SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Sheriff Rosie Rivera with the Unified Police Department says a federal grant helped UPD implement newer wellness procedures to keep officers on the streets longer.
The grant is worth $100,000 from the Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services or COPS Office for short, is proving to have big dividends.
“We are tracking complaints, you know, now the officers are getting more kudos than we are complaints,” says Sheriff Rivera.
The federal money helped the department focus on four primary goals.
- Improve mental health wellness
- Introduce new physical health options like meditation and yoga
- Implement Restorative Rest on-duty
- Strengthen its Peer Support Education
“We’ve been able to see where other officers are stepping up and wanting to be apart of the peer support,” says the Sheriff.
“Supporting the health and well-being of the nation’s front-line law enforcement as they ensure public safety is paramount to the Department of Justice,” said COPS Office Director Phil Keith. “The Department has dedicated resources to critical areas of concerns for officers including resilience; officer suicides; felonious and other assaults on officers; and mental health peer support networks. Establishing this new Community of Practice will provide the guidance, assistance, resources and support needed to further develop solutions to keep law enforcement safe and well, as they keep our communities safe and well.”
Overall, it is providing better morale in dealing with the weight of the calls within the department.
“And really what it all comes down to is when you have officers who are happier and know there is help out there, it really benefits the community that they are serving, because you don’t want someone out there who is struggling serving our community,” she adds. “There has been a stigma for years law enforcement that if you show any signs of mental health issues that is a weakness and you may lose your job over it. What we want the officers to know is we understand they respond to many critical incidents, very tough heartbreaking incidents, and there is help for them. And we are showing them we are here for them as well.”