Cedar City Police chief advocates for his department’s mental health

Jan 6, 2023, 6:05 PM | Updated: May 15, 2023, 1:59 pm

ENOCH, Utah — There are some things no one should ever see. However, on Wednesday night in Enoch, some people had to see it.

“It weighs heavy on the first responders,” said Chief Darin Adams of the Cedar City Police Department.

Police officers, medical workers, and other first responders were called to a home on Albert Drive in Enoch, Utah, where a man shot and killed his wife, mother-in-law, and his five children, before himself.

It was a scene those first responders will never forget, which is why Adams ordered his three detectives who saw it all to visit a therapist today and next week.

“We are coming so far in our efforts to destigmatize officers and first responders getting help,” Adams expressed.

Cedar City is helping the Enoch Police Department with the investigation.

Adams has been an advocate for police officer mental health for 20 years before these kinds of things were talked about as openly as they are now. Suicide rates among law enforcement officers remain higher than line-of-duty deaths.

“We’ve got work to do still,” he said. “I know there are some agencies that are still a little uncertain and officers that don’t want to say anything for fear of their job. We have just got to put that aside and be vulnerable.”

In Cedar City, officers regularly meet with therapists. The city will even cover additional therapist visits beyond what insurance pays for, and there are trained peer-support officers to help take that first step.

The city also applies for several grants to help pay for mental health training and sessions. It has created a culture where officers come in knowing it’s okay to ask for help.

“You have a supervisor sharing with a young officer, ‘yeah, I go to therapy, and this is how it helps me,’” Adams said. “It just takes away that fear and the ability to say, hey yeah, I think I can do that, too.”

That way, when officers have to deal with a case like the one in Enoch, they don’t have to do it alone.

“Gone are the days where we just suck it up and move on,” Adams said. “We can’t do that anymore.”

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Cedar City Police chief advocates for his department’s mental health