PSD News Release: ATTORNEY GENERAL SHIKADA SUPPORTS BENEFITS FOR PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICERS, FAMILIES AFFECTED BY WORK-RELATED PTSD

Posted on Apr 26, 2022 in Latest Department News, Newsroom

HONOLULU – Hawai‘i Attorney General Holly T. Shikada, along with a bipartisan nationwide coalition of 53 attorneys general, is urging Congress to pass The Public Safety Officer Support Act of 2022. The legislation addresses gaps in support for public safety officers who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) associated with the high-risk nature of their jobs.

In the letter, the attorneys general praise the work of public safety officers including police, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians who respond to stressful and potentially traumatic situations. Compared to the general public, these public safety officers are 25.6 times more likely to develop PTSD and research shows those suffering from PTSD are at increased risk of suicide.

“We need to acknowledge that our public safety officers regularly see tragic circumstances that most of us might only rarely experience in a lifetime, and it has a significant impact on their emotional and physical well-being,” Attorney General Shikada said. “We must do what we can to support them with the resources they and their families need to not just survive, but to thrive.”

The letter details the need for the legislation and states: “As attorneys general, ensuring that public safety officials have the support they need is a top priority of ours. We write today to request that Congress work expeditiously to pass S.3635, the Public Safety Officer Support Act of 2022, as a significant step toward ensuring public safety officers and their families are supported in the event of a death or disability resulting from the trauma inherent in their profession.”

The legislation supports public safety officers suffering from PTSD by:

  • Designating work-related PTSD as a “line-of duty” injury for eligible officers and those disabled from attempted suicide.
  • Allowing families of officers who die by trauma-linked suicide to apply for death benefits.

This legislation is also endorsed by the American Psychological Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, National Association of Police Organizations, Sergeants Benevolent Association, National Sheriffs Association, Blue H.E.L.P, the National Border Patrol Council, and the United States Capitol Police Labor Committee.

Joining Attorney General Shikada in sending the letter are the attorneys general of Alaska, American Samoa, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

A copy of the letter is available here.

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For more information, contact:

Gary H. Yamashiroya

Special Assistant to the Attorney General

Email:  [email protected]

Web: http://ag.hawaii.gov

Twitter: @ATGHIgov