Kaysville looks to hire full-time therapist to help law enforcement
KAYSVILLE, Utah –– Kaysville is looking to hire a therapist that will help law enforcement officers deal with the unique stress of their jobs and help them better respond to people in crisis.
It seemed to reach a peak in 2020 after the death of George Floyd, around the country and here in Utah –s law enforcement, put under the microscope, which to a large extent, continues today.
“Nationwide, I think what we’re seeing right now is everybody kind of critiquing law enforcement’s response on a lot of critical incidents,” said Kaysville Police Chief Solomon Oberg. “A lot of those incidents are mental health related.”
Oberg said even in Kaysville, it emphasizes the need to have the best response, for the public, and for officers.
“This past year, we had a couple of juveniles try to kill themselves,” he said. “One tried to throw himself off an overpass. Our officers, trying to restrain him.”
Oberg said a full-time therapist would train officers in their response to these sensitive calls and at times, respond with them on scene.
“We need to try to do something to kind of fill in some of the gaps and help people navigate the system,” Oberg said.
And Oberg said often, officers are the ones who need help too.
“We failed ourselves really. You know, we’ve got kind of a macho mentality, tough guy mentality,” he said.
This approach is something that he says needs to change. Officers see people in their worst of times.
“And it takes a toll on these officers, especially year after year, day after day, throughout their entire career,” he said.
Over the past year alone, Oberg said he’s had two officers resign due to the stress of the job.
The new position will be paid for completely by funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, so it won’t come out of city taxpayer dollars.
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