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Quigley Bill Addressing Law Enforcement Suicides Passes Congress

May 27, 2020
Press Release

Today, the Law Enforcement Suicide Data Collection Act, passed the House of Representatives by a unanimous vote and now heads to the President’s desk for signature. This bipartisan bill is the Senate companion to U.S. Representative Mike Quigley’s bill, H.R.3735, which will establish a government data collection program to track suicides within law enforcement at the local, state, and federal level.

According to a recent study, law enforcement officers have died by suicide in 2019 at more than twice the rate they have been killed in line of duty. This means that officers are more likely to die from suicide than at work.

Currently, there is no comprehensive government effort to track attempted suicides or suicides in law enforcement. In fact, there are only a few estimates on the number of suicides within law enforcement each year and this data is often not available to the public.

The government data collection program created under Quigley’s bill will serve as the principal tool to compile data on law enforcement suicides and attempted suicides within law enforcement across the country. By providing accurate and detailed information on these suicides and attempted suicides, this would implement more effective prevention and postvention programs to save more lives.

“Every day, law enforcement officers work long hours and face traumatic situations all to keep our communities safe,” said Quigley. “I am proud that my colleagues in the House voted on to pass my legislation to prioritize the mental health of our law enforcement officers. By collecting the best information on suicides, we take the first critical step in helping police departments establish and strengthen their mental health services. Law enforcement officers are our heroes. It is our responsibility to provide the support system they deserve.”

“I applaud the House passage of the Law Enforcement Suicide Data Collection Act, which will require the FBI to collect data on suicides and attempted suicides by law enforcement officers,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “With more precise data, we can implement better solutions and support our law enforcement in my home state of Nevada and across the country by ensuring they have access to vital mental health support and resources. I’m grateful for Representative Quigley’s leadership in this effort and proud to have introduced this legislation in the Senate. I hope that the President signs this bill into law without delay.”

“The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) applauds Congressional efforts to prioritize mental health needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. We thank Congressman Quigley for the successful passage of his Law Enforcement Suicide Data Collection Act, an important bill to prevent and understand law enforcement suicides,” said John Madigan, Senior Vice President and Chief Public Policy Officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

“For those of us in law enforcement, there is no issue of more importance than addressing the troubling rise in officer suicides, which has already claimed the lives of 60 of our colleagues in just the first five months of 2020,” said President Ed Mullins of the Sergeants Benevolent Association NYPD.  “That is why we are so proud of the leadership of Rep. Quigley and a strong bipartisan group of legislators to expedite the consideration of the ‘Law Enforcement Suicide Data Collection Act.’ This important legislation will not only aid in the development of solutions to reduce the number of suicides but will also improve the delivery of mental health services for the brave men and women of law enforcement.”

This bill has been endorsed by the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Sergeants Benevolent Association NYPD, National Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Police Organizations, Major County Sheriffs of America, National Sheriffs Association, Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies, National Narcotic Officers’ Associations Coalition, Major Cities Chief Association, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, American Psychiatric Association, and Blue H.E.L.P.

Quigley delivered remarks from the House floor calling for support for the legislation. To view his remarks, click HERE. His remarks as prepared for delivery are available below:

Madame/Mr. Speaker,

I rise today in support of the Law Enforcement Suicide Data Collection Act, the Senate companion to bipartisan legislation that I authored and introduced to address the mental health needs of law enforcement officers across the country.

Every day, our officers put their lives on the line to protect our communities.

They work long shifts and respond to dangerous calls in order to keep crime off our streets and keep our citizens safe.

This critical work does not come without a cost – law enforcement officers often experience post-traumatic stress from their work environment.

According to multiple studies, officers are more than twice as likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty-related homicides or accidents.

Suicide has become the number one cause of death for federal, state, and local law enforcement officers around the country.

In fact, in my hometown of Chicago, the officer suicide rate is 60 percent higher than the national average.

Despite these sobering statistics, there is no federal government program to track the number of officers who attempt suicide or lose their lives to suicide every year.

My legislation creates a data collection program within the FBI to track law enforcement suicides at the local, state, and federal level.

By providing accurate and detailed information, this bill will help police departments implement more effective suicide prevention and postvention programs.

These intervention programs will save lives.

It is our turn to bring the brave men and women who fight for us the care they need and deserve.

I am grateful to Chairman Nadler for his support of this important mission and for prioritizing this piece of legislation in bringing it to the House floor.

I ask my colleagues to support the Law Enforcement Suicide Data Collection bill today.

I yield back the balance of my time. Thank you.

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