Police mental health support bill moving through state legislature

Mar 23, 2017

A measure that would provide additional mental health training and support for police officers is moving through the state legislature.

House bill 1215 would encourage police and sherriff’s offices to send mental health professionals on calls to assist officers and to provide officers with more counseling and support after experiencing a trauma. Democratic Rep. James Colton of Denver is the measure’s main sponsor. He hopes it will improve the relationship between law enforcement and the public.

“I think what happens a lot of times is those folks get demonized when they make mistakes on the job,” Colton said. “What’s critical about this bill is not that we demonize those folks for doing their job, we say listen, you made a mistake, you’ve got to own that, but you’re dealing with some severe circumstances that most of us never have a chance to go into because we’re not in your position.”

Colton said the idea is to help de-escalate situations. His bill would also set up a grant program to fund counseling on PTSD, depression, insomnia and other issues officers face. Right now the bill has no state funding attached to it. It would be funded through gifts grants and donations.