Chicago’s Top Cop Says Gun Laws Prevent Officers From Seeking Help For Mental Illness
August 25, 2017
In Chicago, police officers are required to purchase their service guns. That means they also must have an Illinois Firearm Owner’s Identification card, known as a FOID card.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said on Friday that one of the requirements for a FOID card could also be preventing some officers from getting mental health treatment.
According to state law, residents who have received inpatient treatment for mental illness in the past five years are barred from getting a FOID card. And those cards can be revoked: medical professionals must report anyone who voluntarily checked into a psychiatric unit.
Johnson said those laws discourage police officers from seeking mental illness treatment.
“If we punish officers for seeking treatment ... what message are we sending?” Johnson asked during an unrelated press conference Friday. “We are telling them then that, if you ask for help, we are going to punish you by taking your job away.”
State Police Director Leo Schmitz and Johnson “have discussed that any changes to the FOID act would require legislative changes,” said Master Sgt. Jason Bradley, a state police spokesman.
Insert "Illinois gun owner" for "officer" and you'd have a bill we could support.