Mr. Speaker, today our law enforcement officers are under immense pressure as they face more and more criminal activity with fewer and fewer resources.
Often, officers are called on to respond to high-stress situations involving people who are an extreme emotional or altered mental states.
This bill will help law enforcement to better understand and interact with individuals experiencing traumatic brain injuries or post- traumatic stress disorder.
While traumatic brain injuries affect people of all ages and backgrounds, data suggests that there is a higher prevalence among certain groups, including veterans, the homeless, and those who have been incarceration. These groups are also more likely to have encounters with law enforcement.
Studies have shown that it is often difficult for law enforcement officers to differentiate between those suffering from brain injuries or PTSD, and those who are intoxicated by alcohol or drugs.
For example, common signs of intoxication, such as slurred speech, outbursts of anger, slow response times, and forgetfulness can also be signs of traumatic brain injury. Training officers to recognize the differences between traumatic brain injury or PTSD and intoxication can lead to more favorable outcomes for the officers and the individuals they encounter.
This bill will require the Bureau of Justice Assistance within the Justice Department to develop training that will inform officers on what type of treatment and resources the individual may need.
For individuals suffering from traumatic brain injury, medical referrals may be the most appropriate. This training will promote the safety of our men and women in uniform and improve public safety in our communities.
Mr. Speaker, in closing, it is important to note that seeing this body support law enforcement, rather than to condemn it, is a welcome, if only brief, departure from how Democrats have treated our police forces over the past 2 years.
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Mr. BENTZ. Mr. Speaker, I have no further speakers, and I am prepared to close.
Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this bill, and I yield back the balance of my time.
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