Pillar 6: Officer Wellness & Safety

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21st Century Policing in PlymouthMost law enforcement officers walk into risky situations and encounter tragedy on a regular basis. Some witness events that stay with them for the rest of their lives. Others are physically injured in carrying out their duties, sometimes needlessly, through mistakes made in high stress situations. As a result, physical, mental and emotional injuries plague many law enforcement agencies.

However, a large proportion of officer injuries and deaths are not the result of interaction with criminal offenders, but the outcome of reduced physical health due to poor nutrition, lack of exercise, sleep deprivation and substance abuse. Many other injuries and fatalities are the result of vehicular accidents. The wellness and safety of law enforcement officers is critical not only to themselves, their colleagues and their agencies, but also to public safety. Officers who are mentally or physically incapacitated cannot serve their communities adequately and can be a danger to the people they serve, their fellow officers and to themselves. It's of utmost importance that officers receive adequate safety and wellness support. 

Recommendation   Description  Completed
6.1

The U.S. Department of Justice should enhance and further promote its multi-faceted officer safety and wellness initiative.

Not applicable
6.2 Law enforcement agencies should promote safety and wellness at every level of the organization. Completed
6.3

The U.S. Department of Justice should encourage and assist departments in the implementation of scientifically supported shift lengths by law enforcement.

N-A
6.4 Every law enforcement officer should be provided with individual tactical first aid kits and training as well as anti-ballistic vests. Completed
6.5 The U.S. Department of Justice should expand efforts to collect and analyze data not only on officer deaths but also on injuries and near misses. Not applicable
6.6 Law enforcement agencies should adopt policies that require officers to wear seat belts and bullet-proof vests and provide training to raise awareness of the consequences of failure to do so. Completed
6.7 Congress should develop and enact peer review error management legislation. N-A
6.8 The U.S. Department of Transportation should provide technical assistance opportunities for departments to explore the use of vehicles equipped with vehicle collision prevention “smart car” technology that will reduce the number of accidents. Not applicable

Examples of ways Plymouth demonstrates Officer Wellness and Safety

  • The PPD has created a Wellness Program for officers and other members of the department that includes an on-site gym at the Police Department.

  • The Wellness Program also offers an opportunity for staff to meet with a mental health professional at no charge for a private assessment/checkup.

  • Nutrition advice and training is provided to officers through the Wellness Program.

  • The PPD currently has three officers who are trained as Wellness Officers and provide fitness instruction and education, as well as nutritional education to employees of the department.

  • The PPD is working to provide healthier food and beverage options around the department for employees.

  • The PPD has hired a part-time tactical physician who is primarily employed at Hennepin County Medical Center as an emergency room doctor. The part-time tactical physician works with department staff to provide fitness and nutrition advice, trains with the SWAT team and participates in annual officer trainings.

  • Officers are trained multiple times each year on current defensive tactics standards and procedures, as well as officer safety.

  • The PPD makes the city chaplain program available to officers as needed.

  • Officers are required to wear body armor and wear seat belts. 

  • Each squad car is equipped with a “go bag” that has extra medical supplies in case of a critical incident.

  • Each officer is required to carry QuikClot and a tourniquet on their person. Officers are trained annually on the use of tourniquets.

  • The PPD has developed a Wellness Program Policy that outlines the opportunities and resources made available to participating employees, including a training document on wellness.

  • All new officers receive training on wellness/fitness and suicide prevention and all officers receive various forms of training for wellness/fitness and suicide prevention on an annual basis per the Wellness Program Policy.

  • The PPD received the Innovation in Technology Award from the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association in 2017 for its Wellness Program.