Local News

The weight of a small, shining badge can be a heavy burden, even for the very strongest of law enforcement officers.

The risk of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is five times higher in police officers and firefighters than in the civilian population, according to the nonprofit H.E.L.P., with 159 officers taking their own lives in 2018.

In light of those numbers, and also of recent tragedy in the local law enforcement community, the Montpelier Police Department, police reserves and the Village of Montpelier are set to host a special seminar called “Dying in Blue.” Groveport Police Chief Ralph Portier will be the featured speaker at the event, which will be held at the Quality Inn and Suites in Holiday City, in two sessions.

“We often want to dismiss the need to talk about such a topic as it’s uncomfortable,” stated a news release from the Montpelier Police Department. “However, it is more important today to talk about and have somewhat of an understanding.”

While its main audience is public servants, who will gain a better understanding of topics like officer stress, officer-related suicide and prevention, the event is open to all who wish to attend.

“Officers are exposed to severe pressures and horrific scenes that often lead to mental health struggles, which often go untreated,” stated a news release for the program.

“We are encouraging all Williams County law enforcement officers, their spouses, firefighters, EMS personnel, dispatcher, county elected officials, township trustees, municipal council representatives, mayors and town managers to attend this free seminar.”

The first of two sessions will take place on from 9-11:30 a.m., with the second from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., both on Aug. 7.

Secure a spot at signup.com/go/tggFWVa. Seats are limited.

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