Sens. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nevada, Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, and Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, introduced Oct. 30 a bill to track law enforcement suicides.
The Law Enforcement Suicide Data Collection Act requires the FBI to collect voluntary, anonymous data on police suicides and attempted suicides from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Collecting this data will help inform policy solutions so that law enforcement suicides can be prevented.
“Tragically, according to the Department of Justice, more police officers have died by suicide recently than were fatally shot in the line of duty,” said Coons. “We must do more to protect the officers who put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe, and that includes providing them with the mental health care they deserve. I’m proud to work with a bipartisan group of colleagues to introduce the Law Enforcement Suicide Data Collection Act here in the Senate. This bill will provide valuable data that can help inform and target a suicide-prevention initiative within the law enforcement community.”
The Law Enforcement Suicide Data Collection Act requires the FBI to open a voluntary data collection program to track suicides and attempted suicides within local, tribal, state and federal law enforcement. Information collected and maintained by the FBI will not include any personally identifiable information.
Participating law enforcement agencies will report information on suicides within their agency to the FBI, including: circumstances and events that occurred before each suicide or attempted suicide; location of each suicide or attempted suicide; demographic information of each law enforcement officer who dies by suicide or attempts suicide; occupational category for each law enforcement officer who dies by suicide or attempts suicide; and method used in each suicide or attempted suicide.
This bill also directs the FBI Director to submit an annual report on the data to Congress and publish the report on the FBI website.
This program would serve as the principal data collection tool on suicides and attempted suicides within law enforcement across the country. By providing accurate and detailed information on these suicides and attempted suicides, more effective prevention programs could be implemented to save lives.