Oklahoma City (OK) Police Department | Comprehensive Wellness Program Overview
Oklahoma City (OK) Police Department
2022 Finalist Comprehensive Wellness
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma is the 25th largest city in the United States covering an area of 607 square miles with a population of approximately 620,000 citizens. The Oklahoma City Police Department (OCPD)is the largest police force in the state of Oklahoma. The Chief of Police, Wade Gourley, oversees 1,230 sworn and 300 non-sworn employees.
In the early 1990s, the department started its first peer support program called “Cops Helping Alleviate Police Problems” (CHAPPS). It was comprised of a combination of chaplains (some of them sworn), and officers acting in a Peer Support capacity. Over the years, CHAPPS evolved into a full-time staffed position, and a full-time Peer Support Coordinator. The team’s mission was to provide support to employees who were going through significant stressors in their life, critical incidents, personal crisis, and other issues requiring their attention.
After the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, four line of duty deaths and hundreds of critical incidents, the chaplains and peer support unit combined to form the department’s wellness unit. The unit currently has one lieutenant, three sergeants, one full time licensed counselor, one full time chaplain, 50 peer and family support team members and “Will” the Wellness Dog. The Unit also assists with providing its members with medical doctors, licensed mental health professionals, researchers, financial planning experts, retirement experts and fitness instructors.
The OCPD wellness unit responds to the scene of critical incidents while the officers are still trying to process what they have just seen to begin to help them cope. The department also offers paid wellness leave so officers can time off to heal without having to use their optional leave balances. The unit also sets up a critical incident de-briefing for officers and another one for spouses and family members.
The OCPD stresses fitness and maintains seven different gyms located throughout its divisions, headquarters, and the training center. Officers and staff are allowed to work out while on duty.
Understanding the importance of a happy, healthy home life the department created a program called What About Me, (W.A.M.), specifically designed for the spouses of officers. This program is directed by a Gottman level II certified Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). The goal of the program is to provide healing, understanding, and healthy communication before irreparable damage is done to an officer’s relationship.
The Wellness Unit recognized the need for officers to get assistance with resources for wills and trusts and now provides training and resources to assist officers and their families. Beginning in the academy, recruits are provided financial planning information, and serving officers can prepare for their lives after the department.
The department hired Apex Mobil to create their very own wellness app on the Lighthouse platform. This app contains customized information specifically for the Oklahoma City Police Department and offers complete confidentiality, while encompassing several resources for the officers. The app is free and available to employees as well as family members, retired officers, and civilian employees.