Rep. Greg Stanton joined President Joe Biden and a handful of Congressional colleagues at the White House today as the bipartisan Confidentiality Opportunities for Peer Support (COPS) Counseling Act was signed into law.

“Our first responders are often called to respond to challenging and traumatic situations. My hope with this bill is to remove the stigma around seeking mental health support, and ensure our first responders have access to quality, confidential counseling services—leading to better policing,” said Stanton.

The bill, which Stanton cosponsored and worked to pass through the House, encourages the adoption of law enforcement peer counseling programs across the country and protects the privacy of federal officers as they seek mental health support. Critically, this bill would ensure that the information disclosed during peer support counseling sessions by federal law enforcement officers is kept confidential, while excepting admissions of criminal conduct or threats of serious physical harm or death, including suicide.

A recent survey of law enforcement officers by the Fraternal Order of Police and NBC New York revealed that 73 percent of respondents found peer support programs to be the most helpful mental health resource. Unfortunately, the survey also found that confidentiality concerns prevented many officers from accessing peer support teams, and 90 percent of respondents perceive stigma attached to seeking help for behavioral or emotional health issues.

According to Angela Harolle, CEO of the 100 Club of Arizona, the state lost four first responders to suicide in 2021 alone. Nationally, 141 law enforcement officers have died by suicide, according to Blue H.E.L.P—including four Capitol Police Officers in the aftermath of the January 6 insurrection.

President Biden was joined at the bill signing by Angela Bomba, the widow of Officer Thomas Bomba, a Montgomery County, Maryland officer who tragically took his own life in 2019; Andrea Edmiston, Director of Government Affairs at the National Association of Police Organizations; and Patrick Yoes, President of the Fraternal Order of Police.

Photos from the bill signing are available HERE.