MAYS LANDING – In accordance with a directive from NJ Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, Atlantic County law enforcement officers this week attended resiliency training, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner announced in a release.
The training sessions were taught by active law enforcement officers of the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office, and the Atlantic City, Egg Harbor Township and Pleasantville Police departments.
“The work that is required of today’s police officer requires them to be more than a police officer. The work of today’s police officer requires them to be a social worker, an addiction counselor, a psychologist and so much more,” Tyner said. “As a result of these new demands, we as their employers must take a more active approach to acknowledging the vicarious trauma that they may experience in performing their duties. We need them to be healthy so they can protect and serve us better,”
In August 2019, Grewal unveiled his Promoting Law Enforcement Resiliency directive that called attention to the men and women of law enforcement who put their lives on the line every day to protect citizens. The directive defined “resiliency” as the ability to overcome adversity following traumatic events and protecting an officer’s mental health. It strives to create a supportive culture for law enforcement officers, their families, friends and the community.
The directive requires all law enforcement agencies to appoint at least one Resiliency Program Officer to provide training, answer officers’ questions and provide access to support services and programs
Tyner appointed Sgt. C.J. Durham as the Prosecutor’s Office team leader, and Sgt. Jason Kangas as assistant team leader, along with Resiliency Officers Detectives Christopher Popper, Nina Mitchell and Hannah Piatt.
Atlantic County Sheriff Eric Scheffler, an advocate of the FBI National Academy train-the-trainer program, named Sheriff’s Officer Adam Erskine as master resiliency trainer, along with Officers Jacqueline Medina, Natalie Lomonaco, Katherine Naveja and Eric Francis as resiliency officers.
Atlantic County currently has more than 40 RPOs who will soon begin training 1,200 law enforcement officers working in 18 municipal police departments, the Atlantic Sheriff’s Office and the Atlantic County Justice Facility.
The New Jersey Resilience program provides the right tools for police officers to be able to understand and build positive coping skills to reset their stress levels after experiencing trauma, Scheffler said.
“My hope is that every officer will be able to adapt these tools to help manage any stress and trauma that they experience from performing their duties as a police officer. When we help to support the mental, physical and social well-being, we create officers who can make better decisions under stress, which has a direct correlation to healthier and safer communities,” Scheffler said.