Bend Police Department | Yoga Article
Bend (OR) Police Department
The City of Bend (OR) Police Department is made up of 90 sworn officers, serving a population of over 90,000.
The agency contracted with a local yoga instructor to conduct on-duty yoga classes for their officers, allowing them to use one hour of on-duty time to attend one of the four yoga classes or to exercise. The night shift meets twice a week for one hour of duty time, to train together as a team to improve duty readiness. The department also hosts three-day mindfulness retreats on a biannual basis with certified instructors from the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center. The department’s officers have the opportunity to participate in a ten-minute guided mindfulness session at the end of their patrol shifts using the www.headspace.com website.
The Police and Fire Departments have contracted with a psychologist for 20 hours per week to provide service to their officers. The department also provides Spouse and Family Support Group programs and Peer Support Teams. The Spouse and Family Support Group has provided several social events mixed with education on public safety exercises. They provide classes on firearm safety, emotional survival, and mental health training. Through their Peer Support Team, employees have the opportunity to reduce stress by speaking to trained sworn and civilian staff to help augment established programs such as the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), chaplaincy, and professional mental health services. All members of the Peer Support Team are selected by their fellow officers and they receive a three-day training to help better serve their fellow officers in their time of need.
The Bend Police Department decided to address the impact of shift work and sleep deprivation impact on officers’ health by creating a new shift focused on minimizing how many shifts an officer will work after midnight. In order to minimize the number of night shifts and make sleep more consistent, everyone rotates shifts every two months. This creates a situation where an officer should not have more than four months a year with a night shift. The Bend Police Department has one year of data indicating over a 40% drop in workplace injury claims, which resulted in a 68% reduction in costs due to officer injuries.