WASHINGTON, D.C. (KOLO) - Reno Police Chief Jason Soto attended the State of the Union on February 4, 2020 as Senator Catherine Cortez Masto's special guest.
Photo Source: Russel Midori / USMC / MGN
The two are working to bring attention to the growing police officer suicides.
According to Blue H.E.L.P., an organization that collects law enforcement suicide data, 2019 was the fourth straight year in which police suicides outnumbered line-of-duty deaths. Law enforcement agencies across the country lost at least 228 officers to suicide in 2019.
The organization's website reports 172 officer deaths to suicide in 2018. 168 were reported in 2017 and 143 were reported in 2016. The organization has reported at least one officer death caused by suicide in 2020.
Currently, there is no comprehensive government effort to track suicides and attempted suicides in law enforcement like there is for line-of-duty deaths.
Cortez Masto is using the State of the Union as a platform to try and help the men and women who serve and protect across the United States.
She introduced the Law Enforcement Suicide Data Collection Act, which would require the FBI to open a voluntary data collection program to track suicides and attempted suicides within local, tribal, state, and federal law enforcement.
This would be a foundation to build effective prevention programs to save lives in the future.
"This is bipartisan legislation. This is an issue that all senators, all congressmen and women, the president, everybody should be able to get behind," said Cortez Masto.
She says Soto has been a leader in promoting officer safety and well-being by providing mental health resources and peer support to his department.
"We are bringing attention to well-being and to try and find resources for law enforcement in particular and make sure that we're healthy and not, not only healthy in our body, but in our minds as well," said Soto.
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