Senator Jon Ossoff announces bill to fund law enforcement and mental health

Senator Jon Ossoff visited Macon Tuesday to make an announcement about a bill he introduced that will fund law enforcement and mental health services.
law enforcement and mental health

UPDATE (8/17) : Senator Ossoff’s bipartisan bill to fund law enforcement and mental health services has been signed into law by President Biden.

“I am pleased the president has signed into law my legislation funding local law enforcement and mental health care,” Sen. Ossoff shared. “Georgia communities deserve and demand safety, and my bill—now law— will make Georgia a safer place to live.”

The TBI and PTSD Law Enforcement Training Act, will help fund trainings for first responders; crisis intervention teams; mental health courts; and other programs that help law enforcement assist individuals experiencing mental illness.

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — Senator Jon Ossoff visited Macon Tuesday to make an announcement about a bill he introduced that will fund law enforcement and mental health services.

It’s on its way to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

When a person is in crisis, one of the calls they often make is to 911. Many times, first responders and law enforcement respond to those calls, but they’re often not equipped to do it. That’s why Senator Ossoff introduced the bill.

“The mental health crisis in our country is something that impacts everybody,” Senator Ossoff said.

Senator Ossoff’s bill passed the House and the Senate with bipartisan support.

Colonel Henderson Carswell with the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office says funding from the bill will help them in two ways.

“It’s going to be able to help us contact services in the field,” Carswell said. “It’s something we haven’t been able to do in the past, and I think it’s going to be very effective in helping us deal with these matters. The second is the training aspect of it.”

Kathryn Dennis, President of the Community Foundation of Central Georgia, is thrilled the legislation passed through Congress. She says mental health is the number one concern of the non-profits she works with.

“To have this support for the programs that are here, plus to train our law enforcement, because they really are the people that are there on the front lines,” she said. “A lot of people don’t need to be going to jail. They need help, mental help, and most of our homeless population is the same way.”

Colonel Carswell says training is essential to having favorable outcomes in mental health situations.

“This is just another step forward in bringing people together,” he said. “That’s what I love about this particular bill: it’s bipartisan. It’s bringing people together, because this is a serious issue we all have to deal with. I think we have to know how to deal with it properly so that we’ll not only save lives but make our community safer.”

According to Senator Ossoff’s press secretary, the bill reauthorizes the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration from 2023 to 2027. $54 million a year in grant money is available for local governments and agencies to apply for.

Macon-Bibb County received a $750,000 grant through the program in 2021. The money helped implement a project supporting law enforcement and prosecutors in responding to threats of targeted violence.

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