Our October meeting, held on World Mental Health Day, featured Columbus Division of Police speakers Cmdr Rhonda Grizzell and Sgt Chantay Boxill. The conversation was a frank discussion of the issues police officers face and the toll it can take on them. From January 1, 2016 through June 31, 2019, 578 law enforcement officers have committed suicide.* Twenty-one of those were in Ohio. As we've mentioned several times on our page, officers are more likely to die at their own hand than in the line of duty. We're proud that Columbus Division of Police has established the Wellness Bureau to care for our officers' mental health.
Part of the Wellness Bureau is the Therapy Dog Unit, which has five handlers and pups. We were treated to a visit from Sgt Boxill and Andy, a Golden Retriever, whose brothers Ollie and Lenny also serve in the unit. We learned last night that Columbus is home to the largest therapy dog unit in the country. These amazing animals and their handlers already have a number of duties--from helping victims of trauma to assisting officers through stressful times to bringing calm to chaotic areas.
Please mark your calendars for our next meeting, which will be on November 7 at 6:30pm at Panera Bread, 877 Bethel Rd., Columbus. Our speaker will be Ofc Jordan Smith (13 Pct). Ofc Smith will educate us about the Safe Streets program and policing on the South Side.
*Statistics provided by Blue Help.