New grant would help Sedgwick Co. Sheriff’s Office train other agencies around the state

Sedgwick County Sheriff (KSN File Photo)

SEDGWICK CO. Kan. (KSNW) – For years the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office has trained employees on how to handle stressful situations both during and after they occur.

Now, the county wants to extend that knowledge to other area agencies.

For that reason, the Sedgwick County Commission will consider a new community policing grant at today’s meeting.

Every day deputies are faced with stressful situations in the field that could easily turn traumatic. Those situations could include anything from violent car accidents to incidents involving children or other officers.

With a little help, deputies can work through some of the lingering mental struggles after those events unfold.

“Those things are very traumatic and they can ruin a person’s career because they can never get over what occurred or what they saw and so for their mental health; well-being, we provide these services in hopes that we get the same deputy that we had before the incident occurred,” said Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter.

Those services come from Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) training.

A few years ago, the Sedgwick County. Sheriff’s Office formed CISM teams. Those teams went to official training and since then, the training has spread throughout the entire department.

Over time, the sheriff’s office has received requests from outside agencies to help out when they face their own traumatic events.

“Out west of us there’s not near the funding in a lot of those sheriff’s offices and police departments to be able to get training like this so we want to be able to train them as well and just be the lead agency in trying to keep our people safe and trying to keep law enforcement and fire departments and EMS with their mental capabilities in tact after a critical incident,” Sheriff Easter said.

While they’ll never stop helping, sharing resources with neighboring agencies can be taxing, Easter said.

The $51,000 grant being considered by the county commission today would allow the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office to purchase books, pay for tuition to make the training tuition-free and pay for staff time to put on the training that would help other agencies help themselves after future incidents.

Ideally, Easter said, Sedgwick County plans to partner with the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center to spread the training across the entire state.

“What we’re trying to do id be able to train individuals; officers, firemen, EMS workers from the surrounding area so that they have at least one CISM person that can help their personnel out when they’ve had a critical incident,” Easter said.

The federal grant comes with no strings attached, according to Easter.

“This particular grant is at no cost to Sedgwick County,” he said. “There are no matching funds, there’s nothing we have to set aside for later use or those type of things. This is strictly kind of a no strings attached grant for CISM training.”

The resources provided by the grant reflect the law enforcement community as a whole, according to Sedgwick County Commissioner, David Unruh.

“The whole law enforcement community is a big fraternity where they all care about one another, which I think is healthy and good,” he said. “So we need to be a good regional partner and provide that resource and provide that capability to those adjacent counties that don’t have the ability.”

For more information on the grant click here.

Read more on CISM training here.