(Mar. 28) — A bipartisan bill sponsored by Rep. James Coleman, D-Denver, and Rep. Terri Carver, R-Colorado Springs, extending the Peace Officer Mental Health Grant Program unanimously passed out of the House Judiciary committee.
“What this bill does is it cleans up the grant program to allow greater access to the available funds for peace officers and their mental wellness,” said Rep. Coleman. “It will also extend that assistance to their community by offering training and prevention programs, peer support groups, and reimbursement for counseling services.”
The original legislation, HB17-1215, passed in 2017 and only allowed sheriffs’ offices and municipal police departments to apply for the mental health support funds. They could also only be used for on-scene response services. HB19-1244 expands the allowances of this money to be used for training, education, and prevention programs related to mental trauma; peer support programs; assistance to agencies to develop and implement policies to support peace officers; and a reimbursement program for counseling services.
It also expands the peace officers who are eligible for this program. It now includes Colorado State Patrol, Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Department of Corrections, campus police, town marshal’s office, divisions of parks and wildlife, and more.
The bipartisan bill unanimously passed and now heads to the House floor.