Crime and confidence
Police officers and firefighters would be able to talk to peer counselors without fear of retribution under a bill being considered today in the House.
The legislation would give police and fire counselors the right to keep conversations secret, allowing law enforcement and emergency workers to be honest about traumatic situations they experience on the job.
Rep. Paul Roan and Rep. Glen Bud Smithson, both Democrats and former state troopers, debated in favor of House Bill 1460, saying many police officers are leery of speaking with ministers and psychiatrists about work-related incidents. Instead, they feel more comfortable speaking with a peer, but want some assurance that what they reveal will be kept private.
Opponents of the bill worry about expanding confidential communication beyond that with lawyers, ministers and in some cases doctors.
“It’s a slippery slope,” said Rep. Richard Morrissette, D-Oklahoma City.
The bill passed the House with a vote of 94-5 and will now go to the Senate for consideration.
Do you think police officers and firefighters should be able to talk with their peers in confidence, including details about crimes and accidents? Or should those discussions be left to professionals, like ministers and psychiatrists?
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