Bulletin Staff Report

The Bend Police Department was recently recognized on the national stage for its novel approach to employee wellness.

Department officials attended a U.S. Department of Justice ceremony May 14 in Washington D.C., where they were given the DOJ’s 2018 Officer Wellness Award. The award was presented to Chief Jim Porter by Deputy U.S. Attorney General Steven Cook.

The prize is part of the DOJ’s Valor program.

Bend PD began expanding its wellness offerings in 2014, following the off-hours death of Sgt. John Lawrence due to an undiagnosed medical condition, according to a press release. Today it involves partnerships with various local service agencies, including mental health and sleep professionals. On-duty trainings today include mindfulness and yoga sessions.

Bend officers have held presentations about the department’s wellness program, including in 2018 at the International Law Enforcement Educators and Training Association. They held trainings locally for other public safety employees on “resilience and mindfulness.”

The wellness push resulted in a 40 percent drop in workplace injury claims and a 68 percent reduction in costs due to officer injuries, according to the release.