Baltimore Police Officers Find Support in Officer Safety and Wellness Program

A comprehensive program is helping Baltimore police officers manage the daily trauma and stress of their job, prioritizing mental health and well-being.

Every day, police officers in Baltimore face traumatic and challenging situations that can take a toll on their mental health. Recognizing the need to support their officers, the Baltimore City Police Department implemented the Officer Safety and Wellness program. Led by Director Vernon Herron, this program aims to prepare officers for the demands of their job by prioritizing their mental well-being. By providing resources such as yoga, meditation, confidential counseling, and early intervention, the program is making a significant impact on the mental health of Baltimore police officers.

A Culture of Mental Health Support

The Officer Safety and Wellness program is deeply ingrained in the culture of the Baltimore City Police Department. According to Herron, it is the cornerstone of their mission. Launched in 2016, the program ensures that every employee of the department undergoes mandatory training to address the trauma and stress they face on a daily basis. By prioritizing mental health from day one, the program aims to create a healthier and more resilient police force.

Holistic Approaches to Officer Wellness

The program emphasizes holistic approaches to officer wellness, recognizing that mental health is just as important as physical health. Officers are provided with resources such as yoga and meditation to help them manage stress and promote overall well-being. Confidential counseling services are also available for officers who may be struggling with the emotional toll of their job. By offering these resources, the program aims to prevent officers from turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as alcohol, to manage trauma.

Early Intervention and Monitoring

Another crucial aspect of the Officer Safety and Wellness program is early intervention and monitoring of officers who may be displaying potential problematic behaviors. The program seeks to identify and address issues before they escalate. By closely monitoring officers’ well-being, the program can provide timely support and resources, preventing further harm to the officers themselves and the community they serve. Since the program’s inception, the number of interventions has significantly decreased, indicating its effectiveness.

A National Leader in Mental Health Services

The success of the Officer Safety and Wellness program has not gone unnoticed. Dozens of police departments across the country have adopted Baltimore’s policies and practices, making the Baltimore City Police Department a national leader in mental health services for law enforcement. The program’s impact on officer well-being and the reduction in interventions demonstrate the importance of prioritizing mental health within the law enforcement community.

Breaking the Stigma and Promoting Help-Seeking

Captain Bill Shiflett, a beneficiary of the program, highlights the importance of having someone who understands the need for psychological help. He emphasizes that the physical wounds may heal, but the psychological impact can linger if not addressed. The Officer Safety and Wellness program breaks down the stigma surrounding mental health and encourages officers to seek help when needed. By providing a supportive environment, the program ensures that officers receive the necessary care to heal and thrive.


The Officer Safety and Wellness program implemented by the Baltimore City Police Department is revolutionizing the way law enforcement agencies approach mental health. By prioritizing officer well-being through holistic approaches, early intervention, and monitoring, the program is making a significant impact on the mental health of Baltimore police officers. The success of the program has garnered national recognition, with other departments adopting Baltimore’s policies and practices. By taking care of their officers’ mental health, the Baltimore City Police Department is not only creating healthier officers but also fostering a healthier community.

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