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Young Legislation Supporting Law Enforcement Officials Advances During National Police Week

Senator Todd Young

During National Police Week, several legislative proposals cosponsored by U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) in support of Indiana’s law enforcement community advanced in the Senate.

On Thursday, the Senate passed a bipartisan resolution introduced by Senator Young and a group of senators designating the week of May 15 through May 21, 2022, as “National Police Week.” The resolution expresses unwavering support for law enforcement officers across the United States in the pursuit of preserving safe and secure communities. This week, the Senate unanimously adopted the resolution.

“Our police officers on the front lines make sacrifices every day to keep Hoosiers safe,” said Senator Young. “I’m pleased that the Senate passed this resolution honoring the important work of law enforcement officers.”

Additionally, two of Senator Young’s bills in support of law enforcement officers passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and advanced to the full Senate for consideration. The Fighting Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Act of 2022 would establish mental health programs for America’s first responders who often face long-term effects from providing life-saving services in moments of crisis. The Invest to Protect Act of 2022 would make the COPS grant program more easily accessible for smaller law enforcement agencies with fewer than 200 sworn officers.

Here are the three legislative proposals Senator Young made this last week:

National Police Week Resolution:

This resolution honors the 576 law enforcement officers who were killed in the line of duty in 2021, including nearly 400 who died from COVID-19, as well as the 92 lost to date in 2022.

Last year marked the most intentional killings of police since the September 11, 2001, attacks. In the face of an ongoing pandemic and rise in violent crime, law enforcement personnel continue to answer the call, serving their communities, often at great risk to themselves.

Eight officers died in the line of duty in Indiana in 2021:

  • James Driver, Monroe County Sheriff’s Department (EOW: 3/29/2021)
  • Gregory Ferency, Terra Haute Police Department (EOW: 7/7/2021)
  • Anthony Hinshaw, Losantville Marshal’s Office (EOW: 11/25/2021)
  • James Hirtzel, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (EOW: 10/12/2021)
  • Eugene Lasco, Indiana Department of Corrections (EOW: 2/21/2021)
  • Robert Nicholson, Clark County Sheriff’s Office (EOW: 9/26/2021)
  • Thomas Sawyer, Hammond Police Department (EOW: 6/17/2021)
  • John Starks, Clark County Sheriff’s Office (EOW: 12/8/2021)

Fighting Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Act of 2022:

Public safety officers, police officers, firefighters, EMTs, and 911 dispatchers are at a higher risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and acute stress disorder (ASD) than the general public due to their proximity to stressful, graphic, and life-threatening situations in their job.

The Fighting PTSD Act of 2022 would require the Attorney General, in conjunction with the Director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Service (COPS), to propose a program to Congress for making state-of-the-art treatment available to public safety officers dealing with job-related post-traumatic stress disorder.

The legislation builds on Senator Young’s previous efforts to support public safety officers. Senator Young was the lead Republican sponsor of the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act of 2017, which required the Department of Justice (DOJ) to produce a report on how mental health practices implemented by the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs might apply to law enforcement. The legislation was signed into law in January 2018 and DOJ’s report was released in March 2019.

Invest to Protect Act of 2022:

Ninety percent of law enforcement agencies in the U.S. are smaller than 200 full-time sworn officers. These small agencies protect and serve our communities with strained budgets and a growing need for additional training, equipment, and funding.

The Invest to Protect Act of 2022 would establish a grant through the COPS program that would be limited to local law enforcement agencies with fewer than 200 sworn officers. The bill further requires that the grant application take no longer than 30 minutes to complete, so applicants can spend their time protecting their communities instead of navigating bureaucratic red tape. Through the creation of this new grant, in addition to the existing COPS grant opportunities, these smaller yet vital agencies would have greater access to federal resources to keep our officers and communities safe.