In March 2020, the OSW Group convened to discuss law enforcement safety and wellness challenges that are unique to small and rural agencies—an essential conversation given that approximately 80 percent of U.S. law enforcement agencies have fewer than 20 officers. This document focuses on how the meeting participants focused on addressing safety and tactical care via training and proper equipment; promoting physical health through testing, regular wellness visits, and fitness resources; and supporting mental wellness with confidential counseling, peer support groups, and other innovative and unconventional resources.
The National Consortium on Preventing Law Enforcement Suicide Toolkit is designed to support agencies and departments to address officer mental health and wellness concerns. This suicide prevention toolkit has all the information that agencies need to develop and implement a customized agency approach to prevent officer suicide and strengthen officer mental health.
This brief details strategies for small and rural law enforcement agencies to consider when planning regional training that prepares their officers to respond appropriately and effectively to people with mental health issues.