The Law Enforcement Training for Mental Health Crisis Response Act of 2019 (HR 2698 / S 1464, 116th Congress) would authorize appropriations to support grants that integrate behavioral health crisis response training into law enforcement agencies. Specifically, the Act would support training to help law enforcement officers: settle behavioral health crisis situations, avoid officer’s injury or death when responding to a behavioral health crisis, and individual’s injury or death when an officer responds to a crisis. The Act would authorize $5 million annually for fiscal years 2020, 2021, and 2022 to support these grants. Grants would be administered based on applications by law enforcement agencies, and would be used to support both training and the cost that officers would incur (travel and lodging) to attend the training.
The Act begins by stating that officers regularly respond to crises with individuals suffering from a mental health emergency, including that one in four deaths of individuals by law enforcement officers are individuals suffering from a mental health crisis. According to an interview with NPR, only half of police departments in the US provide training specific to responding to emergencies involving someone with a mental health concern.