U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) introduced the Law Enforcement Training For Mental Health Crisis Response Act of 2019, bipartisan legislation to improve police training.
“With the most up to date training, our law enforcement officers can continue to serve their communities with excellence and honor,” Inhofe said. “When responding to calls, law enforcement officers need to be prepared to respond to all possible scenarios and, more and more, we’re seeing that involve behavioral health crises. By improving training for these types of responses, we can better help officers, individuals in crisis and our entire community.”
“When our law enforcement officers have the training and resources they need to respond to mental health crises, we can better ensure the safety of our first responders, individuals in crisis, and members of our communities,” said Brown.
Inhofe and Brown’s legislation would:
- better train law enforcement officers to resolve behavioral health crisis situations;
- reduce the number of law enforcement officers killed or injured while responding to a behavioral health crisis; and
- reduce the number of individuals killed or injured during a behavioral health crisis in which a law enforcement officer responds.
- 1 in every 10 police response calls involve a person suffering from a mental illness.
- 1 in every 4 people killed in a police response incident suffer from a mental health illness.
- 1 in 3 people transported to a hospital emergency room for psychiatric reasons are taken there by police.
The legislation was praised by law enforcement leaders:
"Far too often the brave men and women of our nation's law enforcement community lack the necessary training to effectively and safely resolve the mental health critical incidents they routinely face in the course of their duties,” said Luke Sherman, Chairman of the National Tactical Officers Association. “The Law Enforcement Training for Mental Health Crisis Response Act of 2019 is critical to law enforcement personnel by providing the resources necessary to ensure that they have access to the training so vitally important to helping ensure both a proper and effective response to incidents involving a mental health crisis. The National Tactical Officers Association strongly supports this important legislation and thanks Sen. Inhofe for his tremendous work and leadership in bringing this bill forward for consideration.”
“As more and more police calls involve individuals suffering from a behavioral or mental health crisis, we need to make sure our deputy sheriffs have the training and resources to respond to these cases,” said Sheriff Chris West, member of the Board of Directors to the National Sheriff’s Association. “Deputy sheriffs and law enforcement officers across the nation are grateful to Sen. Inhofe for introducing the Law Enforcement Training for Mental Health Crisis Response Act of 2019 that will protect officers and help them better serve their communities.”
“On a daily basis, law enforcement officers across this state are called upon to respond to individuals who are dealing with or experiencing a mental health crisis,” Mark Nelson, Vice President of Oklahoma Fraternal Order of Police, said. “We are expected to handle these incidents with care, compassion, knowledge and professionalism. While we have come a long way in our ability to safely and effectively handle these calls, we must acknowledge there is still work to be done. Training and resources that are vital to law enforcement must be made available. The Law Enforcement Training for Mental Health Crisis Response Act of 2019 is a key element in seeing that accomplished. The more than 6,200 members of the Oklahoma Fraternal Order of Police proudly support this bill. Furthermore, we’re grateful for Sen. Inhofe’s hard work to bring this to the forefront of the conversation on how we as law enforcement can most effectively and safely serve our communities.”