IMPD focuses on mental health following murder-suicide

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 18, 2014)– The entire Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department family is carrying heavy hearts following Thursday’s murder-suicide involving two of their own, and the tragedy has shed light on the mental health state of the department.

This incident is unlike anything the department has ever dealt with.

“We know how to deal with critical incidents involving our officers when they are victims. We do not know because we’ve never had to deal with it…a situation like this where its involving two of our own in a murder suicide like we had last night,” said Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 86 President Bill Owensby.

Officers are expected to experience a variety of emotions, and the department is urging them to take advantage of the free services available.

“We have this EAP, employee assistance program that is free and it is confidential,” said Owensby. “The department does not know who’s being seen or what’s being said and we’ve encouraged officers when they’ve been involved in a critical incident go see them. It doesn’t hurt even if it’s two visits.”

In addition to EAP, officers can also utilize the chaplains and a wellness program. Officers involved in a group call “POST” Police Officers Support Team are trained by mental health professionals and are equipped to help their own.

Cheif Rick Hite says this is going to be a long road to healing for all.

“This is tough work. It takes its toll on you and you have to understand we’re people, we’re no different than anyone else,” said Hite.