The Pasadena Police Department has been awarded a $125,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to promote officer mental health and wellbeing, officials announced Friday.
The grant is for the maximum amount allowed under the federal Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act, or LEMHWA, Program, according to Pasadena police Lt. William Grisafe.
“The funding will give the PD the ability to fund projects that develop knowledge and increase awareness around mental health and wellness in law enforcement,” he said.
The award must be approved by the City Council before taking effect, Grisafe said.
Chief John Perez has been working to develop an officer wellness program for the past three years, the lieutenant added. “The program was implemented without an increase to the PD budget and the grant funds will help to expand the PD’s Wellness Unit services.”
“The issue of mental health in law enforcement is a very critical conversation that needs to be had. The newly formed Wellness Unit at the Police Department will provide employees with the tools to better address the numerous traumatic circumstances they face day in and day out both in their professional and personal lives,” Perez said.
“The better officers are able to manage issues impacting their mental health, the better they are able to serve those members of the community with whom they come into contact,” according to the chief.
LEMHWA funding is used “to improve the delivery of and access to mental health and wellness services for law enforcement through the implementation of peer support, training, family resources, suicide prevention, and other promising practices for wellness programs,” according to a statement from the DOJ.
More information on the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act Program is available online at cops.usdoj.gov/lemhwa.