Finalist | Comprehensive Wellness
Orange County (FL) Sheriff’s Office
2023 Comprehensive Wellness Finalist
2015 Comprehensive Safety Winner
Orange County is the fifth largest county in the State of Florida with a population of approximately 1.4 million citizens over 903 square miles. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office is a full-service law enforcement agency with 2,253 employees. 1,620 agency members are sworn officers.
The OCSO has allocated 90 minutes a week for employees to work out while on duty. The Sheriff’s Office has outfitted 15 locations with gym equipment. These facilities are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Central Operations location boasts a 4800 square foot which includes a cardio and weight floor, a functional fitness area, group fitness studio and a mat room. Other locations include the Communications Center, Range, Aviation Hangar, K-9 Office, Marine, SWAT, and Special Operations facility.
The agency offers free, weekly group fitness classes, led by certified trainers, which include CrossFit, Cycle, Zumba, Circuit Training, Core, and Yoga Nidra which involves deep slow stretching to increase flexibility. Last year the OCSO completed construction on an obstacle course designed to set a minimum fitness standard for sworn personnel.
Sheriff Mina kicked off a top led fitness program, “Bootcamp with the Boss.” He participated in the first group workout and since then, Lieutenants and above have assisted in leading workouts. The program’s goal is for staff and agency leaders to exercise alongside one another. The workouts highlight the interest of the subordinate who is participating. It is a great way to connect with others and have leadership demonstrate their commitment to Wellness! Small group classes are also available. Virtual workouts were implemented during the pandemic as a way for those who could not make it to the gym to still benefit from the wellness program.
Registered Dietitians at Advent Health are brought to the agency to provide one-on-one nutrition information to employees. Advent Health also puts on Healthy Cooking Demonstrations for OCSO employees. New employees members are provided with a Tactical Lunch Box which includes a cooler and informational tools for health eating.
The agency has partnered with the Orange County Government to provide free access for employees to the Orange County Recreation Centers. All employees, retirees, and spouses have access to eight additional recreation centers around the county. OCSO has also partnered with Cigna to offer employees and spouses credit towards their health insurance premiums by completing three annual wellness activities. This program encourages physical wellness by motivating employees to stay current with annual checkups to maintain their numbers for diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol.
The agency has established a Mental Health Committee which researches and promotes mental health support programs and initiatives. Annual training and written communications help bring awareness to certain behaviors that may indicate a deeper issue. Supervisors and managers received information on available resources to help those in crisis. The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers employees up to 6 free sessions per issue along with additional resources. This program is available for household members and retirees. They have additional support through Cigna, which provides up to 3 visits. Employees also have access to Happify and iPrevail apps along with Ginger, a virtual mental healthcare platform.
New hires receive a copy of Kevin Gilmartin’s, “Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement, A Guide for Officers and their Families”. During family orientation for new officers, spouses and loved ones are introduced to Gilmartin’s book and his concepts are reinforced during annual block training.
Employees have access to UCF (University of Central Florida) RESTORES, which includes the National Center of Excellence for First Responder Behavioral Health. UCF Restores is a nonprofit clinical research center and treatment clinic established to change the way posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other trauma-related concerns are understood, diagnosed, and treated.
OCSO supports a Critical Incident Stress Management Team (CISM). The CISM team is responsible for providing post incident care in the form of debriefings and defusing following critical incidents. OCSO has partnered with outside mental health professionals who are experienced with law enforcement culture. A mental health provider serves as an active member of the CISM team.
OCSO has a chaplain program, consisting of 14 chaplains who offer counseling and spiritual wellness to employees and their families. Chaplains are an active part of victim assistance and hostage negotiations.
Financial Wellness is also an important pillar of the agency’s wellness program. Employees are offered training through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace course. New employees receive the Dave Ramsey Complete Guide to Money book.
The Sheriff’s Employee Assistance Trust, Inc. (SEAT) was founded in 1999 to aid law enforcement personnel in time of critical need. The program provides financial assistance to employees during a personal crisis; gives support to the families of slain officers; and recognizes officers killed in the line of duty. All Orange County Sheriff’s Office employees, sworn and civilian, are covered under the SEAT program.
The Women of OCSO Mentoring & Enrichment Network (WOMEN) meets once a month to discuss topics that will support the growth and development female OCSO employees. The mission of WOMEN is to bring together a diverse group of both Certified and Civilian Orange County Sheriff’s Office women and provide them opportunities for personal and professional growth.
The agency has an onsite Wellness Center, staffed by a full time Cigna Nurse who has virtual access to Advent Health doctors using a health cart. The Wellness Center can assist employees with a variety of items including infections, bloodwork, minor wounds, muscle pains, and more. The center utilizes the Cigna Telehealth Connection and access is available to full-time employees and their families.
OCSO has two comfort dogs, Daisy and Saffron, within the Victim Advocates Unit. In addition to serving the community, these comfort dogs are used in the field, providing officers with a healthy outlet to relieve stress.
The Orange County (FL) Sheriff’s Office developed and implemented a comprehensive officer safety and wellness program composed of 5 core components: physical activity, nutritional support, emotional support, financial fitness, and health relationships (family and community).
Under the leadership of Sheriff Jerry L. Demings, the agency has taken a comprehensive, top-down approach to officer safety and wellness. Sheriff Demings takes the lead by regularly exercising with his deputies and teaching a four-hour block of annual instruction on safety, wellness and use of force. The safety and wellness instruction not only covers physical fitness but family life, financial health, stress reduction, and mental wellbeing.
The program, entitled “Fit Deputy,” is a voluntary program providing incentives for deputies to exercise. The program integrates the local business community by allowing deputies to use specific hotel gyms at no cost to ensure that all deputies have access to a workout facility. This multifaceted program also provides free classes in yoga, High-intensity Interval Training (HIIT), Aikido, Zumba and more.
The agency adopted the Below 100 philosophy of officer safety to reduce crashes, injuries and improve the culture of safety among deputies. The Sheriff is a proponent of realistic and repetitive training, including the use of simulation technology. He also invites members of the media to participate to ensure transparency. He encourages high-liability training several times each year and has invested in new vehicle collision avoidance technology.
The Sheriff’s Office has a permanent Wellness Coordinator and is adding a Wellness Analyst to help gauge the wellbeing of its officers and address negative trends in an expeditious manner. The Wellness Coordinator not only arranges health fairs and screenings, but provides employees access to counseling and family support. The agency recently held a “Family Orientation” for new employees to discuss how a law enforcement career may impact their family and personal relationships.
Employees at all fitness levels participate in a variety of classes, community events, and fund-raisers to improve individual fitness and strengthen community relations. Some of these events include Kickball for United Way, Dodgeball Challenge to benefit Crime Line, Step Challenge, and Healthy Eating Challenge. The agency also provides employees’ lunch boxes/coolers with the agency logo, and promotes the “Tactical Lunch Bag,” a guide to healthy eating and on-duty nutrition.
This summary is only a brief overview of many of the agency’s programs. In the actual submission you will see that the agency has other programs and incentives to benefit its members. Please review their entire submission and its associated documents to gain a complete understanding of their program
ResourcesOrange County (FL) Sheriff’s Office | 2015 Comprehensive Safety Winner Video
Orange County (FL) Sheriff’s Office | OCSO Wellness Focused on YOU
Orange County (FL) Sheriff’s Office | The Tactical Lunch Bag: Healthy Eating
Orange County (FL) Sheriff’s Office | Sheriff Jerry L. Demings Presentation
Orange County (FL) Sheriff’s Office | Healthy Watch Starts Here
Orange County (FL) Sheriff's Office | 2023 Comprehensive Wellness Nomination
Orange County (FL) Sheriff's Office | 2023 Comprehensive Wellness Executive Summary