TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) Police officers are there for the public on their worst days. But who's there for them, when they need help?
In 2019 alone, almost 230 officers died by suicide.
KMVT talked with Twin Falls Police Chief Craig Kingsbury to see how the department handles the issue.
“We are very cognizant of the national, I’ll say phenomenon, not just with law enforcement, but all first responders when it comes to suicides,” Kingsbury said.
In 2019, 132 officers died in the line of duty. In the same year, 228 died by suicide.
Kingsbury says the department focuses on the mental well being of all first responders, not just cops.
“They are just exposed to so many things," he said. "And then they obviously need to work through what we see, what we hear and what we deal with on a daily basis."
The way they do that is simple, by stressing overall employee wellness.
“We, the city, offers an employee assistance program in which any city employee could call and set up an appointment with a counselor. And of course those counseling sessions are free of charge to the employee or their family member,” Kingsbury said.
They also take it a step further.
“We ask our employees, if they feel a coworker is talking or acting like they're thinking about suicide, we ask them to encourage that coworker to reach out for help," he said. "And if that coworker doesn't want to reach out for help, we encourage our employees to do so on their behalf."0
Because the fact is, it can happen here.
“Unfortunately even in Idaho we have lost first responders to suicide. And it is devastating,” Kingsbury said.