OCPD Wellness Unit Assists Officers Dealing With Tragedies

Thursday, August 25th 2022, 5:45 pm


Officer-involved shootings, serious accidents and horrific scenes involving children often leave a mark on first responders. The Oklahoma City Police Department is leading the way in providing critical incident support to its officers and law enforcement across the state. 

The Wellness Unit is not only a resource for Oklahoma City officers. They recently assisted the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office and the Edmond Police Department as they navigated through recent tragedies. 

They work around the clock, anytime an officer needs support on the job or off. 

“Recently had some horrific child deaths or murders,” said Msgt. Scott Pope, Oklahoma City Police Department. “We’ve had surrounding agencies lose officers in the line of duty. We respond to that.”  

The department’s Wellness Unit consists of officers offering peer support at scenes, trained civilians, clergy, and Will the Wellness Dog. 

“He visits all of our employees,” said Pope. “He’s around the department all day. He responds to critical incidents.”  

Pope said the unit started in 2020 but a version of it has been around for years. Evolving into what it is today, due to an increase in mental health education. 

“We really focus on awareness. How do you build that awareness inside you, so you know when something is wrong,” said Pope. “We focus a lot on education. We teach a lot at our academy level. We teach a lot at the department.”  

The help extends to the people often most impacted when an officer brings their work home. 

“We help the families, we help the children,” said Msgt. John Blumenthal, Oklahoma City Police Department. “We schedule counseling sessions. Pretty much anything anybody can call or come into the office, we have a resource for.” 

Visits to their office are confidential. 

“We don’t report to anybody,” said Pope. “Our command staff, our Chief doesn’t ask us ‘What’s going on with certain employees?’” 

The Wellness Unit is growing. The department plans to add more positions in the near future. 


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