President Trump speaks during an event on police reform in the Rose Garden of the White House on Tuesday.

President Trump speaks during an event on police reform in the Rose Garden of the White House on Tuesday. Evan Vucci / AP

New Law Directs FBI to Create National Law Enforcement Suicide Database 

President Trump enacted the measure amid efforts to curb law enforcement brutality. 

On Tuesday, President Trump enacted a measure to create a national system to track law enforcement suicides. 

The “Law Enforcement Suicide Data Collection Act” directs the FBI to establish a new data collection program to better understand and prevent suicides among current and former law enforcement officers at the federal, state, tribal and local levels. The bill was introduced in the House last July and in the Senate last October, and both chambers approved it in May. Trump’s signing of the legislation coincides with efforts from both political parties to reform law enforcement following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man in police custody in Minneapolis last month.

“It is a sad fact that we lose more officers to suicide than we lose in the line of duty,” said National President of the Fraternal Order of Police Chuck Canterbury, when the bill was first introduced. “Currently, information related to law enforcement suicides and suicide attempts is not collected or analyzed in a systematic way, so this fact does nothing to help us help these at-risk officers.”

Under the new law, the attorney general, acting through the FBI, must within the next year establish a data collection program for suicides and attempted suicides. The information law enforcement agencies can submit to the FBI should include: surrounding circumstances, general location, demographics, individuals’ job category, and method of suicide or attempted suicide. 

The FBI will work with the Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology “to develop publication policies to manage the risk of identity disclosure based upon the best practices identified by other federal statistical programs,” according to the measure’s text. No more than two years after enactment and annually thereafter, the attorney general must submit a report to Congress detailing the findings and post it online. 

“I’m pleased to see this bipartisan bill signed into law,” said Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., who introduced the bill in the Senate. “Law enforcement officers are at a high risk for mental health challenges and death by suicide, and improving mental health for law enforcement officers is a necessary part of improving policing outcomes. Through this legislation, Congress can better understand the resources needed to support police officers and ensure that those policing our communities are mentally and physically equipped to best serve the public.” 

According to the Justice Department's most recent statistics, in 2016 there were about 132,000 federal law enforcement officers employed by 83 federal agencies. Two-thirds of them worked for Customs and Border Protection, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, FBI or Immigration and Customs Enforcement. There were 701,000 officers in state and local law-enforcement agencies. 

Last year, Shane Fausey, national president of the Council of Prison Locals C-33, a division of the American Federation of Government Employees, told Government Executive  that the record for federal correctional officer suicides in a single year—14—was set in late November 2019. BOP, however, said there were nine in fiscal 2019 and the beginning of fiscal 2020.  

In recent years “suicide has become the number one cause of death for federal, state and local law enforcement officers around the country,” said President Ed Mullins of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, a union that represents sergeants in the New York Police Department. Supporters of the data collection act say the goal is to better understand the scope of the issue and figure out prevention strategies. 

The bill was enacted during a watershed moment for law enforcement as both parties are working to increase officers’ transparency and accountability after Floyd’s death and protests nationwide that had a heavy federal law enforcement presence. On Tuesday, President Trump also signed an executive order aimed at reducing police brutality. Senate Republicans introduced their police reform bill on Wednesday, after House Democrats released theirs last week, setting the stage for a potential showdown.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.