Speakers Task Force on Racial Disparities holds discussion on officer wellness, mental health

GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Speakers Task Force on Racial Disparities met in-person at Lambeau Field on Thursday to discuss body cameras, use of force reporting and crisis intervention training.

Mike Crum, a representative from the Center for Suicide Awareness, spoke about the importance of officer wellness and resiliency. He said there have been 266 law enforcement deaths throughout the U.S. in 2020 alone.

According to Crum, 155 of those deaths were due to COVID-19 complications, while 42 have been from gun violence. The number that’s not included in the total is another 155 who have committed suicide.

“When we think about COVID, we are hopeful a vaccine will show up really soon. There is no vaccine for trauma, depression, anxiety, suicide. And when an officer who’s been on the job, whether it’s been 6 months or 10 years, that’s a lot of trauma to unpack,” Crum said.

He urged the group to consider the gaps in mental health resources for officers.

Green Bay’s mayor also mentioned the Packers are helping the police department purchase body cameras. Task Force Co-chair Rep. Jim Steineke said the Packers, Bucks and Brewers organizations have all been great partners in addressing Wisconsin’s racial disparities.