When firefighters and police officers respond to calls, some of the situations they encounter are more difficult to process than others.
“You can imagine it, they see it and it’s bad,” said Tim Milligan, who is the chief of the Marietta Fire Department.
“Horrible car accidents. Suicides. Homicide scenes” said Marty Ferrell, who is the chief of the Marietta Police Department.
“Put yourself in an officer’s shoes, they go out and they see something traumatic and then immediately have to decompress from that and go right into the next call,” said Chuck McPhilamy, who is the public information officer of the Marietta Police Department.
Officers will soon have a place to decompress within the Marietta Police Department.
“To get away from what they’ve just experienced and make a decision. Are they really prepared to go on the road and respond?” said Ferrell.
A room within the police department will be converted into a wellness center. The room will have a massage chair, soothing sounds, and dim lighting. The walls will be painted in a color that promotes relaxation.
“It also has a special beat behind the scenes that you don’t really hear, but it’s scientifically proven to lower your heart rate, your respiration, your anxiety,” said Ferrell.
Marietta City Council approved funding to launch a Mental and Emotional Wellbeing Initiative for public safety employees, as well as to increase funding for the city’s Public Safety Training Center.
Each program is funded by Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds designated as Revenue Loss.
There is also a strong emphasis on mental health in the community.
On calls where someone is experiencing a mental health crisis, a clinician will assist police officers.
“My goal really is not to incarcerate people who are having a mental health breakdown. My goal is to get them the treatment they need,” said Ferrell.
The wellness room is scheduled to be finished in late December or early January 2023.