LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Lubbock Police Department will be receiving more than $73,000 in federal grant money, intended to fund open access to mental health and wellness services for Lubbock law enforcement.
The grants were approved under the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act, which passed in the Senate in 2017.
The bill directed the Department of Justice to report on Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs mental health practices and services that could be adopted by law enforcement agencies. The bill also expanded the use of grant funds with the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) to include establishing peer mentoring mental health and wellness pilot programs within state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies.
As part of the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act, in 2019, the COPS office released data from 11 case studies in various police departments in cities across the country, including Dallas and San Antonio.
Teams with the studies visited each police department to conduct interviews and observe practices and facilities, as well as get an understanding of “the context and demographics of both a location and a law enforcement agency as well as the benefits provided to employees within an agency," which they say is a critical component to understanding a department’s approach to employee wellness and the established culture of wellness among officers.
According to the publication, “Some of the sites and programs selected have a historical commitment to officer mental health services, and some sites demonstrate how to build a deeper commitment to officer mental health programming with limited resources.”
The publication stated the studies found no one single solution to encouraging mental health and wellness among police, but rather methods “using multiple components" gets the best results, and require commitment from members at all levels of the law enforcement agency to prioritize maintaining good mental health.
Senator John Cornyn, who supported the 2017 bill, says we ask too much of law enforcement officers while relying on them to keep communities safe and supporting good mental health is part of providing first responders with necessary tools of the job:
“Because we rely on first responders to keep our communities safe, it is critical that we provide them with the tools they need to do their jobs,” said Sen. Cornyn. “We ask our law enforcement officers to do too much so I will continue working to ensure police in Lubbock don’t go without the support they need.”
According to information from the office of Senator Cornyn, the Lubbock Police Department will receive $73,407 as part of the federal grant for the Lubbock Peer Support Project.