Officer Safety and Wellness
Policing takes a toll on the mental and physical well-being of a police officer. We understand the necessity to care for our own wellness to make space and fully show up for our community members who are experiencing a crisis.
The San Mateo Police Department ensures that all incidents having potential for heavy emotional impact on our officers are addressed, either through peer counseling, trained Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) members, or incident stress debriefs with certified police psychologists. Stress debriefings include everyone involved, including call-takers, dispatchers, and leadership – no-one is immune to the potentially debilitating stress of an emotionally tough situation.
Police officers are physically tested and tried every day on patrol. We have several police officers certified as physical fitness instructors who take a leadership role in our wellness team, pushing for overall good health of our staff. Officers stay in shape and push each other to maintain the physical conditioning needed to keep them ready to respond and more able to prevent injuries. We maintain a fitness center within the police facility, and officers are encouraged to use it. Entire teams can often be seen working out together in the facility or running together on the streets of San Mateo.
The San Mateo Police Department’s wellness team is exploring cutting edge mindfulness training to promote meditation, breathing exercise, and yoga. We are working with industry professionals to ensure our officers have access to the best tools to keep our officers’ mental wellness at its peak performance.
In addition to an employee assistance program, our Peer Support Unit is available 24/7 to department staff and has become increasingly integral in managing the mental health of officers and their families, as well as connecting them to services and counseling. As policing evolves, it becomes increasingly challenging to the morale of the department. We must show up for each other, to show up for our community.