The Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) has established the first-ever Community of Practice for state, local and tribal grantees to connect, learn, share experiences, and network in an effort to continue the growth of law enforcement mental health and wellness work. Good mental and psychological health is just as essential as good physical health for law enforcement to be effective in keeping our country and our communities safe from crime and violence. The Community of Practice recently launched its work with a virtual meeting establishing short and medium term goals.
“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.”
Working with the National Police Foundation, the COPS Office will convene the law enforcement grantees and others to host a series of ongoing webinars each quarter that will provide insight on a number of topics including:
- How to start a wellness program for small, medium and large agencies;
- Understanding the critical considerations and benefits;
- Identifying needed resources, including staffing, and scoping a program consistent with the available resources;
- Gaining support and resources from local, state, federal, tribal, and elected officials, as well as private and public business and community sources;
- Building trust and confidence between governmental leadership and law enforcement members;
- Identifying promising practices related to implementing and maintaining confidentiality and compliance with confidentiality requirements;
- Identifying and exploring multi-jurisdictional approaches;
- Extending mental health and wellness to family members;
- Developing program administration promising practices; and
- Identifying the training and technical assistance needed to develop and implement programs.
The COPS Office is the federal component of the Department of Justice responsible for advancing community policing nationwide. The only Department of Justice agency with policing in its name, the COPS Office was established in 1994 and has been the cornerstone of the nation’s crime fighting strategy with grants, a variety of knowledge resource products, and training and technical assistance. Through the years, the COPS Office has become the go-to agency for law enforcement agencies across the country and continues to listen to the field and provide the resources that are needed to reduce crime and build trust between law enforcement and the communities served. The COPS Office has invested more than $14 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of more than 134,000 officers.