APPLETON, Wis. ( WFRV ) – A few years ago, the Appleton Police Department set aside a designated space for their officers to be able to work through the physical, personal and emotional stresses of their job.
The department also contracted a local mental health professional who holds regular office hours at the station to meet with employees.
Employees are able to meet one on one or spend time alone in the peer support room that contains a variety of reading materials, support materials and several peaceful images on the walls.
Officers know their conversations will be confidential and a sound machine outside the door helps ensure privacy.
Veteran officers like Captain Polly Olson know how crucial timing can be to, not only responding to critical situations, but dealing with your own personal responses after the situation.
“Alot depends on how they respond initially when they have these critical situations happen,” says Olson, “and making sure they’re wrapped around with the support that is required to be able to see them through to the next one.”
Olson also notes that as the number of violent incidents increases the average age of officers in many departments is decreasing and that makes a need for a peer support room that much more critical.