PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey today was joined by the family of Phoenix Police Officer Craig Tiger for a ceremonial bill signing of H.B. 2502, also known as the “Officer Craig Tiger Act.” This bill increases the number of counseling sessions that must be covered if a licensed mental health professional determines that further counseling will help a first responder after experiencing a traumatic event on the job.
In 2016, Governor Ducey signed legislation creating the Traumatic Event Counseling Program which provided up to 12 counseling visits. With the Officer Craig Tiger Act, up to 36 counseling sessions may now be covered.
In addition, employers will be prohibited from requiring a first responder to use PTO or other leave to attend counseling visits and if someone is unable to return to duty during treatment, they will not lose their pay or benefits.
“Arizona is grateful to the first responders who put their lives on the line every single day to protect our communities,” said Governor Ducey. “With these commitments and sacrifices, we want to ensure that those who experience trauma on the job have access to the support they need.”
Phoenix Mayor Thelda Williams, Phoenix Police Chief Jerri Williams, Phoenix Fire Chief Kara Kalkbrenner, Representative Paul Boyer, Senator Rick Gray and Representative Mark Finchem also joined Governor Ducey and the family of Officer Tiger at the ceremonial bill signing.
BACKGROUND: This bill was drafted in response to the loss of Officer Tiger, who used deadly force on a subject in 2012 who was assaulting him and his partner. After this event, Officer Tiger attempted suicide one year after the shooting and in 2014 he committed suicide. Officer Tiger’s death was believed to be a result of undiagnosed and untreated PTSD.
Following passage in the legislature, Governor Ducey signed the Officer Craig Tiger Act into law on April 23, 2018.