PARMA, Ohio — Police officers are called in times of crisis, but there is a growing crisis facing some police officers across the country — the increasing stress of the job is taking a toll on some first responders.
“What a police officer sees in a day or could possibly see in a day most people never see in a lifetime,” said Jamie Tavano, Director of the Law Enforcement Training Division at Cuyahoga Community College.
Two weeks ago, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced funding for officer wellness.
“This proposal would also direct a total of $75 million for supporting the resilience, recovery and recruitment of Ohio's first responders," said DeWine. "We ask our police officers day in, day out to do so very much. We ask them to deal with, frankly, the worst that society has to offer — the murderers, child abusers, the rapists."
But well before that announcement, plans were in the works at the Tri-C Public Safety Training Center in Parma to implement an officer wellness course aimed at helping those in the business of helping others.
“Starting in 2016 up until 2019, we had more officers committing suicide every year than die in the line of duty, and that obviously is a huge concern,” said Greg Truhan, an instructor at Tri-C Public Safety Training Center.
“Everybody thinks we’re supposed to be real tough. Cops are supposed to be tough and we can handle everything. We can handle a lot, but how do you let some of that go without affecting yourself?” said Tavano.
The current class of cadets will be the first to take the officer wellness training course. The class will focus on officer stress, trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide recognition and prevention, as well as resources to find help, according to college officials. They hope this will further reduce the stigma that sometimes goes along with police officers asking for help.
“It’s okay not to be okay. It’s not a sign of weakness to have someone help you out,“ said Truhan.
The class will also be offered to the 57 departments the college works with, allowing the message of officer wellness to reach the people protecting and serving currently in those communities.
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