WASHINGTON – A bill to support law
enforcement officers seeking mental health services was signed into law today.
The Confidentiality Opportunities for Peer Support (COPS)
Counseling Act was co-authored by Senate Judiciary Committee
Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Catherine
Cortez Masto (D-Nev.).
“Law enforcement officers across the country sacrifice so
much to keep our communities safe, and they often endure challenging and
traumatic situations in the process. Confidential peer counseling programs
provide an important mental health outlet for these officers to share their
experiences, decompress and receive guidance. This law ensures officers have an
opportunity to participate in peer counseling with the confidence that their
privacy will be protected. I am grateful that it has been signed into law to
support our law enforcement officers,” Grassley
“Our law enforcement officers serve and sacrifice for our
communities every day, and this law will help ensure they
get the mental health
support they need. My
husband was in federal law enforcement, and I spent eight years working closely
with our brave police officers as Nevada’s Attorney General, so I know these men and women face
extreme challenges and trauma on the job. I wrote this bill to make a
difference for law enforcement in Nevada and across the country, and was proud to stand with President Biden as he signed it into law today,” said Senator Cortez Masto.
Modeled after state confidentiality laws, the COPS Counseling Act will provide confidentiality to
federal law enforcement officers who use peer counseling services, excepting
admissions of criminal conduct or threats of serious physical harm. The bill
will also encourage first responder agencies to adopt peer counseling programs
by requiring the Department of Justice to make best practices publicly
available on its website and to provide a list of training programs for
individuals to become peer support mentors.
Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary
Committee, alongside Cortez Masto earlier this year also called
for full funding for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG)
program that is the leading source of criminal justice funding for state,
local, and tribal governments.