Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 274

    February Session, 2018

Substitute Senate Bill No. 278

Senate, April 5, 2018

The Committee on Public Safety and Security reported through SEN. LARSON of the 3rd Dist. and SEN. GUGLIELMO of the 35th Dist., Chairpersons of the Committee on the part of the Senate, that the substitute bill ought to pass.

AN ACT CONCERNING MENTAL HEALTH CARE AND WELLNESS TRAINING AND SUICIDE PREVENTION FOR POLICE OFFICERS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective from passage) (a) For the purposes of this section, "police officer" has the same meaning as provided in section 7-294a of the general statutes, "firefighter" has the same meaning as provided in section 7-313g of the general statutes and "emergency medical services personnel" has the same meaning as provided in section 20-206jj of the general statutes.

(b) No municipality or state agency shall discharge, discipline, discriminate against or otherwise penalize a police officer, a firefighter or an emergency medical services personnel employed by such municipality or state agency because the police officer, the firefighter or the emergency medical services personnel has sought or received mental health care services. The provisions of this subsection shall not be applicable to a police officer, a firefighter or an emergency medical services personnel who seeks or receives mental health care services to avoid discipline by such municipality or state agency.

(c) No municipality or state agency shall discharge, discipline, discriminate against or otherwise penalize a police officer employed by such municipality or state agency because the police officer returns his or her firearm used in the performance of the police officer's duties to such municipality or state agency during the time the police officer receives mental health care services. Such municipality or state agency shall return such firearm to the police officer when the police officer's licensed mental health care provider, psychiatrist or psychologist determines the police officer is ready to report for duty.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective from passage) (a) Not later than July 1, 2018, the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection, in consultation with the Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services and at least one advocacy organization that is concerned with the mental health care and wellness of police officers, shall develop and maintain a list of at least thirty licensed mental health care providers in the state that are trained in treating police officers and have expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder in accordance with the most recent edition of the American Psychiatric Association's "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders". The list shall include, but need not be limited to, providers who are trained in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy or any other evidence-based treatment modality and shall be published on the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection's Internet web site.

(b) A police officer, as defined in section 7-294a of the general statutes, who is diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder by and receives treatment from a licensed mental health care provider on the list published under subsection (a) of this section, or is diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder by and received treatment from a psychiatrist licensed pursuant to chapter 370 of the general statutes or a psychologist licensed pursuant to chapter 383 of the general statutes until such time as such list is published, after the police officer is involved in a shooting or other critical incident, may return to work after the police officer's licensed mental health care provider, psychiatrist or psychologist determines the police officer is ready to report for duty in the same or another capacity, provided the police officer returns to work not later than one year from the date of the shooting or other critical incident.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective from passage) (a) Not later than July 1, 2019, the Police Officer Standards and Training Council established under section 7-294b of the general statutes shall develop and promulgate a model critical incident and peer support policy that is consistent with guidelines published by the International Association of Chiefs of Police to support the mental health care and wellness of police officers.

(b) Not later than August 1, 2019, each municipal police department shall (1) adopt and maintain a written policy that meets or exceeds the standards in the model policy developed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, (2) make peer support available to the department's police officers after a shooting or other critical incident, and (3) refer a police officer seeking mental health care services to a licensed mental health care provider on the list published under section 2 of this act.

Sec. 4. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2018) The Division of State Police within the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection and the Police Officer Standards and Training Council, established under section 7-294b of the general statutes, in consultation with the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, shall provide mental health care and wellness training and crisis intervention techniques to police officers hired on or after October 1, 2018, by the division or a municipal police department.

Sec. 5. (NEW) (Effective from passage) (a) The Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection shall establish and maintain a list of police officers, as defined in section 7-294a of the general statutes, and former police officers who died by suicide on or after the effective date of this section without identifying the names of such police officers or former police officers. The list shall indicate, to the extent known, whether such police officer or former police officers was actively employed, on administrative leave, separated, resigned, terminated or retired from the Division of State Police within the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection or a municipal police department at the time of the suicide.

(b) Each municipal police department shall notify the commissioner when the department knows that a police officer or former police officers who was employed by the department died by suicide on or after the effective date of this section without identifying the name of the police officer or former police officer and indicate, to the extent known, whether such police officer or former police officer was actively employed, on administrative leave, separated, resigned, terminated or retired from the department at the time of the suicide.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

from passage

New section

Sec. 2

from passage

New section

Sec. 3

from passage

New section

Sec. 4

October 1, 2018

New section

Sec. 5

from passage

New section

Statement of Legislative Commissioners:

In Section 1(b), "seek or receive" was changed to "has sought or received" for clarity, in Section 1(c), ", psychiatrist or psychologist" was inserted before "determines" for consistency and in Section 5, references to former police officers were inserted for accuracy.

PS

Joint Favorable Subst.

 

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.


OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact:

Agency Affected

Fund-Effect

FY 19 $

FY 20 $

Mental Health & Addiction Serv., Dept.

GF - Cost

Potential

Potential

Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection

GF - Cost

See Below

See Below

Note: GF=General Fund

Municipal Impact:

Municipalities

Effect

FY 19 $

FY 20 $

Various Municipalities

STATE MANDATE - Cost

Potential

Potential

Explanation

There is a cost to the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP), the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) and to municipalities associated with the bill. The bill requires DESPP to maintain new databases, provide new mental health trainings in consultation with DMHAS, and provides various protections to first responders who seek mental health support.

There is a cost to DESPP in creating two databases, one related to suicides by law enforcement officers, and a statewide inventory of mental health care professionals who can provide support to officers. DESPP may need to hire additional personnel or a consultant to create and maintain such databases.

There is a potential cost to DESPP and DMHAS to provide additional mental health care training to all newly-hired state and municipal police officers. This may require POST or DMHAS to hire additional training personnel who specialize in such issues, and could result in overtime costs to the agency.

Additionally, there is also a potential cost to DESPP and municipalities from requiring mental health professionals to determine if police officers are ready to report to duty. To the extent any state or municipal police officer spends more time on paid leave due to seeking mental health support, there is an associated cost in overtime spending to the department.

The Out Years

The annualized ongoing fiscal impact identified above would continue into the future subject to inflation.

OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 278

AN ACT CONCERNING MENTAL HEALTH CARE AND WELLNESS TRAINING AND SUICIDE PREVENTION FOR POLICE OFFICERS.

SUMMARY

This bill provides certain job protections and assistance for some public safety personnel, particularly police officers, who seek or receive mental health services.

The bill prohibits municipalities or state agencies from discharging, disciplining, discriminating against, or penalizing (1) certain public safety personnel because they seek or receive mental health services and (2) police officers who return their official firearm while receiving mental health treatment. It requires the municipality or agency to return the officer's official firearm when a licensed mental health provider, psychiatrist, or psychologist determines the officer is ready for duty.

The bill also:

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage, except the training provision is effective October 1, 2018.

JOB PROTECTIONS

The bill prohibits municipalities or state agencies from discharging, disciplining, discriminating against, or penalizing police officers, firefighters, or emergency medical services personnel because they seek or receive mental health services for any reason other than to avoid discipline. (The bill does not define discipline, discriminate against, or otherwise penalize for the bill's purposes.)

A police officer means any sworn member of an organized local police department; an appointed constable who performs criminal law enforcement duties; special police officers appointed under law; and members of a law enforcement unit who perform police duties, including the State Police and tribal police (CGS 7-294a).

A firefighter means any local fire marshal, deputy fire marshal, fire investigator, fire inspector, and uniformed municipal and state firefighters (CGS 7-313g).

Emergency medical services personnel means anyone certified to practice as an emergency medical responder, emergency medical technician, advanced emergency medical technician, emergency medical services instructor, or paramedic (CGS 20-206jj).

MENTAL HEALTH PROVIDER LIST

By July 1, 2018, the bill requires the DESPP commissioner, in consultation with the DMHAS commissioner and at least one advocacy organization concerned with police officer mental health care and wellness, to develop and maintain a list of at least 30 licensed Connecticut mental health care providers trained in treating police officers. These providers must have expertise in diagnosing and treating PTSD in accordance with the most recent edition of the American Psychiatric Association's “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.”

The list must include providers who are trained in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy or any other evidence-based treatment modality.

The bill requires DESPP to publish the list on its website.

POLICE WITH PTSD

The bill specifically allows police officers who are diagnosed with PTSD after being involved in a shooting or other critical incident to return to work within a year of the incident upon the mental health professional's determination that they are fit for duty in the same or another capacity. The mental health professional must be someone on DESPP's list or if the list is not published, a psychiatrist or psychologist. Presumably, this provision applies to voluntary or involuntary leave.

MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLNESS MODEL POLICY

By July 1, 2019, the bill requires POST to develop and promulgate a model critical incident and peer support policy that is consistent with the guidelines published by the International Association of Chiefs of Police to support the mental health care and wellness of police officers.

By August 1, 2019, the bill requires each municipal police department to (1) adopt and maintain a written policy that meets or exceeds the standards in the POST-developed model policy, (2) make peer support available to its police officers after a shooting or other critical incident, and (3) refer police officers seeking mental health care services to a licensed mental health care provider on the DESPP-list.

LIST OF OFFICERS WHO COMMITTED SUICIDE

The bill requires the DESPP commissioner to establish and maintain a list of police officers who died by suicide on and after the bill's passage without identifying the police officer by name. The list must indicate, to the extent known, whether the officer was actively employed, on administrative leave, separated, resigned, terminated, or retired from the State Police or a municipal police department at the time of the suicide.

Under the bill, each municipal police department must notify the commissioner when it knows that a police officer employed or formerly employed there died by suicide on or after the bill's passage. Each department must do so in the same manner as DESPP maintains its list.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Public Safety and Security Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

22

Nay

3

(03/16/2018)

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