Senate Passes Three Bills to Support First Responders During National Police Week

The legislation, co-sponsored by Senator Collins, would provide health and safety resources to law enforcement officers

Washington, D.C. — Three bills to provide safety resources and mental health support for first responders passed the Senate unanimously today.  U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) cosponsored the Supporting and Treating Officers in Crisis Act of 2019, the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program Reauthorization, and the Debbie Smith Act of 2019


In addition, Senator Collins joined all 100 Senators in introducing a resolution recognizing National Police Week, which also passed unanimously.  The resolution lists all 159 members of law enforcement who were killed in the line of duty in 2018, including Corporal Eugene Cole of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office.


“National Police Week is a time to honor members of law enforcement and reflect upon the sacrifices they make to keep our communities safe,” said Senator Collins.  “We owe these brave men and women, who put their lives on the line every day, more than just our gratitude.  These three important bills support our law enforcement officers by providing the resources they need to ensure their safety, expanding access to mental health programs and other medical benefits, and reducing the backlog of untested DNA kits to help them achieve justice for victims.”


Background on legislation:


  • The Supporting and Treating Officers in Crisis Act of 2019 would authorize funding for law enforcement family-support services, as well as permit recipients to establish mental health services such as suicide prevention programs for law enforcement officers.


  • The Bulletproof Vest Partnership Program would permanently reauthorize the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant program, which helps state and local law enforcement agencies purchase lifesaving bulletproof vests for officers working in the field. 


  • The Debbie Smith Act of 2019 would reauthorize the Debbie Smith Act and give much-needed resources to state and local law enforcement agencies to complete forensic analyses of crime scenes and untested rape kits.


Earlier this week, Senator Collins attended the 7th Annual Friends of New England’s Finest reception to honor Cpl. Eugene Cole, who was killed in April 2018, and Maine State Police Detective Benjamin Campbell, who died last month while helping a stopped motorist.