APD Creates Program for Employee Wellness
By Christopher Cook
Posted on January 27, 2020, January 27, 2020

The Arlington Police Department continues to bolster and strengthen the department’s officer and employee wellness program. The department has created a “Blue Chip” program to generate awareness and serve as a symbol for employees to take care of themselves. This initiative complements the department’s internal peer support program. The chip represents access to fully anonymous mental health services at no cost to employees. Essentially, an employee can obtain confidential counseling and mental health services for free. Service providers are selected based on their understanding of the unique challenges police officers face serving the community. The department participates in anonymous billing with each provider, so employee records are never shared with the department. On each chip, there is a resource website that can be utilized by employees.  This program expands services beyond the supportive services the city of Arlington provides to all employees to promote overall wellness.

The unit, previously known as CISM or Critical Incident Stress Management, is now rebranded under the Peer Support Team. Team members on Peer Support focus on responding to critical incidents and providing overall wellness initiatives to the department as a whole. The unit is made up of 35 team members, four of which are mental health professionals. Each team member serves in an ancillary role and has other primary duties within the department. The idea of creating “blue chips” came from employees who wanted a symbolic token to serve as a reminder on how employees can access help when they need it most. 

“The profession has suffered great losses with officer suicides. I am proud of the ongoing efforts to elevate our position and the importance of this topic with all of our employees,” said Police Chief Will Johnson. “My goal is to be intentional about conversations surrounding wellness and mental health and ensure that all employees have confidential and free access to support systems in times of need.”

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