2021

Finalist | Officer Wellness

Miami Beach Police Department

State: FL

The Miami Beach Police Department recognized the toll the job was taking on its officers and saw nationally how heart disease and suicide were impacting members of the profession. This hit home when one of their members died of a heart attack while exercising in their gym.

In 2019, the MBPD, began to address all the issues associated with officer health and well-being. It took on a holistic approach and drawing on its existing wellness programs and training regimen, it created the S.T.E.P.P. program. This program encompasses the MBPD’s identified areas of Wellness, that include tactics and sound defensive training. S.T.E.P.P. stands for: Support, Tactical Knowledge, Emotional Wellbeing, Physical Health, and Personal stability.

The walls of their training facility are painted with the STEPP program logo and demonstrate how overall wellness and preparedness is a goal to be attained. Through the STEPP program officers are provided resources to support their family, friends, and for stress reduction. It emphasizes and incorporates the importance of tactical training, firearms, and de-escalation.

The program has an online resource called “Target Solutions” for managing officer’s wellness and provide them with training and resources. The agency emphasizes emotional well-being and support through its peer support team, and trains officers to be positive and to build resiliency to cope with emotional stress.

The agency has a mandatory annual fitness test, and the Physical component provides a gym, fitness trainers, and time to work out on duty. It also has a robust medical testing and review program created in conjunction with the Mt. Sinai Medical Center. In the last pillar, personal stability, the MBPD provides counseling, support, and resources for their officers to address their most pressing needs that effect their personal lives and relationships.

Through the reporting from the Peer Support Team, the MBPD has identified those issues that most concern their officers and have provided data on the number of contacts and referrals made by the Peer Support Team. The MBPD created a “Wellness Room” for officers to relax, get some sleep, and decompress.

One of the most impressive elements to the program is the medical screenings that they offer the officers and their family members. This intensive and up to date series of specific tests have identified potential health problems within their members and helped officers proactively manage their personal physical health issues.

The agency was recently awarded a grant to further study the health and wellness of its members. To reduce stress and be ready to comfort members in distress, the MBPD has a new therapy dog that can be used to help officers and crime victims alike.

The MBPD also has a “Wellness Board” in its facilities, on which health and safety information is regularly posted to inform members of events, trends and educate them on health issues. The emergence of COVID has halted some of the medical screenings they were conducting, so only 50% of the MBPD has completed the intensive medical screenings, but they will resume soon.

Resources

Miami Beach (FL) Police Department | 2021 Program Summary