In the wake of the ninth New York Police Department (NYPD) officer to commit suicide this year, the Nassau County Legislative majority announced a bill that would give officers greater access to mental health resources.
The legislation, which will be heard at the next meeting of the Legislature, includes: the creation of an Office of Mental Health and Wellness within the Nassau County Police Department (NCPD) and Department of Corrections; the implementation of a liaison between the other police forces and NCPD to better serve officers residing in Nassau County; the establishment of a mental health action plan to examine the mental health policy and procedures and provide the opportunity for added resources to the departments; the creation of a smartphone application with various mental health resources; the formation of peer support groups for police and corrections officers; and the provision of in-service wellness training and resources for all officers for a minimum of one hour per year.
Legislators James Kennedy and Rose Marie Walker, who represent Massapequa in the Legislature, stood with their fellow Republicans in announcing these bills.
“Our police officers put their lives on the line to keep us safe,” said Kennedy. “In an age where police officers often don’t get the credit they deserve and are often met with disrespect and violence, it’s important that we provide officers with the mental health resources they need to continue to keep us safe. This legislation will help ensure our police force remains a model for the nation for years to come.”
“We give our law enforcement officers all the training and tools they need to go to work each day,” said Walker. “However, we also need to provide them with the help and resources they need to deal with the aftermath of the stressful situations they may encounter on a daily basis. This legislation does just that.”
Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams said, “Any initiative that will improve the well-being and on-the-job performance of Nassau County police officers is something that we would seriously consider supporting.”