AG signals Kansas’ support for federal legislation to support public safety officers

Published: Apr. 26, 2022 at 10:34 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Attorney General Derek Schmidt has signaled Kansas’ support for federal legislation that would better support public safety officers who suffer from PTSD.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says on Tuesday, April 26, he urged U.S. Congress to pass legislation that would address gaps in support for public safety officers who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder due to the high-risk nature of their jobs.

In a letter sent to House and Senate leadership, AG Schmidt said a bipartisan coalition of 53 state and territory attorneys general asked Congress to pass S. 3635, the Public Safety Officer Support Act.

Schmidt said the legislation would support public safety officers who suffer from PTSD by designating work-related PTSD as a “line of duty” injury for eligible officers and those disabled from attempted suicide. He also said it would allow families of officers who die by trauma-linked suicide to apply for death benefits.

“Each of our jurisdictions is served by thousands of brave first responders who show up for us in tragic situations every day. Now we need to show up for them,” the attorneys general wrote. “These individuals deserve access to quality treatment and their loved ones deserve the benefits they have earned.”

Schmidt said the coalition praised the work of public safety officers including police, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians who respond to stressful and potentially traumatic incidents. Compared to the general public, he said public safety officers are 25.6 times more likely to develop PTSD and research shows those who suffer from PTSD are at increased risk of suicide.

The AG noted that the legislation has been endorsed by the American Psychological Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, National Association of Police Organizations, Sergeants Benevolent Association, National Sheriffs Association, Blue H.E.L.P, the National Border Patrol Council, and the United States Capitol Police Labor Committee.

To read a full copy of the letter sent to legislative leadership, click HERE.

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