San Francisco (CA) Sheriff's Department | Officer Wellness Program Overview

San Francisco (CA) Sheriff's Department

State: CA

2022, Finalist Officer Wellness

The San Francisco Sheriff’s Department (SFSD) is comprised 790 sworn officers and 203 professional staff who serve a population of 889,360 citizens under the leadership of Sheriff Paul Miyamoto.

To address the stressors that his deputies face, Sheriff Miyamoto sought a resource that recognized stress as a whole life journey. The sheriff applied for and received a grant from California POST to provide 16 hours of wellness training and resources to assist all staff including dispatchers. The department contracted with Navigating Adversity. This wellness resource was created specifically with public safety in mind as it works to Overcome the stigma that surrounds wellness effort, particularly in the law enforcement profession.

All Navigating Adversity’s coursework was delivered on-line and confidentially. The curriculum addressed the topics of identifying, understanding, and healing in the areas of depression, anxiety, occupational stress, compassion fatigue, post-traumatic stress, substance addiction and organizational stress. In January 2021, the Sheriff sent out invitations to participate in the training to his entire staff. 836 department members participated in the program and were compensated for their time. Spouses were also encouraged to use their spouse’s ID and password to participate in the wellness training.

The first element in the curriculum is a 250 question, pre-training wellness survey. The survey gave the program a baseline to start from to begin to reduce stressors and lower the scores from their initial level.

The SFSD also has a robust peer support program to further employee wellness options. Though they do not have a psychiatrist on staff, members are encouraged to reach out to Dr. Thornton, of the All Navigating Adversity program, who listens to their concerns and pairs up the employee with a mental health specialist who can provide the best treatment that coincides with their needs.

The City of San Francisco has an Employee Assistance Program, which is made available to the entire workforce. The EAP offers a variety of confidential counseling, consultation, coaching & education services as well as culturally- competent licensed therapists. The department also provides suicide prevention, mental health and financial wellness programs to their members.

The SFSD provides workout rooms for the staff and encourages their regular use. Two of the gym/workout rooms are in the jails. Deputies can work out there on their paid lunch time but must be able to respond if needed. An incentive of up to 40 hours of extra time off each year is awarded to employees with exemplary physical fitness scores. In FY 2013-2014, 313 employees accrued 40 hours of paid time off and in FY 2016-2017, 435 employees accrued 40 hours of paid time off, a 39% increase.

As a result of these initiatives, the SFSD has experienced a positive change in its overall culture and in employee morale.

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San Francisco (CA) Sheriff's Department | Officer Wellness Program Overview