The lifestyle and culture of police and public safety work impacts more than just the employee.
Spouses, partners, parents, and children of those serving in a public safety or emergency service role play an important part, serving as an essential support system to the employee. These individuals also need support themselves to respond to the unique challenges they and their loved one face on and off the job.
When employees feel that their family needs are met, their wellness, and ability to do their job improves.
What your department can do
Departments can offer family in-services that can focus on a number of factors. This may include helping children understand the job and demands of being a police officer or firefighter, financial planning and budget basics for the family, offering fun family events such as a new employee night, department game or movie nights, department family picnic in the park event, or take your child to work day event.
Departments could research and develop a library of materials for families and develop a family resource center.
Another important program that could be implemented is a public safety family support group. Families of a law enforcement officer or firefighter can find benefit from communicating with peers who understand the unique challenges of a career in the public safety or emergency service field. A support group can help build connections and provide resources for family members and friends.
Your next step
The International Association of Chiefs of Police has a customizable guide available for use in your department.