Over the course of the last few months, I have spent a lot of time and effort trying to remind and/or inform police chiefs about the importance of “officer wellness.” The majority of police chiefs don’t hesitate to put an “expert panel” together to figure out how to improve community relations and/or reduce the crime rate, but how many have put together an “expert panel” together to figure out how to best serve their own officers? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that “well officers” make better community representatives, i.e. improving community relations. If WE as a profession ever hope to improve the relationship between the community and the police, WE need to put forth the time and effort it takes to make our officers “more well!”
Based upon my recent experience with the majority of police chiefs choosing to stay indifferent to the needs of their officers, I have chosen to take another approach. As an officer, if you continue to wait on your agency to implement some type of officer wellness program, you will most likely be waiting for a long time for a program that was probably implemented to “check the box.”
Ultimately, YOU are responsible for your own wellness. Each day YOU have the choice to be “more well” or “less well.” The choice is yours. As I mentioned earlier, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how to take care of yourself. Eat reasonably well, try and sleep 7-8 hours a day, engage in some type of physical and/or mindfulness activity and don’t forget to take care of those closest to you.
I will close with this thought: If YOU don’t take care of YOU, why should you expect your agency to implement a program that you would probably ignore? Ultimately, YOU owe it to yourself, your family / friends and your community to take care of YOU!