Biden signs 3 bipartisan bills supporting police, federal LEOs

The laws expand peer counseling programs, benefits for disabled responders and penalties for offenders who harm federal LEOs

By Suzie Ziegler 

WASHINGTON — On Thursday, President Joe Biden signed three bills into law to expand support for police officers and U.S. federal officers, according to FOX 7. All three bills had bipartisan support. 

At the signing ceremony, Biden said each piece of legislation aims to “help law enforcement officers and first responders be the protectors and the partners our communities need." 

The laws are as follows:  

  • The “Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila Federal Officers and Employees Act” allows suspects who harm or attempt to harm a federal officer to be prosecuted in the United States by granting extraterritorial jurisdiction over this criminal conduct. The legislation is named after two customs agents who were attacked by drug cartels in Mexico in 2011. Zapata died of his injuries.  

  • The “Confidentiality Opportunities for Peer Support (COPS) Counseling Act” creates new requirements for peer counseling programs for law enforcement officers. The bill requires any information shared by officers to remain confidential and calls on the Justice Department to provide training resources for officers who want to become peer mentors.  

  • The “Protecting America’s First Responders Act of 2021” aims to ensure first responders who are responders disabled in the line of duty have prompt access to benefits, according to FOX7. Currently, the benefits are provided in one-time lump-sum. The new law requires that the benefit amount is based on the date of filing, rather than the date of injury, to account for cost-of-living increases during lengthy processing periods.

NEXT: How does a first responder select the right counselor?

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