The National Fraternal Order of Police welcomes the passage of Senate Bill 998, which will be signed by the president. The bill is a grant program that will provided limited funds to assist in the effort of treating officers and their families for stress-related issues.
I agree that this is an important issue, but I think the national lodge should instead be working on a protection bill that ensures an officer will not lose their job if they request mental health assistance.
A protection bill would allow officers to step out of the shadows and receive the help they need without fear of losing their livelihood, homes and families. The bill would require any agency that receives federal funds to follow the bill's requirements in treating mental health and if needed, remove the officer from duty.
I understand that some individuals may try to take advantage of the act, but an independent evaluation board would decrease the likelihood of that. We need to ensure officers are not fired for asking for help.
Thomas Ostrowski, Crown Point