Webinar presenters Sherri Martin and Dr. Jacqueline Drew answered a number of your questions after their presentation, What Police Officers Want: Consulting the Source. Here are just a few of their responses
Audience Question: Did you see any differences in survey responses between men and women officers?
Jacqueline Drew: So, we didn’t see many gender differences, in terms of statistically significant differences when we looked at the data. So, as you drill down the data a little bit, and we need to do more in-depth analysis, we might be able to identify a few differences there. But really, I would say, holistically, that it was pretty, pretty much similar across males and females. when we often find differences, it’s often gender specific issues. So, things like sexual harassment, obviously, and gender discrimination. So, when we have a look at that part of our data set, it’s likely that we might find differences in, obviously, the prevalence rates, and obviously, the connection between the prevalence rates, and those issues, and psychological health outcomes. But holistically across most of the variables, any of the variables we currently looked at. And looked at those predictive relationships, we haven’t really identified very, very, many gender differences at all.
Audience Question: Is there a vetted training program that providers can complete to facilitate those wellness visits to get a sense of what that culture is like?
Sherri Martin: Okay, Yeah. So, oddly enough, there are a number of programs that are training clinicians in cultural competence. We, as a committee within the FOP, have seen several of them, there are none that we know of that are accredited. I know that there is a college program that’s training graduate level students to specialize in training first responders. So, what we’d like to share with folks who are looking at trying to achieve cultural competence and working with law enforcement, is probably the most critical thing to do, is to get involved with a local police department. So, for example, if you have no experience at all and working with first responders, reach out and make a connection with your local police department, your local fire department, and establish a relationship there. Often, peer teams are looking for clinicians who can be a resource when they’re looking for a way to hand a peer up to higher level services, when a peer needs greater help than the peer supporter is equipped to provide. Another thing that I recommend is, if you go to that resource, I mentioned, the FOP Approved Provider Bulletin. And you locate one of those practitioners that’s in your area or even in your state, and just reach out to them as another practitioner. Make a relationship there. Learn from them how they gain cultural competence. Some people think, well, the FOP is only looking for clinicians who have either been cops themselves before —— that’s not true. We have a number of clinicians within the approved provider bulletin, who are not related to first responders, who have never been first responders themselves, but have simply taken those steps to go out, do ride alongs with police officers, make connections with people within the agency, learn more about what it’s like to go out on the road in a patrol car and do the job, either by doing ride alongs or just getting to know people in the police department, working with our peer support teams, and forming those other bonds. I can say that it’s not a bad idea to take some of those training programs that are out there. Probably a simple Google search of counselors for law enforcement. And you’ll find some of those training programs that are out there. I believe that there are two that are available, that you can work through online. And, again, the graduate program I mentioned, that’s in Colorado, and certainly, if there are still more questions, feel free to reach out to me via e-mail. And I’m happy to try to point folks in the right direction.
Audience Question: Are the results of the study, including an executive summary or a monograph available online to review and reference?
Sherri Martin: Great question, so Jackie and I are working on that now and we hope that it will be available in the next month or so. What we have done is, over the course of the last year and a half, is parceled out pieces of data here and there, because, as I mentioned, we had so much that we would take out a few variables, we have written a few academic papers, we have a book chapter draft, and Jackie, anything else you want to say about that?
Jacqueline Drew: Yeah, so a number of our articles are freely available online, they’re not behind paywalls, so you can access them. And, yes, we’ve got some more publications coming out. And we’re about to put together sort of an executive summary, sort of that high level information. So, for instance, the availability, access, and effectiveness of wellness services. That’s a paper that’s currently available open access. If you Google either Sherri or my name, you’ll probably come up with it, but please reach out to us if you can’t find it. So, all of that stuff around access, availability and effectiveness of services, that’s been captured in one paper. So, we’ve sort of taken chunks of it. So, you can find them in different forums, but please reach out to us if you want us to give you the right direction to find that those resources.
Audience Question: Having been in military and law enforcement for over 30 years, I’ve seen a lot of change in the mid-west, especially in rural areas. There are few programs, either internal or external, that are available to public servants. Any suggestions on what to do or how to deal with this limitation?
Sherri Martin: Yeah, we know, we know, and that’s a concern. So, as I mentioned, we are trying to find within the FOP at least 1 or 2 culturally competent providers or programs within every state, right? So, we know there’s a challenge in the mid-west. We see most of the culturally competent services gathered around large cities gathered around, the two coasts. But we’re working to find them. What I would say also is, we because we’re a nationwide organization, we can talk to each of our members in, the different states and say, who you connected with, who have you used. But then for those folks who are really kind of starting from the bottom up, we say look to a similar sized municipality or a similar environment and ask them how they got started. Most of our wellness programs around the country, agency wellness programs within police departments are very open to sharing information. We don’t see competition, really, between wellness, entities. Everybody’s really trying to help everybody. We’re all working toward the same goal. And if there’s more specific help that we can provide in the way of maybe some folks to connect with in a specific area, we’re happy to try and provide those connections so that so that folks can learn from each other. We kind of see ourselves as a catalyst, we’re not the warehouse of all the information. We simply want to encourage folks to learn from each other. If we can’t provide the answer, we’re going to try to connect you with someone that can.
Audience Question: Have you been exposed to or involved with officer wellness systems like, combined data for many systems in law enforcement to give a 360 degree view of an officer’s environment? If so, have you found those effective?
Jacqueline Drew: So, the work that I’m doing at the minute, if I understand the question correctly, here in Australia, I’m working with one of our large policing agencies to collect 360 degree data around our Officers Health. So, what we’re doing is I’ve done a large survey like I did with the FOP collecting or with these metrics what we’re also overlaying on that things like sick leave data, workers’ compensation. Not sure of the term that you use in the US but accessing workers’ compensation when you have an injury on the job. So, we’re actually using administrative data as well as our survey data. What we’re also interested in is overlaying again, investigation data on that as well, because we know that often some of our offices are getting in trouble, not because it’s because of their psychological health, and that can be a red flag. So, I’m certainly doing that here in Australia right now. —— a federally funded project that he’s trying to look at. What is the best way of looking at both data that’s consistently collected across police agencies, as well as doing surveys, like we did with the FOP, like I’m doing with my jurisdiction here to get that 360 degree view. What I would say, it takes investment by the police agency. I’m very lucky that my police chief, we have an eleven and a half thousand police officers in the agency in the state that I’m living here in Australia. And my commissioner is very supportive of the projects. She works with me on the project, but it takes that agency level commitment to get access to that data. We know that sometimes police agencies don’t like to share their data, and maybe you don’t want to expose, maybe, problems within their agency. So, it does require a real commitment by the agency to, to get the transparency of data, but it’s certainly possible, and we’re developing what we’re calling an early warning system. Both a workplace health and performance that we hope will achieve exactly what you’re saying.
Audience Question: Is there a vetted training program that providers can complete to facilitate those wellness visits?
Sherri Martin: Not that I’m aware of. However, I do know that the International Association of Chiefs of Police is readying to publish guidelines for those annual wellness visits. So, I think that it’s probably something you’re going to see coming very soon, that there will be some sort of training developed to provide those visits. I think what’s happened anecdotally, is that clinicians have learned from other clinicians, who are kind of doing them the way they think they should be doing. And I think that’s why IACP has come up with these guidelines. Because I think wellness visits were kind of being done in all sorts of ways. Sort of like, sort of like, peer support has been done. Right. Like we’ve done peer support and 17 different ways. Until recently now, the FOP has just finished creating standardized peer support curriculum for law enforcement, which is going to be rolled out in the next couple of months. We’re very excited about that. The Power In Peers Curriculum teaches everybody peer support the same way. I think that, well, you will soon see, is there will be an entity that will create training in a standardized way to do those wellness visits. So, not yet, but I feel certain it’s probably coming.
Audience Question: Referring to your FOP directory of vetted mental health providers. Is there a deadline for submitting clinician information to you to be included?
Sherri Martin: Absolutely not. That process is going to be ongoing, forever, and ever and ever. So, we started with a small number of in-patient facilities that we had kind of informally vetted, and that has grown, and grown, and grown. And so, for example, we have been, for the past couple of months now, really working through a list of individual clinicians. Clinicians can go right to that website and apply. There’s an apply button right on there. They can submit an application to be vetted by us. There’s an interview involved, but now our calendar is full of interviews upcoming to interview clinicians. So that directory is just going to grow and grow and grow, And we have no plans to stop looking for those culturally competent providers.
Audience Question: If officers are looking for mental health service providers, what can they be sure to ask to ensure they get a therapist who is culturally competent?
Sherri Martin: That’s another great question. So, I mentioned the approved provider bulletin. And if you go to FOP.net, within that website, is linked a document called the FOP Wellness Provider Vetting Guide. You can also just Google it, FOP Wellness Provider Vetting Guide, and it’ll pop right up for you. And that’s a document that we created that actually tells you exactly what we look at when we vet a provider. You know, we look at things like privacy and confidentiality. We look at things like how payment is handled. We look at things like how familiar the practitioner is with law enforcement culture, and so that directory, that guide, will help individuals and agencies identify those culturally competent practitioners.
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