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Police departments need mental health programs

Police departments need mental health programs
Posted at 12:34 PM, May 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-26 12:34:19-04

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A new federal report says police chiefs and sheriffs across the country should put mental health programs in place for their officers as soon as possible to prepare for the psychological aftermath of mass shootings and other traumatic events.

The report released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Justice and National Alliance on Mental Illness was prompted by the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, where 20 first-graders and six educators were shot to death.

The 140-page report says that although most police agencies have prepared how to respond to mass shootings, few have prepared their officers for the psychological fallout.

It recommends that police chiefs choose mental health service providers, consider wellness and education programs for officers, create officer peer support programs and designate mental health incident commanders.