Peer Support Program
The Metropolitan Police Department of Nashville and Davidson County has recognized the value of providing a way for law enforcement and correctional personnel and their family members to deal with personal and/or professional problems. A successful approach to this problem is to provide a program which offers a non-professional (peer) support program in addition to Police Advocacy Support Services (P.A.S.S.). The Peer Support Program is composed of a group of peers who have volunteered to make themselves available to any member of the department. This will provide a way for the employees to talk out personal and/or professional problems confidentially with someone who understands and cares.
Employees are the police department's most valuable resource. The Peer Support Program is here to help them continue to be a productive members of the department and community.
The Peer Support Program is a program that offers assistance and appropriate support resources to employees when personal or professional problems negatively affect their work performance, family unit or self.
This program is designed to:
- Provide emotional support during and after times of personal or professional crisis to other employees and their family members who express a need for assistance.
- Develop peer supporters who can identify personal conflicts and provide guidance or referral to professional/alternate resources as required.
- Maintain an effective peer supporter training and response program.
- Support those who have had family tragedies.
- Support those who are ill or injured in the line of duty.
Role of Peer Supporters
The peer supporter responsibilities are as follows:
- Convey trust, anonymity, and assure confidentiality within guidelines to employees who seek assistance from the Peer Support Program.
- Provide assistance and support on a voluntary basis.
- Assist the employee by referring him/her to the appropriate outside resource when necessary.
- Be available to the individual for additional follow up support.
- Maintain contact with the Program Coordinator regarding program activities.
- Attend the Peer Support 5 day training.
- Attend annual quarterly 8 hours of updated training provided by the Behavioral Health Services Division.
*The Peer Supporter is NOT exempt from federal, state and local laws, or rules and regulations of the Department.
Role of the Behavioral Health Services Division and Peer Support Advisory Committee:
The division sets policy regarding the operation and future direction of the program, subject to review and approval by the Chief of Police.
An advisory committee provides program guidance and direction. Members of the advisory committee are selected by current peer supporters, except those from the BHS Division. Three Peer Support Advisory Committee members are selected by the Peer Supporters. Other members consist of representatives from:
- Police Advocacy Support Services
- Peer Support Program
- Behavioral Health Services Manager
- Department’s Personnel/Human Resources Division
- Nationsl Black Police Association
- Fraternal Order of Police
- Police Civilian Association
Peer Support Selection Process:
To volunteer as a peer supporter, employees must be nominated by their peers, submit to interviews and, if selected, submit a request to serve through their chain of command to the Behavioral Health Services Division Manager.
The BHS Manager will recommend the candidates suited for appointment to the Chief of Police for final approval.
Any employees may seek support from any of the peer supporters and do not have to stay within their work groups.
Peer Support Training Program:
Initially, peer supporters attend a weeklong training. The major emphasis focuses on skill development for conduction peer assistance.
Follow-up training and workshops are scheduled to enhance problem solving skills, provide group sharing, and allow an exchange of experiences. There is also a mandatory 32 hours of updated Peer Support training offered quarterly in eight-hour intervals each year.
The acceptance and success of you being in the Peer Support Program will be determined, in part, by observance of confidentiality. It is imperative that each peer supporter maintain strict confidentiality of all information learned about an individual within the guidelines of this program.
The policy of the Departments Peer Support Program is to maintain confidentiality. Communication between the peer supporter and a person is considered confidential except for matters which involve the following:
- Danger to self
- Danger to others
- Suspected child abuse
- Narcotic offenses
- Domestic Violence
- Factual elderly abuse
- In cases where law requires divulgence
- Where the peer requests divulgence and a signed release of information is obtained from the peer indicating what information is to be given and to whom.
A general principle for peer supporters follow is to inform the person, prior to their discussion, what the limitations and expectations are regarding the information reveled. In cases where a question or any question regarding confidentially arises, the peer supporter must immediately contact the Behavioral Health Services Division Manager or P.A.S.S. supervisor who will decide on appropriate action or contact the program coordinator.