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A05168 Summary:

Add §837-w, Exec L
Establishes the Officer Ron Griffith law enforcement personnel peer support program to provide grants, within appropriations therefor, to eligible entities for the purpose of establishing peer-to-peer mental health programs for law enforcement personnel; makes an appropriation therefor.
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A05168 Actions:

02/11/2021referred to codes
01/05/2022referred to codes
04/25/2022held for consideration in codes
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A05168 Memo:

submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
SPONSOR: Montesano
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the executive law, in relation to establishing the Offi- cer Ron Griffith law enforcement personnel peer support program; and making an appropriation therefor   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 establishes the name of this act as the "Officer Ron Griffith law enforcement personnel peer support program act". Section 2 amends the executive law by creating a new section 837-w, which creates the Officer Ron Griffith law enforcement personnel peer support program. Section 837-w establishes definitions for the program and directs the commissioner of the Division of Criminal Justice Services to establish standards for this program as well as create a grant program to support it. This section also provides that the Divi- sion of Criminal Justice Services shall not keep records on law enforce- ment personnel seeking the support of this program in order to maintain its confidentiality. Section 3 appropriates 510,000,000 to the Office of Mental Health to support the Officer Ron Griffith law enforcement personnel peer support program. Section 4 establishes the effective date.   JUSTIFICATION: Law enforcement officers are individuals who serve and protect the public. This profession can involve considerable danger and risk to those who serve in it. Prolonged exposure to the type of situations law enforcement officers face every day, which range from violent to trau- matic to shocking incidents, can lead to mental distress. In many cases, this can develop into post-traumatic stress disorder and other related problems. Between 7%. and 19% of police officers suffer from symptoms of PTSD, a similar rate to members of the military and far above the 3.515 rate of the general public. Due to PTSD and other issues, 1 in 4 police officers have had thoughts of suicide. Unfortunately, many of these officers are not connected with the necessary mental health assistance they need, and according to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, more police officers commit suicide than are killed in the line of duty. Also of concern, in some of the most extreme cases, PTSD and other related mental illnesses can affect the on-the-job effectiveness of a law enforcement officer. This bill aims to prevent and address these issues by using a well-established support methodology; establishing a peer-to-peer support program. This bill, and the program it creates, is named for Officer Ron Grif- fith, a retired NYPD Officer. During his more than two decades of service, he experienced a number of violent incidents including his time serving during the crime wave of the early 1980s. Officer Griffith was a.first responder on 9/11; his experiences on that day and during search-and-rescue duty in the subsequent weeks lead to the development of cumulative PTSD, which he only began to address following his retire- ment in 2004. Officer Griffith eventually took part in stress management classes, and he recalls that only once he had the ability to vent did he understand the scope of what he was going through. In 2018, Griffith took part in a video series entitled "Beneath the Vest", which helped show the public the often unseen costs of serving the public. This legislation aims to help those like Officer Griffith who felt unable to address the mental health issues they are confronted with in a confiden- tial, peer-based way. This legislation is modeled on the Joseph P. Dwyer peer-to-peer program, which provides mental health support to veterans by providing for confi- dential, peer-to-peer approach. This legislation additionally provides $10,000,000 in appropriations for support of the program, and going forward it will be subject to appropriations in the budget process. This bill, which uses tried-and-true solutions to mental-health problems, will provide peace of mind to law enforcement officers in the future and will also help New York State lead the way in doing all it can-for those who put their lives on the line on behalf of the public.   LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: A.10915 of 2019/20; referred to Codes.   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: $10,000,000 in FY 2021.   EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.
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A05168 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2021-2022 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                    February 11, 2021
        Introduced  by  M.  of  A.  MONTESANO  --  read once and referred to the
          Committee on Codes
        AN ACT to amend the executive law, in relation to establishing the Offi-
          cer Ron Griffith law enforcement personnel peer support  program;  and
          making an appropriation therefor

          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section 1. This act shall be known and may be cited  as  the  "Officer
     2  Ron Griffith law enforcement personnel peer support program act".
     3    §  2.  The  executive  law is amended by adding a new section 837-w to
     4  read as follows:
     5    § 837-w. Law enforcement personnel peer support program.  (a) For  the
     6  purposes  of  this section, the following terms shall have the following
     7  meanings:
     8    (1) "Program" shall mean the "Officer  Ron  Griffith  law  enforcement
     9  personnel peer support program" established by this section.
    10    (2)  "Eligible  entities"  shall  mean  an entity which submits to the
    11  commissioner an application, in a form prescribed by  the  commissioner,
    12  containing  such  information  and  assurances  as  the commissioner may
    13  require to provide initial and continued  training  in  mental  illness,
    14  including  but not limited to post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide
    15  prevention, for law enforcement personnel volunteers.
    16    (b) The commissioner shall establish a grant program to  be  known  as
    17  the  "Officer  Ron  Griffith  law  enforcement  personnel  peer  support
    18  program". Such  program  shall  provide  grants,  within  appropriations
    19  therefor,  to eligible entities for the purpose of establishing peer-to-
    20  peer mental health programs for law enforcement personnel.
    21    (c) The commissioner shall  establish  standards  applicable  to  such
    22  program. Such standards shall include initial and continued training for
    23  law  enforcement  personnel  peer  volunteers,  administrative  staffing
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        A. 5168                             2
     1  needs, and best practices for addressing the needs of each member of law
     2  enforcement personnel served.
     3    (d) Grants may be awarded by the commissioner to an eligible entity in
     4  an amount that does not exceed two hundred fifty thousand dollars.
     5    (e)  The  commissioner  shall  not  require the recipient of any grant
     6  under this section to maintain  records  on  law  enforcement  personnel
     7  seeking  support or report any personal identifying information directly
     8  or indirectly to the commissioner.
     9    § 3. The sum of ten million dollars ($10,000,000), or so much  thereof
    10  as  may  be  necessary,  is  hereby appropriated to the office of mental
    11  health out of any moneys in the state treasury in the  general  fund  to
    12  the  credit  of  the state purposes account, not otherwise appropriated,
    13  and made immediately available, for the  purpose  of  carrying  out  the
    14  provisions of this act.
    15    § 4. This act shall take effect immediately.
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