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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services
A career in law enforcement has long been understood to require a commitment to service, sound judgment, and tactical proficiency. However, in recent years, departments have come to recognize that the capacity of officers to dissipate stress and effectively ‘answer the bell’ each day is of equal importance. The Madison (Wisconsin) Police Department is one of those departments, and in response they worked closely with the University of Iowa’s College of Nursing to develop and implement the Building Personal Resilience Project.
In the current episode of The Beat, the COPS Office podcast series, Madison’s effort to support officer wellness and resilience is discussed with Captain (Ret.), Mary Schauf, and the University of Iowa’s Sandra Ramey, Ph.D. Together, they share details about the innovative approach used to help officers cope with stress, self-regulate, and generally improve their emotional well-being.
The project, which is now used throughout the department, was beta tested with 135 Madison Police Department recruits during their pre-service academy training. The recruits completed a six-hour block of instruction and focused breathing became an integrated part of their entire training experience. Officers in Madison now utilize the focused breathing and behavior techniques introduced during recruit training during the course of each shift, with a focus on improving performance and managing the stress inherent to a career in law enforcement.
In 2013, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) created the COPS Office Microgrant Initiative to support law enforcement in implementing innovative community policing projects. This program aims to provide up to $75,000 in small-grant seed funding to state, local, and tribal law enforcement to develop and test programs and strategies in a real-world setting. This report provides case studies of each of the 2015 microgrant projects, highlighting successful community policing strategies that may be used in other agencies across the country.
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