It is a tough time to be in law enforcement. The negative climate of change surrounding the field of law enforcement today can cause a tremendous amount of work-related and family stress, which can be a serious threat to the well-being of our law enforcement personnel.
Having a Peer Support program in place not only helps decrease day-to-day stress, but it can also countercheck the emotional strain of critical incidents and prevent the accumulation of emotions that can lead to alcohol abuse, depression, domestic violence, and suicide.
Benefits of a developing a Peer Support program include the ability to provide peers with immediate assistance, provide additional support, allow for ventilation and sharing to take place, and works in tandem with the services provided by chaplains and mental health professionals. A successful Peer Support program reduces long-term critical incident stress, turn-over and health insurance costs, worker’s compensation claims, fitness-for-duty evaluations and supports supervisor referrals.
During this presentation, trainees will understand the purpose and importance of developing a Peer Support program. They will learn about creating selection criteria to nominate individuals as potential Peer Supporters, and will be able to identify the personal characteristics of effective Peer Supporters to aid in their selection process. They will also learn about the proper training each newly-elected Peer Supporter needs and the importance updated training will provide in order to promote a strong and resilient Peer Support team.
The goal of a peer support program is to provide all law enforcement personnel with the opportunity to receive emotional and tangible support through times of personal or professional crisis, to assist them with resolving their problems on their own, and to be provided with the resources necessary to get them the help they need.
The National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) is one of the largest associations of law enforcement professionals in the United States, representing more than 3,000 elected sheriffs across the nation, and a total membership of more than 20,000. NSA is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising the level of professionalism among sheriffs, their deputies, and others in the field of criminal justice and public safety. Throughout its seventy-seven year history, NSA has served as an information clearinghouse for sheriffs, deputies, chiefs of police, other law enforcement professionals, state governments and the federal government.