Floyd County Sheriff’s Office

The Floyd County Sheriff’s Office has started up a new program for employees’ emotional health and well-being.

“It’s actually for all agencies: county police, E-911, metro drug task force,” FCSO Sgt. Anthony Cromer said. “Chaplain Thornton really services all of our local agencies.”

Chaplain David Thornton spearheads the program, which he also oversees in 13 other counties around Northwest Georgia. The purpose of the program is to ensure the mental health and emotional well-being of law enforcement officers as they deal with some of the stressors of the job, such as witnessing traumatic events.

The program starts with a mandatory emotional survival for law enforcement class. All personnel must take the two-hour course once a year. It teaches people how to look for signs of stressors or officers feeling overwhelmed.

“There’s a lot of different things we deal with in law enforcement and they’re not always easy to process,” Cromer said.

If an employee begins feeling overwhelmed, they can contact a counselor through the program and be set up with three counseling sessions, free of charge. If the employee needs more, the county insurance will cover it.

“This is done in conjunction with our human resources department,” Cromer said.

The program has been in effect for about a year already and a few of the employees have already taken advantage of the counseling sessions, according to Thornton. In the last four classes he’s taught, 50 out of the 72 participants expressed their appreciation for the program.

Cromer described the national suicide numbers for law enforcement as “staggering” and while there hasn’t been a suicide in the county’s law enforcement for several years, they hope this program will help officers before they reach that point.

“When we can have public gatherings again regularly and we don’t have to worry about coronavirus concerns, we’re going to offer this class to not only public safety employees, but to our families,” he said. “It’ll help them grasp the kinds of things we deal with a little better.”

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