AG Schimel: Suicide prevention month to focus on officer wellnes - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

AG Schimel: Suicide prevention month to focus on officer wellness

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Wisconsin (WQOW) - In recognition of National Suicide Prevention Month, Attorney General Brad Schimel is shifting his focus on law enforcement officer wellness.

“The deadly truth is: a police officer is far more likely to die of suicide, than homicide,” Schimel said. “At DOJ, we realize this troubling reality, which is why we are supporting Wisconsin’s law enforcement through a strong commitment to officer wellness – both in body and mind.”

Schimel said the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) plans to continue to improve law enforcement officer physical and mental wellness through training. The following are efforts in the making:

Suicide Prevention:

  • DOJ personnel trained as Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR) Suicide Prevention Program instructors;
  • Added 4 hours of suicide prevention to the recruit academy.
  • Trained 270 incumbent officers and 600 recruits in suicide prevention.
  • 1,400 officers trained in compassion fatigue during sexual assault and domestic violence investigation training.

Law Enforcement Executives Training:

  • Suicide prevention materials developed for executives and leaders, in order to help them assist their officers in a time of need.
  • Wellness training incorporated into all new chiefs, sheriffs, and jail administrator training programs.

Physical Wellness:

  • Added 34 hours of physical fitness to the recruit academy.
  • Added requirement of both an entrance and exit Physical Readiness Test to the recruit academy.
  • $150,000 provided in grant funding to train instructors in safe and effective physical fitness training.
  • Videos made available online for officers to enhance their physical readiness.

Stress Management:

  • Added 8 hours to the recruit academy on:
    • Living a healthy lifestyle;
    • Stress management;
    • Maintaining healthy relationships, and;
    • Maintaining financial stability.
  • Officer wellness instructor training under development for the recruit academy.
  • Training modules under development for law enforcement agencies to cover these topics with existing officers.

Schimel said the DOJ will continue to focus on suicide prevention and general officer wellness, as well as expand the chaplains program. 

Schimel encourages any law enforcement officer, dispatcher, or Wisconsin citizen who finds themselves struggling with suicidal thoughts to seek help from support systems around them, or receive free, confidential support at any time by calling 1-800-273-8255.

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