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November 21, 2021

Biden signs Trone bill on counseling for officers

Credit: Frederick News-Post, Ryan Marshall

First responders will have access to improved mental health care and more peer counseling, under a bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. David Trone and signed into law last week by President Joe Biden.

Biden signed the Confidentiality Opportunities for Peer Support Counseling Act Thursday.

The law creates more peer counseling programs and clear standards of confidentiality for first responders.

Research shows that most public safety officers see peer support as the most helpful resource for mental health, according to a release from Trone’s office.

The law was written after the death of Montgomery County police officer Thomas Bomba, who died by suicide in 2019.

In the release, Frederick Police Department Chief Jason Lando said law enforcement officers deal with repeated exposure to domestic violence, child abuse, drug addiction, suicide, and other tragedies.

Society has an obligation to make sure officers are both physically and mentally healthy when they go to work each day, he said.

Part of that includes removing barriers and stigmas to seeking help, which Trone’s bill helps accomplish, he said.