In 2017 Texas created “Public Safety Employees Treatment Courts”, now Tennessee considering similar “First Responder Treatment Courts”

In the 2017 Texas enacted HB 3391 which created “Public Safety Employees Treatment Courts.” Based on the existing 2009 law that created veteran’s treatment courts, the new Public Safety Employees Treatment Courts were designed “for public safety employees such as peace officers, firefighters, detention officers, county jailers or EMS service employees who have been charged with a criminal offense due to job-related PTSD or other work-related mental issues.”

Now Tennessee is considering a similar move.

HB 2417 / SB 2414 takes the existing language from the state’s veterans treatment court statute (T.C.A. § 16-6-101 – § 16-6-106) and replicates it, replacing the word “veteran” with “first responder”, defined as “paid, full-time law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency medical services personnel who are employed by the state or a local government in this state.”

HB 2630 / SB 2325 appear to be almost identical; the only difference appears to be minor (placing three first responder treatment court advisory committee member positions on the drug court advisory committee).

Funding would come from a $50 fee for drug-related criminal convictions in counties establishing or operating a first responder treatment court program.

The House bills are pending in the Civil Justice Committee; the Senate bills are pending in Government Operations.