Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) introduced a bill to track law enforcement suicides. The Law Enforcement Suicide Data Collection Act requires the FBI to collect voluntary, anonymous data on police suicides and attempted suicides from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Collecting this data will help inform policy solutions so that law enforcement suicides can be prevented.
“Members of our law enforcement community are on the front lines of dangerous and highly stressful situations every day. The serious nature of their work can put them at a greater risk of developing issues related to their mental health. It’s important that we recognize this and reduce the associated stigma. Law enforcement officers put our safety first, and it’s time we return the favor,” Grassley said.
2018 was the third straight year in which police suicides outnumbered line-of-duty deaths. Law enforcement agencies across the country lost at least 167 officers to suicide in 2018. Currently, there is no comprehensive government effort to track suicides and attempted suicides in law enforcement like there is for line-of-duty deaths.
The Law Enforcement Suicide Data Collection Act requires the FBI to open a voluntary data collection program to track suicides and attempted suicides within local, tribal, state and federal law enforcement. Information collected and maintained by the FBI will not include any personally identifiable information.
Participating law enforcement agencies will report information on suicides within their agency to the FBI, including:
- Circumstances and events that occurred before each suicide or attempted suicide;
- Location of each suicide or attempted suicide;
- Demographic information of each law enforcement officer who dies by suicide or attempts suicide;
- Occupational category for each law enforcement officer who dies by suicide or attempts suicide; and
- Method used in each suicide or attempted suicide.
This bill also directs the FBI Director to submit an annual report on the data to Congress and publish the report on the FBI website.
This program would serve as the principal data collection tool on suicides and attempted suicides within law enforcement across the country. By providing accurate and detailed information on these suicides and attempted suicides, more effective prevention programs could be implemented to save lives.
The full text of the bill is here.