The New Jersey attorney general announced a plan to curb the rising tide of police suicides by building a statewide program that teaches officers ways to better handle the stress of their jobs.
In a press release, the AG said:
“The men and women of law enforcement put their lives on the line every day to protect the citizens of New Jersey. Often the first to respond to a scene, these officers regularly encounter some of the most traumatic events affecting their community. They also typically operate in a state of hypervigilance while on duty. The emotional and mental toll of this work can build over time and contribute to a range of health issues, including increased blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, substance misuse, family and relationship stress, self-harm, and risk of suicide.
We have a special responsibility to ensure that New Jersey’s law enforcement officers are equipped with the tools they need to cope with the unique stressors of their work.
“Resiliency” is defined as the ability to overcome adversity, and the New Jersey Resiliency Program for Law Enforcement (NJRP-LE) is designed to do just that. This Directive recognizes that protecting an officer’s mental health is just as important as guarding their physical safety, and strives to create a supportive culture for law enforcement officers, their families and friends, as well as the broader New Jersey community.
As a result, this Directive requires all law enforcement agencies to appoint at least one Resiliency Program Officer (RPO), who will be responsible for implementing the NJRP-LE in their agency pursuant to the structure and parameters outlined below. The RPO will not only
train the officers in their agency on the NJRP-LE, but also will be available to all law enforcement officers to answer questions directly related to the training and provide contact information for any other support services and programs. The RPO is not meant to replace existing support programs and law enforcement officers are encouraged to continue to use these and other programs whenever needed”
The Ocean County prosecutor, today, endorsed this plan saying:
Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office fully support the New Jersey Attorney General’s “Officer Resiliency Directive.” This Directive is part of an initiative spearheaded by Burlington County Prosecutor Scott A. Coffina.
New Jersey is the first state to establish training and procedures to help our men and women in law enforcement recognize and cope with the stress of the job they do so well. By the end of 2022, every one of the State’s 36,000 police officers will be trained in resiliency!