CLARKSVILLE, TENN. – The Clarksville Police Department was awarded a $175,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services (COPS) on October 13, 2022. The grant was awarded under the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act (LEMHWA) Program and the funds will be used to hire a full-time wellness counselor.
The Clarksville Police Department recognizes that physical and emotional well-being are cornerstones of an employee’s overall health. Access to mental health resources is vital to CPD’s mission of maintaining a professional and efficient workforce, dedicated to providing a safe environment for the people of Clarksville.
In January 2022, the Clarksville Police Department created a Wellness Program designed to assist employees and their families who may be experiencing professional or personal distress. This program is a peer-to-peer program with a coordinator to oversee the wellness program and act as a liaison with outside agencies and various groups with whom the employee may have received assistance.
“In December of 2021, the Clarksville Police Department established a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT). The CIT received specialized training that assists officers to deal with citizens they come into contact with, who are experiencing emotional issues or suffering from a mental crisis. They use this training to help these individuals get the support they need. In January of 2022, we placed emphasis on a Wellness Program to help CPD employees obtain assistance when they experience emotional reactions that have the potential to interfere with the employee’s ability to function optimally in their personal or professional life, but it required us to rely on outside agencies,” said Chief of Police David Crockarell. “With the addition of a wellness counselor on staff, this will allow us to have in-person counseling sessions with all CPD employees and/or family members seeking self-improvement in the areas of physical and emotional well-being. Additionally, the counselor will be able to train employees in identifying and recognizing indicators of distress or trauma in their peers and other employees who may be in need of mental health services. They will be a tremendous asset to the city and the Clarksville Police Department.”
“The City of Clarksville prides itself on being a premier community for families of all ages to live and work. Part of what makes our community one of the best in the country is our community-focused policing programs. With a staff of over 400 personnel, our police department leads the way in community-minded efforts to promote safety and security for all," said Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts. “When our officers arrive on the scene they often go from being first responders to crisis counselors in an instant, I believe a Wellness Counselor will be beneficial to our officers, especially when it comes to decompression after traumatizing scenes."
The Clarksville Police Department is working with the city's Human Resources Department to determine when the job will be posted and the requirements for the hiring process. The plan is to have a wellness counselor on staff in January of 2023.