FOP-Backed Bills Prevail in Senate; House Consideration Next
Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, welcome news that the Senate considered and passed tour FOP-supported bills by unani1nous consent on Tuesday afternoon.
“This is National Police Week and we are very grateful to the Senate and its leadership for taking up legislation to improve policing and officer safety at a time when we honor their commitment and sacrifice,” Canterbury said.
The Senate passed S. 419, the “PSOB Improvements Act,” which addresses issues of transparency and accountability of the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits program. It will also improve and expedite the handling of claims filed by our survivor families.
“The FOP played a key role in drafting this legislation, which passed the Senate late last summer but did not clear the House before the end of the Congress,” Canterbury said. “We think it will make a tremendous difference to the families who lose their loved one in the line of duty.”
Under a unanimous consent agreement, the Senate also passed S. 867, the “Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act” The legislation directs the U.S. Attorney General to identify existing mental health and wellness programs, especially those administered by the U.S. Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs, and then develop model policies much could be adopted by State, local and tribal law enforcement agencies.
“The very nature of our profession puts an incredible amount of stress and strain on our mental wellbeing,” Canterbury said. “Our departments have physical training and guidelines to keep our ofl1cers physically fit, but in the vast majority of departments, there is no mental wellness training or services available. We believe Senator Donnelly and Senator Young’s bill is the first step in changing that and using the tools we already have to help law enforcen1ent officers.”
The Senate also passed S. 139, the “Rapid DNA Act,” which will expedite the processing and use of DNA in investigations, as well as S. 583, the “American Law Enforcement Heroes Act,” which would prioritize the hiring of veterans and reservists through the hiring program administered by the Office of Co1nrnunity Oriented Policing Services (COPS).
The Fraternal Order of Police is the largest law enforcement labor organization in the United States with more than 330,000 members in every region of the country.