FUQUAY-VARINA, N.C. (WNCN) – Fuquay-Varina Police Chief Brandon Medina knows the feeling.
“You have to take it upon yourself to reach out and say ‘hey, I need a timeout. I need break’,” he said.
He said he also knows the importance of checking in.
“We take a proactive approach, and we check on our officers every day and just have that interaction with them. Just to check to see how their mental status is,” Medina said.
This year, the Gun Violence Archive said more than a dozen officers have been shot in North Carolina.
Earlier this month, Wayne County Sergeant Matthew Fishman was killed while delivering involuntary commitment papers.
Late last month, Sampson County Deputy Caitlin Emanuel was shot while responding to a call for a stolen car.
Then there was last Thursday night.
Wake County Deputy Ned Byrd was shot and killed.
While the risk of danger in law enforcement is always present, Medina said the emotional support within his department is also there.
“We are establishing a chaplaincy program now. We have a good rapport with our local places of worship with all denominations,” Medina said.
It’s a program where faith leaders can be trained to provide mental health help to officers and their families.
“We also have a good relationship with the North Carolina Law Enforcement Assistant Program NC LEAP (North Carolina Law Enforcement Assistant Program). They have trained professionals to come in and debrief and provide counseling,” Medina said.
Medina’s advice to his officers and others who are struggling? Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
“You just got to figure a way out to address those feelings that you are feeling,” he said. “Trust your leadership. Go to them. 99.9 percent of the time we are going to get you the services that you need. We got to take care of our own.”
He also said there are resources they use within Wake County and the North Carolina and International Association of Police Chiefs.