Miami-Dade (FL) Police Department | 2023 Comprehensive Wellness Nomination

Miami-Dade (FL) Police Department

State: FL

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Miami-Dade (FL) Police Department | 2023 Comprehensive Wellness Nomination

2023 Comprehensive Wellness Finalist

The Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) is a police department serving Miami-Dade County. The MDPD has approximately 4,700 employees (3,147 are sworn officers), making it the largest police department in the southeastern United States and the eighth largest in the country. As an accredited police department, the MDPD oversees police operations at the Port of Miami and Miami International Airport.

The MDPD has made it a priority to focus on officer wellness, and for over 40 years has offered a wide range of holistic services that include a physical fitness program, psychological counseling, financial guidance, and other self-improvement programs.

The department’s Mental Health & Wellness Services Bureau (MHWSB) offers a robust mental wellness program, which includes a full spectrum of clinical, educational, and consultation services for all departmental employees. This includes short-term and long-term individual and couples counseling, as well as group counseling in the areas of substance abuse, bereavement, and veterans. The MHWSB also provides 24/7 on-call response to all critical incidents, including officer-involved shootings, child deaths, or any crisis involving an employee. Each year, the MHWSB staff responds to and provides psychoeducational debriefings to approximately 150 employees involved in such incidents. The MHWSB often creates and provides innovative training designed to improve officer wellness, including, but not limited to, the topics of longevity, women’s issues, law enforcement self-care, stress management, mindfulness, substance abuse prevention, posttraumatic stress disorder awareness, suicide prevention, and retirement preparation.

The MHWSB is in a private facility and consists of 7 sworn and civilian mental health employees licensed in the state of Florida and trained in police psychology. Plans for 2023 include an additional two psychologists and clinician. The clinical staff is available 24/7 and has implemented call-out criteria to be utilized by supervisors. The psychological staff teaches psychoeducational courses to recruits in the academy as well as in-service training. In addition, to build trust and rapport, the clinical staff regularly visits district stations to attend rollcalls and ride alongs.

In 2020, under the purview of the MHWSB, the Backing Our Brothers & Sisters in Blue (BOBS) Peer Advocate Team was established and has been instrumental in providing an additional layer of support to officers and professional staff. Trained peers are taught how to spot warning signs linked to psychological distress.

Thursday, June 24, 2021, the Champlain Towers South condominium building in the Town of Surfside collapsed, killing 98 residents. The magnitude of this catastrophe required a multiagency response, and first responders were directly impacted by the mass casualties. The unique nature and magnitude of this tragedy necessitated a large-scale response of mental health services. The MHWSB brought in all staff clinicians, BOBS, Chaplains, and trained Community Oriented Support Dogs. Personnel were deployed on-site, for 6 weeks providing critical support and counseling to first responders from around the world.

The MHWSB manages the Department’s Cordico wellness application, which provides officers with confidential support 24/7/365. The app includes a variety of self-scoring assessment tools, allowing officers to quickly obtain feedback about their wellness. Additionally, with one click, officers can immediately reach a staff clinician or a BOBS Team member.

MDPD has a robust chaplain program consisting of 12 volunteers from diverse faith backgrounds. Their primary task is to counsel and support officers and their families. The chaplains also support the Department’s Communications Bureau, which receives more than 2.4 million calls annually through the 911 Center.

The Wellness Unit consists of an exercise physiologist and a recreational therapist. The department has a gym facility that is open to all employees and retirees, and has a full set of free weights, a variety of exercise machines, cardiovascular equipment, an Olympic-size swimming pool and a basketball court. In addition, AvMed, the insurance provider, offers additional services to employees in nutrition counseling and health coaching. the County’s Mayor’s Wellness Work Initiative aims to engage County employees on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle through the educational, wellness, and recreational programs. This initiative allows our employees to register and earn points by participating in health screenings, on-line trainings, in person lectures, and logging healthy habits. Several of our employees have won monetary incentives of $250 and $500 for their participation.

The Wellness Unit offers courses on longevity, Nutrition 101, and being “mindfully healthy.” Additional classes on stress management, swimming, and yoga, have proven useful to officers. The department recognized the need to provide officers with the necessary resources and instruction on ways to reduce injuries and increase performance.

The department purchased an lnBody Body Composition Analyzer. The InBody Test is a non-invasive, quick, and accurate body composition analysis that provides a detailed breakdown of your weight in terms of muscle, fat, and water. Your comprehensive yet easy-to-understand measurements will display on an InBody Result Sheet in 15-120 seconds. Results aid in the development of best practices to improve the quality of fitness training instruction.

The department recognized the impact that financial stress can have on their employees and loved ones. A financial wellness program was created, offering personnel information about budgeting for fixed household expenditures and retirement.

The “Longevity Project” explores ways that personnel can create healthy strategies in their lives that mirror some of the longest living populations in the world. The program delves into keys elements for healthy living, through classroom sessions hosted by Kelly J. Kennedy, PhD, the Department’s Exercise Physiologist and Wellness Program Facility Manager. A review of those communities revealed several commonalities, such as dietary considerations, regular exercise, and strong ties to family and friends.

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.