Addressing the needs of Officers during COVID-19
As we prepare our agencies to meet the COVID-19 period, our leadership teams must plan and prepare now to meet the challenges in the months and year to come. The leading concern is the mental health of the 800,000 plus officers.
Areas that we must focus on within the mental health issues will be as follows: Addressing stress of officers that face elevated physical danger of the job post, not only for themselves, but for their families as well. Officers that contract COVID19 and are unable to work. What role will the agency play in the quarantine of their officers? This is a major stress for the officer and their family. Another major stress will be to reassure the Public Safety Officers that if they contract COVID 19 and die from it, that their families will be financially taken care of through the PSOB (Public Safety Officers Bureau). Police leadership is facing the issues of officers who have recovered from COVID 19, but are experiencing major stress issues. How will leadership address the emotional needs of those officers? Training programs to address COVID19 mental health issues will be paramount. The primary focus should be on "Mental Health & Suicide Prevention." In conclusion, in all my years, I have never experienced such challenges as we are seeing today. We will need to make some difficult decisions and it will demand great leadership and follow through to address these issues. Doctor Robert E. Douglas, Jr. Founder and Executive Director National Police Suicide Foundation