Huntsville police working to make peer support program

Huntsville police working to make peer support program

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The Huntsville Police Department is in the beginning stages of setting up a peer support group for the officers.

Support group leaders say this will allow the people that are here for the community to have a place to turn to when they need.

The peer group will be under the guidance of Lonnie Jones, a licensed counselor and chaplain who has helped law enforcement since the 1980s. Jones said it’s important to give back to a community that has protected his family for so long.

“Officers are very comfortable calling for backup in a car chase, they are comfortable calling for backup on a call,” Jones said. “The radio call for that is a 10-55. We are wanting to talk about an emotional 10-55, so police officers feel comfortable in asking for and offering help to other officers.”

Huntsville Police Department Lt. Michael Johnson said this new group will mean a longer career life for the officers. He said by giving them a place to turn to, they will feel like they can talk about their bad calls with an expert.

“Having this from the very beginning kind of helps facilitate those conversations very early on in their career,” Johnson said. “So as they hit those bumps as they hit those obstacles in their career, they know they have an agency that fully supports them.”

Johnson said this group will be voluntary for the officers, and there will be a level of anonymity so officers can feel comfortable joining.

He said this peer group will be up and running within the next couple of months.

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