Finalist | Officer Wellness
Avon (CO) Police Department
In 2013, the Avon Police Department (APD), which has 22 sworn members, implemented one of its first wellness programs. There is a gym in the building that they share with the Avon Fire Department, and employees are allowed 3 hours of on-duty time a week to work out. Officers and their families are also given unlimited free passes to the Avon Recreation Center.
In 2014, APD implemented a program, which requires their officers to successfully complete a 12-task obstacle course twice each year. There is a department policy on this requirement and the options available to officers who don’t successfully complete the course. However, thus far, every officer has passed. All officers are provided an opportunity for a full annual physical and are encouraged to do so.
In 2018, APD implemented an annual Hero Challenge. This is a 12-week program which consists of a different workout theme each week. During this period, officers are provided additional information about stretching, nutrition, and to have fun with fitness. This program is in addition to any of the staff’s regular workouts and upon completion, participants are awarded a special Hero Challenge T-shirt and challenge coin.
Realizing that line of duty deaths due to health conditions are on the rise, APD officers also participated in the SIGMA Wellness Program which consists of cardiac screening, individual nutrition and exercise programs, cardiac stress testing and bloodwork. Since implementing this program in 2017, annual sick leave usage in the APD has gone from 844.75 hours in 2017 to 639.25 hours in 2019, demonstrating that healthier employees are less likely to become ill.
In November, 2018 APD hosted a peer support academy to train and establish a multi-agency peer support program to assist officers with crisis intervention, critical incidents and family support. In 2019, APD successfully obtained a grant to implement training entitled Warrior Survival at Home and on the Streets. At this training, officers and their spouses learned how to deal with the stresses that are unique to our profession.
APD, in cooperation with the Lincoln Financial Group, also offers employees a financial wellness program.
APD also, in addition to their peer support program, offers an employee assistance program which features several psychologists who are available to staff for one-on-one confidential counseling at no cost to the member.