With the State of Illinois making a renewed effort to address the emotional health needs of police, fire and all emergency response personnel, State Representative John M. Cabello, R-Machesney Park, announced today that he has been appointed to serve on the newly-created First Responders Suicide Task Force. The task force is required to issue a final report on or before December 31, 2020 with specific recommendations to help reduce the risk and rates of suicide among first responders in Illinois.
“We need to make sure that the well-being of our first responders is taken care of, both on and off duty,” Representative Cabello said. “First responders need more than just equipment and the technological resources to protect our community and stay safe on the job. They need to know that somebody has their back. That somebody should be their own colleagues, the leadership within each agency or department, public officials at the state and local level, and our community as a whole. Together we can make sure that every first responder knows they are supported and has access to the peer resources they need.”
Representative Cabello’s appointment to the task force is an opportunity to build upon the progress he has led statewide along with the Greg Lindmark Foundation to address the emotional health needs of police officers in particular. In 2017, the General Assembly enacted the Officer Greg Lindmark Memorial Law, sponsored by Representative Cabello, which requires that police officers receive training in effective recognition of and responses to stress, trauma, and post-traumatic stress experienced by police officers.
The creation of the First Responders Suicide Task Force this year was facilitated by the passage of House Bill 2766, which was signed into law by Governor Pritzker.
The First Responders Suicide Task Force is comprised of the following members: The Director of State Police or his designee; the Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health or her designee; two members of the House of Representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House; two members of the House of Representatives appointed by the Minority Leader; two members of the Senate appointed by the President of the Senate; two members of the Senate appointed by the Minority Leader; two members who represent 2 different mental health organizations; one member who represents an organization that advocates on behalf of police; one member who represents the Chicago Police Department; two members who represent organizations that advocate on behalf of firefighters; one member who represents the Chicago Fire Department; and one member who represents an organization that advocates on behalf of sheriffs in the State of Illinois.
Representative Cabello serves the 68th District, which includes portions of Rockford, Loves Park, Machesney Park and Cherry Valley.