The Kaysville police department is looking to hire a therapist to help officers deal with the stress of their jobs and help them better respond to people in crisis. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
KAYSVILLE — Kaysville is looking to hire a therapist to help law enforcement officers. The city has the position is posted right now, and a big part of this is to help officers deal with the unique stress of their jobs. Another big part of it though, is to help them better respond to people in crisis.
It seemed to reach a peak in 2020 after the death of George Floyd. Around the country and here in Utah, law enforcement was put under the microscope, which to a large extent, continues today.
“Nationwide, I think what we’re seeing right now is everybody kind of critiquing law enforcement’s response on a lot of critical incidents,” said Kaysville Police Chief Solomon Oberg. “A lot of those incidents are mental health-related.”
Oberg, says even in Kaysville, it emphasizes the need to have the best response, for the public and for officers.
“This past year, we had a couple of juveniles try to kill themselves,” he said. “One tried to throw himself off an overpass. Our officers, trying to restrain him.”
Oberg says a full-time therapist would train officers in their response to these sensitive calls and, at times, respond with them on scene. “We need to try to do something to kind of fill in some of the gaps and help people navigate the system,” Oberg said.
And Oberg says often, officers are the ones who need help too. “We failed ourselves really. You know, we’ve got kind of a macho mentality, tough guy mentality,” he said.
This approach is something that he says needs to change. Officers see people in their worst of times. “And it takes a toll on these officers, especially year after year, day after day, throughout their entire career,” he said.
Over the past year alone, Oberg says he’s had two officers resign due to stress of the job.
The new position will be paid for completely by funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, so it won’t come out of city taxpayer dollars.