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Chairman Nadler Statement for Markup of the “TBI and PTSD Law Enforcement Training Act”

Washington, D.C. - Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) delivered the following opening statement, as prepared, during a full committee markup of H.R. 2992, the “TBI and PTSD Law Enforcement Training Act”:
“H.R. 2992, the “TBI and PTSD Law Enforcement Training Act,” is bipartisan legislation that would require the Department of Justice to develop crisis intervention training tools for law enforcement agencies so that they can better equip officers to respond to individuals with traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 3.2 million and 5.3 million people live with a TBI-related disability in the United States, and approximately 7 percent of Americans will experience post-traumatic stress disorder at some point in their lives.  TBI and PTSD are especially common among veterans and service members.

“Despite the prevalence of TBI and PTSD, many law enforcement officers and other first responders are not adequately trained on how to identify their symptoms.  Since many symptoms of TBI and PTSD can be mistaken for intoxication or even aggression, such as confusion, impaired thinking, or irritability, law enforcement can misinterpret the behavior of someone exhibiting these symptoms—with sometimes deadly consequences for first responders and the people they encounter.

“This legislation would help ensure that officers are trained to identify symptoms of TBI and PTSD in order to respond appropriately to crisis calls and to divert individuals towards mental health care and treatment and away from the criminal justice system.

“Through the Bureau of Justice Assistance, agencies have access to training and resources from the Police Mental Health Collaboration toolkit.  H.R. 2992 would enhance the existing program to include crisis intervention training on recognizing the signs of TBI and PTSD and responding to individuals in crisis.

“The bill also requires the CDC to study occurrences of concussion and TBI among law enforcement officers and first responders.

“I thank Representatives Pascrell, Bacon, and Rutherford, along with our colleague, Representative Demings, for their dedication to law enforcement, first responders, and the citizens they serve.  This important bipartisan legislation is broadly supported by numerous law enforcement and mental health organizations and would help protect the lives of first responders and the people they encounter.

“I urge all of my colleagues to support it.”

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