MAY IS MENTAL HEALTH MONTH, AND THERE’S NO BETTER TIME TO TALK ABOUT THE HIGH PRIORITY CMPD PLACES ON EMPLOYEE WELLNESS, PARTICULARLY WHEN IT COMES TO HELPING OFFICERS MANAGE THE EMOTIONAL STRESS OF THE JOB.
True Courage: Sergeant Penix’s Story
CMPD Sgt. Donnie Penix started in 1997 as a patrol officer and has since served on the SWAT team, ALERT Team, VCAT, in Aviation and Canine Units, and as a detective. He has been in many harrowing situations, but none scarier than when he suffered a mental health crisis.
“We have that armor up where we’re supposed to be the ones that help people, but we rarely ask for help for ourselves,” he said. “Once I made the decision to do that, it was hands down the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. And that’s why I’m able to still function today and have a successful career.”
Sgt. Penix was able to get the counseling he needed. Today he is emotionally stronger and a better police officer for it. This is why Employee Wellness is one of Chief Johnny Jennings’ Core Four strategic priorities, to ensure CMPD’s finest are at their best and ready to care for our community.
AS PUBLIC SAFETY EMPLOYEES, CMPD OFFICERS HAVE ACCESS TO ENHANCED OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH SERVICES, INCLUDING MEDICAL EXAMS, OSHA SCREENINGS, PHYSICAL THERAPY, PHYSICAL CONDITIONING, HEALTH COACHING AND BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SERVICES. COUNSELING IS OFFERED FOR DEPRESSION, PTSD, END OF CAREER PREPARATION AND MORE, IN ADDITION TO MEDICATION MANAGEMENT AND (SOON TO COME) VIDEO COUNSELING. THESE SERVICES ARE OFFERED AT NO COST.
Nationally Recognized Support For Officer Wellness
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund highlights agency-level achievements in officer safety and wellness as part of its Destination Zero Program. The objective is to recognize innovative programs and share best practices with the entire law enforcement community.
In May 2021, CMPD was one of four agencies in the country to be recognized for its Officer Wellness program, which encompasses physical fitness, mental health, stress-induced trauma, suicide prevention programs, nutrition and stress reduction. According to Destination Zero, “the agency has institutionalized wellness practices that support physical and mental health amongst their employees.”