This guide proposes and suggests ways to implement 10 steps in developing a law enforcement agency’s comprehensive officer health and wellness program.
The first step is to “obtain necessary buy-in,” which involves actions to gain support from agency internal and external stakeholders regarding the rationale and need for an agency health and wellness program. The second step is to develop a program team and select a team leader. Ideally, the selected team leader should be a respected officer whose standard duties will include team leadership. The third step is to review relevant research and seek advice from agencies with existing officer health and wellness programs. The fourth step is to identify priority areas of health and wellness related to work requirements and conditions. The fifth step is to define the program’s mission/goals and develop a plan to achieve them. Step six is the building of a referral network of local health and wellness entities that include personal trainers, physical therapists, nutritionists, and mental health clinicians. Step seven is the provision of training for all team members prior to launching the program. This includes continuing training for both team and agency members. Step eight is to launch the program and conduct regular outreach that focuses on the importance and features of the health and wellness program. Step nine involves maintaining officer wellness programming. This could include the development of a health and wellness advisory committee composed of stakeholders that include health experts, officer union representatives, and frontline officers. The tenth step is an evaluation of the health and wellness program that includes officer participation data, feedback from participants, and measures of the program’s impact on officer health and wellness. A planning checklist is provided.