GREEN RIVER — The Green River City Council approved a request from the Green River Police Department (GRPD) to apply for a mental health and wellness grant during its meeting last week.
The grant is a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office), Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act (LEMHWA) grant for up to $125,000.
According to GRPD Chief Tom Jarvie, the COPS Office has issued a grant solicitation targeted to improve the delivery of and access to mental health and wellness services for law enforcement officers through the implementation of peer support, training, family resources, suicide prevention and other promising practices for wellness programs.
“We’ve been doing a lot of work towards officer wellness in general mostly focusing on mental health the past few years,” Chief Jarvie said.
He added that the GRPD has developed a peer support group where officers can go to their peers for support. Trainings involved in this group have costed up to $10,000, he said. However, the department needs to develop other aspects of mental health and wellness, Jarvie said.
Chief Jarvie said that GRPD does extensive screening of all officers before hiring them to ensure they are hiring only the best. Once they are hired, however, they get put into really tough situations.
“And then we turn around and put them in some of the worst situations that most people never see in their life, let alone see them on as frequent basis as we do,” he said.
Jarvie added that with national discourse revolving around law enforcement, it all wears on officers’ mental health.
“That all takes its toll,” Jarvie said.
National White Collar Crime Center (NWC3) has offered to help the GRPD in submitting the grant application, as well as with finding local resources to create mental health and wellness programs. NWC3 is a law enforcement training and technical assistance provider which develops training to the state and local law enforcement agencies on a variety of law enforcement topics. Chief Jarvie is a director on the board of NW3C.
NWC3 has offered to help GRPD apply for the COPS Office grant, to not only help GRPD set up programs for mental health and wellness, but to also then take what they create at GRPD and export it to other agencies of similar size.
NW3C is looking to partner in this manner with six departments across the United States of varying size and region to ensure a program is developed that is scalable. GRPD has been selected due to its size and rural nature.
According to Council agenda documents, approximately 40 percent of the grant award would be sub-granted to NW3C towards the development of a Strategic Training for Organizational Resilience and Mindset (STORM) program. Development of the program would include providing training GRPD Officers as part of the program pilot. The funds not sub-granted would be used to implement and sustain wellness initiatives identified through the training.
“It’s all going to be focused toward helping men and women in law enforcement, particularly with our agency, and then vicariously by inviting to training and everything else the Sheriff’s Office, Rock Springs PD, and everyone else in the southwest Wyoming area,” Jarvie said.
The award is expected to be announced in October 2021.