Early intervention initiative for CPD officers may help with job stress

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago may adopt a new initiative to provide early intervention for Chicago Police Officers who might be struggling with the pressures of the job. It would identify officers and match them with appropriate services for help.

"CPD is going through an historic transformation we never reached out like this before," said Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson.

A national advisory committee met in Chicago on Friday. The committee included law enforcement, academia and mental health experts all working on police early intervention systems.

The systems identify behaviors or patterns in officers using data in order to connect the officers with support.

"Investing in their mental health, I think, is just phenomenal," said Supt. Johnson.

Chicago Police Department is considering the system as a way to reduce problems for the officers and the community.

Lori Lightfoot is President of the Chicago Police Board which decides disciplinary action for officers accused of misconduct.

"It's absolutely essential to policing and I think it could be potentially transformative for our city," said Chicago Police Board President Lori Lightfoot.

Los Angeles Police Department implemented the system in 2007 and has seen a reduction in disciplinary issues according to the former public information officer for LAPD who now overseas Early Intervention at University of Chicago's Crime Lab.

"The idea here is to make it acceptable and common practice to provide those types of support and services to officers," said Maggie Goodrich with the University of Chicago Crime Lab.

The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President has already had one meeting regarding the system. While he wants officers to get help, he wants to protect officers from disciplinary action for getting that help.

"We want to make sure that if they get the help they need, the citizens are going to be happier, our officers are going to be happier and it comes with employee assistance, it comes with counseling, it also comes with having time off from work," said Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Graham.

If the early intervention system comes to Chicago it may be years before it's implemented as most police jurisdictions take at least a year-and-a-half to set it up.
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