In police work, time to address mental health

Bozz District

Paul Sylvestre is a professor and chair of the criminal justice department at Johnson & Wales University and served in the Pawtucket Police Department for 22 years. The public trust in policing is at an all-time low. Gov. Dan McKee, Attorney General Peter Neronha and General Assembly leadership recently acknowledged […]

Paul Sylvestre is a professor and chair of the criminal justice department at Johnson & Wales University and served in the Pawtucket Police Department for 22 years.

The public trust in policing is at an all-time low. Gov. Dan McKee, Attorney General Peter Neronha and General Assembly leadership recently acknowledged this and the need to do more to restore the trust of the general public by announcing a statewide program that will equip police officers across every department with body cameras. While this is an important, positive step, our leaders need to address the predominant issue in law enforcement today: a lack of mental health evaluations and supports.

More police officers are opting to retire, and fewer are deciding to pursue this career path. Despite a growing number of police suicides, the reluctance of administrators to address the psychological issues those in uniform experience perpetuates the assertion that this is an individual issue and not an organizational problem. This is just not true.

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