ST. PAUL, Minn. — On Wednesday, Senator Steve Cwodzinski (DFL-Eden Prairie) presented a bill that would help provide comprehensive mental health support to law enforcement officers. SF 1087 would fund a grant to develop a training program for licensed counselors to help them understand the culture and nuances of law enforcement work and provide treatment for officers in distress. Senator Cwodzinski testified in support of the bill alongside current and former law enforcement.
“I’m here before you with… (an idea) to help law enforcement, because they’re hurting, along with nurses and teachers and everyone else who just went through the last couple years of hellacious experiences,” said Senator Cwodzinski. “They’re going through trauma and post-traumatic stress, and they’re asking for our help.”
“Police officers see the worst of people and good people at their worst,” said LeAnne Renteria, a therapist and former police officer. “No one walks away from police work unscathed. Growing up, I watched my father (a police officer) struggle with migraines, his heart would pound, he often thought he was having a heart attack, he worried a lot, and he isolated on his days off. He sought out several medical professionals, but he was continually told his symptoms were in his head… It’s a challenge to find people who really understand what it’s like on the job… From my personal experience and from the work I do, I can tell you that we need more therapists trained to give professionals the support they need so in turn they can do their best work possible.”
The committee laid SF 1087 over for inclusion in an omnibus bill.