Chattanooga Police officers are encouraged to have an outlet to relieve stress
Research shows, nearly one in four police officers have suicidal thoughts during their life.
Over the last few weeks, Chattanooga Police have had responded to multiple shootings.
More than 450 officers work for Chattanooga Police. Their supervisors suggest taking a holistic approach to relieving stress.
That's why many officers go to the gym to work out.
After 10 hours of back-to-back calls, Assistant Chief Danna Vaughn says at any given time officers could face a number of situations. “Several disorders during the day, and it may be among family members that might be amongst school students,” said Vaughn. Vaughn says sometimes you don't get the time to decompress.
She tells us what may cause officers the most stress. “The loss of an officer is probably the biggest stressful event,” said Vaughn. “We also deal with shootings much as we had at Riverbend Saturday night.”
Lt. Heather Williams was one of the officers working the night of the shooting outside the Riverbend Festival. She goes to the gym in order to relieve stress after a long shift like that.
Williams shares a statistic that officers tend to die at a younger age compared to other professions. She says it has to do with the pressures of the job.
“So we have to meet several domains the spiritual domain, the emotional domain, the mental and physical,” said Heather Williams.
Fellow Officer Dejanee White agrees that the gym is her happy place.
Both of these ladies work out about four times a week.
“You have overhead presses, pool trucks, deadlifts cars and lift these big heavy stones,” said Dejanee White.
Williams tells her peers and the officers she supervises to get a hobby they enjoy outside of work.
“I love to go to the mountains,” said Williams. “It's my quiet time my me time. So that's how I deal with that spiritually. Mentally I like to do a lot of meditation.”
After a traumatic situation, managers check on officers periodically to make sure they are handling the stress appropriately.
“We really tried to stress to the supervisor to keep an eye on the officer to see if there's any performance changing moods swings,” said Vaughn.