the final signing of the TBI and PTSD Law Enforcement Training Act, legislation that she helped to introduce as an original cosponsor with Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr.

The TBI and PTSD Law Enforcement Training Act authorizes $270 million over five years to reauthorize the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP), and funds a new police training program to help law enforcement and first responders better recognize and respond to people suffering from traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Florida is 49th in the nation on access to mental health care, and it is critical that law enforcement has the training needed to safely handle situation involving people with traumatic brain injuries, PTSD, or other conditions,” said Rep. Demings. “As a former social worker and law enforcement officer, I fully understand the need to expand the availability of mental health care for our families and communities because it’s time to get serious about getting our families, friends, and neighbors the support they need.”

Rep. Demings previously has prioritized law enforcement and mental health initiatives many times in Congress. She helped lead the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act, which was signed into law in 2017 to help address PTSD and other conditions suffered by law enforcement officers. She supported the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022, and led an amendment to the legislation to require data collection and reporting by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Institute for Justice on mental health challenges facing American law enforcement officers, as well as their treatment options.

The Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP) funds programs to support individuals with mental illnesses or substance abuse disorders who come into contact with the justice system. By reauthorizing the JMHCP at $54 million annually through 2027, an increased level, this new law will fund first responder training programs, crisis intervention teams, mental health courts, and other programs that help law enforcement assist individuals experiencing mental illness.

The law will further fund new trainings to help first responders better recognize and assist individuals suffering from PTSD or TBI, which contribute to approximately three million emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths each year. About 8 percent of Americans will experience PTSD at some point in their lives and about 8 million adults have PTSD during a given year. Developing and implementing training programs that provide information on recognizing the signs and symptoms of TBI and PTSD can help improve emergency response, public and first responder safety, and interactions between first responders and individuals with these conditions.

Finally, the law authorizes a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to better understanding the prevalence of TBI and PTSD among our nations’ law enforcement officers and first responders and recommend resources.

“I was proud to work with Congressman Pascrell and others to stand by our law enforcement officers and ensure that they have the training and resources they need to do their jobs safely and effectively,” Rep. Demings added. “This new law is good for law enforcement and good for our communities.”

In the Senate campaign, Demings has been hitting Florida Senator Marco Rubio for “not showing up to work,” and Rubio hits back with ads featuring law enforcement officials against Demings. It is clear Demings is ready to stand behind the legislative action taken. Here are some of the accomplishments she is touting:

Rep. Demings introduced the VICTIM Act to establish a new grant program to hire, train, and retain detectives and victim services personnel to investigate unsolved crimes, comfort victims, and bring the guilty to justice. This legislation will give law enforcement agencies the resources they need to track down violent criminals and keep families safe.

Rep. Demings cosponsored the Invest to Protect Act of 2022, which would establish new federal grants to local police departments with fewer than 200 officers.

Rep. Demings co-led the bipartisan Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act, which was passed into law and is now supporting an active officer mental health program.

Rep. Demings led on The Law Enforcement Protection Act to protect law enforcement officers from concealable armor-piercing weapons, and the Protecting Our Communities Act, to protect law enforcement officers and the public from high-powered, rapid-firing and untraceable weapons.

Rep. Demings previously voted to pass the American Rescue Plan (ARP), which provided critical funding to state and local governments to keep law enforcement officers on the job. To date, the ARP has provided at least $10 billion in new public safety and violence prevention funding. House Democrats secured more than $100 million in Community Project Funding for more than 100 law enforcement and community policing initiatives across the country.

Daisy Morales for State Representative District 44


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