The Texas Senate Monday approved SB 64, authored by Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, creating a peer-to-peer counseling network and increasing access to licensed mental health providers for Texas law enforcement officers.

"We are losing officers to suicide at devastating rates – nearly double the number killed in the line of duty," Nelson said. "This bill establishes a peer support program, understanding that officers are much more likely to open up and talk about issues with one of their colleagues. Police officers put their lives on the line to keep us safe. They need our support, and because of the sacrifices they make on our behalf they deserve it."

Specifically, this bill:

• Directs the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement to develop a peer support system;

• Allows the Commission to contract with an institution of higher education with expertise in mental health or law enforcement to carry out training hubs; and

• Specifies that the training cover suicide prevention and ensure law enforcement officers have support in both urban and rural jurisdictions.

Nelson represents District 12, including portions of Tarrant and Denton counties. She is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and the highest-ranking Republican in the Texas Senate.

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