Without much fanfare, President Joe Biden signed a new bill to provide more money to law enforcement agencies for mental health counseling and therapy resources to deal with on-the-job trauma.
On Nov. 18, Biden signed the COPS Counseling Act, which stands for Confidentiality Opportunities for Peer Support Counseling, to provide more mental health resources to first responders. Meanwhile, the police reform bill, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021, went nowhere.
In a press conference about the COPS bill, Biden compared being in law enforcement to being a soldier in war. “It’s not fundamentally different than being on the battlefield,” he said.
The bill requires the Department of Justice to require peer support counseling programs provided by a law enforcement agency that gives counseling services from a peer support specialist to a law enforcement officer of the agency, NBC 12 reported.
COPS wasn’t well received by some on Twitter.
“Killing people takes a toll on mental health,” @diettrade tweeted.
Fatal police shootings in the U.S. have been increasing, with 716 civilians shot in 2021, including 111 Black people, as of October 2021, according to Statista. In 2020, there were 1,021 fatal police shootings, compared to 999 fatal shootings in 2019. The rate of fatal police shootings among Black Americans was much higher than that for any other group — 37 fatal shootings per million of the population as of October 2021.
Some Twitter users weren’t surprised that Biden pushed the bill through. “This is the result of when you elect two cops into the white house,” tweeted AHUS @AmericaHatesUs.
Biden also signed the Protecting America’s First Responders Act of 2021, which provides increased access to benefits for those disabled in the line of duty.
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