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Government

Sedgwick Co. Sheriff’s Office Expanding Stress Management Program

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Nadya Faulx
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KMUW/File photo
Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter

The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office in Wichita is planning to expand its crisis management training program to help smaller agencies throughout the state.

The Sheriff’s Office has a team of 15 employees who are trained in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) techniques.

They help law enforcement officers and first responders cope with on-the-job stress.

“We activate the team anytime we have a serious event whether it’s an officer-involved shooting, a horrific accident or sometimes we’ve had some really horrific suicides that involve children," says Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter. "So anything that rises to that level or if the employee themselves says 'Hey, I’m really struggling with this, and I’d like to have some CISM team members come talk to me.'"

Easter says the program works so well that he wants to take the training to other agencies outside of Sedgwick County.

"We felt that this was an item that would assist all of law enforcement and fire, if they so choose to be in it, and EMS and helping our employees cope with difficult issues that can see almost on a daily basis."

He says smaller agencies in surrounding counties often contact his office when they need crisis management help because the agencies don’t have the personnel or funding to complete the CISM training program on their own.

"We want to be the hub to help train other departments, other public officials or other public safety officials in this particular program," Easter says.

Easter will apply for a $51,000 federal grant to get more employees certified in the CISM program and to develop the outreach effort.

The Sedgwick County Commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday to allow the Sheriff’s Office to apply for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant through the U.S. Department of Justice.

Easter says the Sheriff’s Office is considered to be one of the leaders in the state for using the CISM program and pushing it forward.

The Sheriff’s Office will partner with the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center to provide the stress management training throughout the state.

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Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar

 
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