Public Safety Health & Wellness News

Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Launches ‘Health Of The Force’ Wellness Program

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday a “Health of the Force” initiative to assist in both the physical and mental well-being of its deputies.

In 2019, 228 law enforcement officers in the United States took their own lives.  The profession of law enforcement is, per the metrics, one of the most potentially dangerous and traumatizing careers in the country. 

“The law enforcement profession is stressful on our deputy sheriffs, and their families. I work with great teammates. We want to do all we can to improve and take care of them and their families in order to ensure successful careers in providing excellent public safety and customer service.  This enhanced Health of the Force program will provide additional tools and resources for deputies to care for their physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.” Sheriff L. Shane Nelson 

Read more here: www.ktvz.com

How St. Louis Police Officers Are Managing Their Mental Health Amid Current Climate

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – It’s been just over a month since St. Louis police officer Tamarris Bohannon was killed in the line of duty.

From that pain, to protests, to the COVID-19 pandemic, and one of the most violent years in decades, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD) has dealt with a lot.

With all that, some people are focusing on one critical part of police reform: officers’ mental health.

“They are still grieving,” said Lt. Sally Panzer, of the death of Officer Bohannon, who left behind a wife and three kids.

Lt. Panzer says, whether you are rookie or veteran, losing a colleague comes packed with emotion.

“From grief to anger, to lots of sadness to lots of frustration, lots of questioning like, why? Or even what if? What could I have done better?” she said.

But she says there is risk always inherent in the job.

Read more here: www.kmov.com

New Chicago PD Program To Use Data To Flag Officers Who Need Intervention. But Information Gathered Won’t Lead To Punitive Actions Against Cops.

The Chicago Police Department has unveiled a pilot program that will analyze records of personnel complaints, excessive force and other data to identify officers who may need intervention in the hopes of preventing events that shake the community’s trust in officers.

But experts who reviewed the department’s plan say it includes no accountability for officers who may show a pattern of problematic behavior, leaving the department without recourse to pull officers from the street or take disciplinary measures based on the information turned up by the program.

Read more here: www.chicagotribune.com

Old Fire Station In Arleta Converted Into Mental Health Facility To Prevent Suicide Among Firefighters

ARLETA, LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Modern day firefighters benefit from high tech equipment and regular training but those measures do little to shield them from their number one killer: suicide.

“Our firefighters experience terrible things. Terrible things that they can’t share with their families because it is just going to depress their families, quite honestly,” said Los Angeles City Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas.

The department’s labor union, the United Firefighters of Los Angeles City, on Monday took a major step towards suicide prevention for 3,500 members and their families.

They converted an old fire station in Arleta to become the United Firefighters of Los Angeles Center for Health and Wellness, which will provide space for counseling and classroom training.

Its staff will include mental health specialists who will be available around the clock, plus an additional 100 peer counselors in the field.

Read more here: www.abc7.com

First Responders Urgently Push For PTSD Coverage At Ohio State Capitol

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) – First responders are sounding the alarm at the state capitol, pushing for post-traumatic stress disorder coverage with just a few months left in the year.

That urgency is increasing after some recent police officer suicides and as mental health is in the spotlight during the pandemic.

19 Investigates continues our in-depth coverage on PTSD and its effects on first responders.

First responders may sign up for the job, but that doesn’t mean they’re immune to what they see.

“We see the depravity of mankind. We see the worst things that man does to man,” said Gary Wolske, president of the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police.

“I was with Garfield Heights for about 33 years. I retired 8 years ago,” he said.

19 Investigates found police and firefighters are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty, according to a recent study by the Ruderman Family Foundation.

Read more here: www.cleveland19.com