The Prince Albert Police Service is investing in the mental health of its frontline officers and staff.

The force’s $100,000 wellness strategy includes the addition of a psychotherapist, social worker and therapy dog.

Police Chief Jon Bergen said a healthy police force means a healthy community.

“As a police service investing in all of our staff, not just our sworn police officers, and making sure we are keeping them healthy with preventative programming,” he said. “Managing and coping techniques are an investment in the police service. This is led by our priorities which includes a healthy community and a healthy community for us starts in the police service.”

Bergen added Prince Albert is a busy detachment with its fair share of mentally stressful calls.

“The calls for service that we’ve responded to in the last year, measured at over 40,000 calls, some of these calls for service included scenes of violence that would weigh in on everybody. And a police officer is a part of our community as well.”

The wellness strategy was rolled out earlier this summer by Nicola Sherwin-Roller, a psychotherapist and certified Canadian counsellor with extensive training in trauma and holistic health.

She is joined by social worker Sherry LaFaver who has more than two decades of experience working with RCMP members and other agencies.

Lafaver is the only facilitator working in Saskatchewan and Manitoba with specialty training in trauma-informed movement which she received from the Boston Trauma Centre.

Mr. Blue, a four-year-old Labradoodle, rounds out the team to help officers and staff deal with traumatic incidents and prevent occupational stress injuries.

The strategy also includes an online speaker series featuring mental health advocates in the policing field and programming on the importance of nutrition and fitness as it relates to mental health.

Bergen said the wellness strategy will be reassessed at the end of the year.

(PHOTO: Prince Albert Police Chief Jon Bergen. File photo.)