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Press Release

HCSO Hosts Peer Support and Suicide Prevention Training


Hamilton County, TN - On January 22-24, 2024, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office hosted its 6th “Basic Peer Support + Suicide Prevention” training class. This class provided training to (14) personnel representing (3) area law enforcement agencies and the Hamilton County 911 Communications District. Training topics included providing effective support to those who are distressed, recognizing risk factors for suicide in the first responder profession, and making appropriate referrals for care.

In September 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services awarded HCSO a federal grant for the purpose of implementing peer support and strengthening employee wellness initiatives within the agency. To date, HCSO has provided training to (51) employees and a total of (130) personnel representing (9) law enforcement agencies throughout the region.

Peer support is one of the most effective and proven strategies for reducing stress and improving employee wellness, and is accomplished by offering employees the assistance of a diverse group of carefully selected and trained agency peer supporters.

The Peer Support Program is one part of Hamilton County Sheriff Austin Garrett’s vision for promoting employee wellness, and is considered by The President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing (2015) and the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act (2017) as a best practice for enhancing public trust and safety by promoting officer safety and wellness.

“I am very proud of our Peer Support Program and the efforts of those involved to design and implement a unique model that holistically seeks to improve the financial, spiritual, and physical well-being of our employees. Our people see the value in this type of one-on-one support, and we intend to continue future training opportunities as we expand this model throughout our region and support our law enforcement and public safety partners,” stated Sheriff Austin Garrett.

Other HCSO wellness initiatives and employee benefits include the Chaplain Program, Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD), the Financial Wellness Team, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), and The WELL fitness center.

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Phone: (423) 209-7000