The National Fraternal Order of Police recognizes that, alongside our Legislative and Labor-related initiatives, Officer Wellness should be among its top priorities. National President Patrick Yoes is pleased to announce that, effective December 1, 2019, Sherri Rowan Martin has been appointed as Director of Officer Wellness for the National Fraternal Order of Police.
“It is important that we recognize and force discussions on the effects our members experience from repeated traumatic events. I am excited that we have one of our own, Sherri Martin, a passionate and experienced advocate in this area who is willing to serve our members and direct our officer wellness efforts,” Yoes said.
The FOP National Officer Wellness Committee is currently working on the development of a national database of culturally competent mental health providers for law enforcement professionals. In partnership with the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) within the U.S. Department of Justice, the Fraternal Order of Police has received funding for the development of a nationally standardized curriculum in law enforcement peer support. Based upon the survey research conducted by the FOP, peer support is viewed by enforcement officers as being the most effective intervention in times of crisis, despite over 90% of these officers feeling that there is a stigma against asking for help.
To that end, the FOP National Officer Wellness Committee is working to build a nationwide network of trained peer supporters that will enable an officer in crisis to find a peer anywhere in the country.
The FOP’s new Director for Officer Wellness, Sherri Martin, is a career police officer, Sherri has extensive experience in crisis negotiation and intervention; serving most of her law enforcement career as a patrol supervisor and lead crisis negotiator. While a member of the Charleston Police Department in South Carolina, where she served the bulk of her career, she was responsible for the development of programs in the areas of officer wellness and crisis intervention within the community.
Additionally, Sherri has experience in clinical therapy, and worked with clients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Clinical Depression. Sherri also led the Fraternal Order of Police National Officer Wellness Committee in a landmark survey of police officers on the subjects of critical stress, stigma, and use of wellness services. Sherri is a member of the National Consortium on the Prevention of Police Suicide and has served as a contributor at various symposia on officer wellness and police suicide.
In addition, the Colorado FOP is proud to have two of it’s finest serving on the main National Wellness Committee. Our State FOP Executive Director Mike Violette has been on the committee since its re-organizing in 2016. And this fall Longmont Police Sgt Sean Harper was appointed to the main committee. Sean has worked for three years as our legislative liaison and point man on all legislation at the state capitol involving PTSD and mental health wellness issues of first responders.
Please mark your calendars for January 30th and 31st as the National FOP and its Wellness Committee will be holding a two-day seminar (Wellness Summit) in Nashville, Tennessee. This will be an outstanding and long overdue educational/training event that every lodge will want to have members attend. The agenda, specific topics, and instructors are still being coordinated and worked on. Expect an announcement with full details from the National FOP in the very near future.