Porterville Police Department receives $46,000 Officer Wellness and Mental Health Grant, seeks to add formal peer support training, purchase new gym equipment, considers a first responder therapy dog
PORTERVILLE – Despite some mental health measures already in place, the Porterville Police Department has an eye on its officers for overall improved mental health from recruitment to retirement.
The Porterville Police Department was awarded a $46,337 Officer Wellness and Mental Health Grant to improve officer wellness and expand available mental health resources for the department. At the March 7, Porterville City Council meeting, the council accepted the Police Department’s allocated share. The grant was established to address everyday exposures to incidents which can lead to mental exhaustion, burnout and poor mental health.
With the additional state funding, the department seeks to add formal peer support training, new equipment for the department’s gym to encourage physical fitness, as well as considering a first responder therapy dog for emotional support. Improved mental health will not only benefit Officers, but will have a positive impact on the community as the return on investment will result in the community’s health and safety being better served.
The funds from the grant can be used for a variety of purposes, in addition to how Porterville plans to use them. Some of those ways include establishing or expanding officer wellness units or peer support units, mental health services by a health professional or counselor and expanding multi-agency mutual aid programs. It could also be used for any other programs or services that are evidence-based to have a successful track record of enhancing Officer wellness. The goal of offering these services is that officers will have overall improved mental health from recruitment to retirement.
Currently the Porterville police department has resources available to address officer wellness and mental health, but they are always evaluating ways to expand on these valuable services. One of the current services offered is the Cordico Shield app, which provides 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year proactive wellness solutions customized specifically for the Porterville department. There is also a department peer support unit to support officers. The unit is comprised of a Lieutenant, two Sergeants, a Dispatcher, a Chaplain and line level officers who are available for assistance and support as needed.
This funding was made available as part of the 2022 State Budget Act. The Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) Officer Wellness and Mental Health Grant Program was established, providing $50 million in funds for city and county law enforcement agencies. Each eligible law enforcement agency was allocated funds based on the number of peace officers in their respective departments. The department has from July 2022 to December 2025 to spend the entire grant amount, according to the staff report. The remainder of unspent funds will be returned to the State’s General Fund.