WASHINGTON – On Friday, July 12, U.S. Representatives Madeleine Dean (PA-04), Mike Quigley (IL-05), and Greg Steube (FL-17) introduced legislation to require the FBI to establish a program to collect data on law enforcement and former law enforcement suicides and attempted suicides. Currently, the FBI tracks line-of-duty deaths through the Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted program, but there is no comprehensive government effort to track suicides or attempted suicides by law enforcement.
The Law Enforcement Suicide Data Collection Act will establish a Law Enforcement Officers Suicide Data Collection Program to collect data on law enforcement and former law enforcement suicides at the local, state, and federal level. The FBI Director will then be required to submit a report to Congress each year and publish the report on the FBI website.
“Suicide among our law enforcement community is rising at a troubling rate,” said Rep. Dean. “Tackling this problem means collecting the very best information we can – and then using that information to design programs that address the challenges our law enforcement professionals face. We owe them nothing less.”
“Law enforcement officers place themselves in danger for their communities every day, running toward danger when everyone else runs away from it. The least we can do to give back to these brave men and women is to ensure that we fight for their mental health. A critical step in that mission is understanding the number of officers who attempt suicide or lose their lives to suicide every year,” said Rep. Quigley. “Many non-profits already estimate that suicide takes the lives of more officers than line-of-duty deaths. By establishing a government data collection program that compiles accurate information on suicide rates, we can better serve law enforcement officers, establish effective prevention practices, and save lives.”
“The mental health crisis in this country is staggering—especially amongst groups that put their lives on the line for our communities and our country,” said Rep. Steube. “I’m proud to support this bill to collect data on law enforcement and former law enforcement suicides and attempted suicides in the hopes that we can address this crisis.”
This legislation has been endorsed by the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), Sergeants Benevolent Association NYPD, National Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Police Organizations, Major County Sheriffs of America, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, National Narcotic Officers’ Associations Coalition, American Psychiatric Association, and the National Sheriffs Association.
“It is a sad fact that we lose more officers to suicide than we lose in the line of duty,” said Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police. “Currently, information related to law enforcement suicides and suicide attempts is not collected or analyzed in a systematic way, so this fact does nothing to help us help these at-risk officers. The “Law Enforcement Suicide Data Collection Act” would collect this information and help us prevent future suicides. We’re very grateful for the leadership of Representatives Quigley and Dean on this important issue and we look forward to working with them to get this bill to the President’s desk.”
“In recent years, suicide has become the number one cause of death for federal, state, and local law enforcement officers around the country,” said President Ed Mullins of the Sergeants Benevolent Association NYPD. “In 2019 alone, there have been more than 100 verified law enforcement suicides—including two of my very good friends and former colleagues in just the past month. The SBA is proud to support this important legislation so that we can learn more about the rise in police suicides, develop solutions to reduce these numbers, and improve the delivery of mental health services for the brave men and women of law enforcement.”
“Suicide in law enforcement is a tragic reality we must face head on,” said Sheriff Grady Judd, President of the Major County Sheriffs of America. “Through voluntary data collection, our profession can better understand the pervasiveness of this issue and work towards a data driven solution. As leaders, we should do everything we can to ensure the wellbeing of the men and women who serve.”
“Suicide prevention among Law Enforcement Officers must be a national priority – today Law Enforcement Officers are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention applauds Rep. Quigley’s and Rep. Dean’s leadership in introducing the Law Enforcement Suicide Data Collection Act, to fortify data collection and adequately respond to the stressors and the unique challenges that our Officers are facing. AFSP urges their colleagues in Congress to swiftly pass this critically important bill into law, to serve the individuals that protect and serve us,” said The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Rep. Madeleine Dean is a mother, grandmother, attorney, professor, former four-term member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and U.S. Representative for the Fourth District of Pennsylvania.
Contact: Matt Bieber, 202-251-5643