'Need to be more proactive': Kentucky first responder says new law is step in right direction

  • Source: WHAS-TV ABC 11 Louisville
  • Published: 06/23/2022 12:00 AM

Wednesday, Gov. Andy Beshear ceremonially signed House Bill 562, relating to mental health for first responders. The bill establishes 48 hours of time off for police officers and firefighters following critical incidents. The bill also redefines a critical incident. It includes officer-involved shootings, serious vehicle crashes, the death of a colleague or partner and other circumstances. Brian O'Neil, president of the Louisville Professional Firefighters, said bills like HB562 are working to address a longstanding stigma among first responders. “You’re supposed to just suck it up and be tough and deal with everything. And certainly, we do," he said. “We’ve done a lot better over the last several years with trying to do away with the stigma.” Not addressing the root traumas of the job though, can lead to dire consequences.


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