In the past two weeks, local law enforcement have been through their fair share of intense calls.
But after they are done responding, those incidents usually stay with them.
“Ultimately we are seeing things at their worst, you know, we are those first responders. Our officers are the first responders going to these highly stressful critical incidents. Whether it be a homicide type thing, really bad car crashes, so any type of that trauma can really have an impact on our officers,” said Sgt. Tom Walsh with the La Crosse Police Department.
To help officers with what they see in the field, recently the La Crosse police department has made a point to give support however needed.
“Focusing on the mental health and the mental well-being of all our officers. We’re taking time at our in-service training to really start communicating and talking about things that may affect us and the different types of calls that our officers are responding to,” said Walsh.
For the 99 sworn officers at the department, there are many services available.
There is an Employee Assistance Program, various support teams throughout the department, and a Chaplain’s program.
At the department the emphasis is not just on mental wellness, but also physical and emotional so officers can succeed at a sometimes traumatizing job.
“We’re talking about career survival here. We’re talking about making it through the 25 to 30 years that a lot of our officers are going to be on. So ultimately we’re looking to create a family-type atmosphere where our officers are able to make it through these careers and get to the end of them and be able to look back,” said Walsh.
As part of protocol in the department, every officer goes through Mental Health First Aid training to better serve the community and their fellow officers.