Olathe Police Department

Olathe Police Department

Finalist

Award Year: 2019

Safety Category: Officer Wellness

State: Kansas

Policing With Purpose: Our journey to officer wellness and safety

In 2006, the Olathe Police Department authorized a Critical Incident Stress Management Policy recognizing the harmful effects of stress caused by critical incidents. This policy and program utilized a multi-dimensional approach via a proactive and reactive format. This program was proactive by educating members of the department about critical incident stress and stress management techniques and was reactive by activating Critical Incident Stress Team members during a critical incident to provide emotional support and professional referrals for those impacted by the magnitude of events.

In 2007, additional research was conducted on Peer Support Programs and a survey, which had been completed in late 2006, was reviewed and analyzed. The survey revealed that while some officers who had been exposed to traumatic events were healing normally, others were using maladaptive behaviors to cope and compensate for the trauma they had experienced. Many stated that if there was a person to talk to or program to take advantage of they would. The information was compiled, and a recommendation was made to launch a Peer Support Team within the Olathe Police Department. Also, at this time, the Olathe Police Department began working with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation on this important effort and would eventually partner with them for the initial Peer Support training.