To the editor:
With the likely adoption of some form of public police review board, I want to address that while abuses of the laws by police are important to address, getting therapeutic support for police officers is just as critical an element necessary to balance out consequence with support.
Even the best police officers are exposed to stresses on a daily basis that many members of the public do not have the personal experience of dealing with.
While I am not a police officer, rather just an advocate for everyone’s access to therapeutic healthcare, I have shared moments with police officers when I was working at a hypothermia shelter where I could empathize with the awesome responsibility of the mission of protecting and serving, while feeling completely unappreciated for my efforts.
Police officers are human beings just like the rest of us. And while that is no excuse to use excessive or unnecessary force ever, my hope is that with the convergence of public employees’ right to bargain for benefits and the adoption of a public police review board, some concessions are made that benefit the quality of services for all of us.
Specifically, I hope that a minimum of hour-long, bi-weekly therapy sessions are mandatory for all law enforcement officers, with as many as 40 free, hour-long therapy sessions available to every Alexandria police officer per year.
Punishment, like the stick, is only good after abuse. I support giving and requiring all Alexandria law enforcement officers access to psychological therapeutic support as the best carrot, to protect against negative interaction by any Alexandria police representative with the public.
-Henry Johnson, Alexandria