Congressman Josh Harder introduces bill to support coordination between law enforcement and mental health professionals

Bill will pair police officers with mental health professionals to address homelessness and public safety

August 5, 2022 – WASHINGTON – Representative Josh Harder introduced the Support the Law Enforcement Health and Safety Act. The bill would create a new grant program to support coordination between community mental health centers and law enforcement officials on mental health issues, including homelessness and public safety. The bill is supported by the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC), the largest law enforcement organization in California, representing approximately 75,000 public safety personnel and 930 public safety associations across the country. State.

Click here to read PORAC’s letter of support for the bill.

“I’ve been escorted to every corner of my district and the police and sheriffs are all saying the same thing: they need more resources to deal with people in mental health emergencies. Today, I am introducing legislation that will address that need with real resources, so that every officer has what they need to keep our community safe,” Rep. Harder said. “This bill will provide new grants for our police and sheriffs to partner with community mental health centers so that those experiencing a mental health episode are seen with a mental health professional in addition to ‘an agent. It means fewer people on the streets and safer communities for all of us.

“PORAC ​​is pleased to offer its support for this legislation and thanks Congressman Harder for his leadership in this initiative. By placing social workers alongside peace officers when responding to mental health emergencies, better and safer outcomes are possible,” said Brian Marvel, president of the Peace Officers Research Association of California. “California has a similar pilot program, the Psychiatric Crisis Response Team (PERT), which has been extraordinarily successful. If passed, this bill will help PERT and similar programs grow. Across the country.

The Support the Law Enforcement Health and Safety Act would establish a three-year pilot program through the Department of Justice (DOJ) to provide grants of up to $300,000 over three years to facilitate closer coordination between community mental health centers and law enforcement ‘order. Following the pilot program, the DOJ would be required to issue a report to Congress regarding the effectiveness of the program.

According to the National Alliance for Mental Health, two million people with mental health problems are imprisoned each year and almost 15% of men and 30% of women in prison have a serious mental health problem.
Source: Congressman Josh Harder

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