TOPEKA – (April 26, 2022) - Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is urging Congress to pass legislation to addresses gaps in support for public safety officers who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) associated with the high-risk nature of their jobs.
In a letter sent to House and Senate leadership, the bipartisan coalition of 53 state and territory attorneys general asked Congress to pass S. 3635, The Public Safety Officer Support Act. The legislation supports public safety officers suffering from PTSD by designating work-related PTSD as a “line-of duty” injury for eligible officers and those disabled from attempted suicide. It also allows families of officers who die by trauma-linked suicide to apply for death benefits.
“Each of our jurisdictions is served by thousands of brave first responders who show up for us in tragic situations every day. Now we need to show up for them,” the attorneys general wrote. “These individuals deserve access to quality treatment and their loved ones deserve the benefits they have earned.”
The attorneys general praised the work of public safety officers including police, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians who respond to stressful and potentially traumatic situations. Compared to the general public, they are 25.6 times more likely to develop PTSD and research shows those suffering from PTSD are at increased risk of suicide.
The legislation is endorsed by the American Psychological Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, National Association of Police Organizations, Sergeants benevolent Association, National Sheriffs Association, Blue H.E.L.P, the National Border Patrol Council, and the United States Capitol Police Labor Committee.
A copy of the letter in support of the Public Safety Officer Act is available at https://bit.ly/3rM1NMU.