SAUK RAPIDS (WJON News) -- The Sauk Rapids police department is starting its second year of a Police Officer Wellness and Safety program.

The city has approved a contract for the year with Sunrise Wellness, a mental health professional service provider.

Chief Perry Beise says each year every officer in the department is required to meet with one of their councilors for one hour.

There are a lot of horrific things that happen that police officers go to, the deaths of children, suicide, and terrible accidents.  We don't get to see people at their best, we go into their homes when they are fighting with each other and we change people's lives, we arrest people, that's kind of a heavy burden.

Beise says this year they are adding a peer counseling element.

The police officers and my staff will pick out people that they trust within the department, and when they are having an issue they can pick up the phone and call someone within our agency whom they are comfortable talking with.

Beise says officers tend to bring the stresses of their job home with them which oftentimes leads to a higher divorce rate and alcohol abuse.

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Beise says the officers can meet with the councilors more often if they choose to. In 2015 the President's Task Force on 21st-Century Policing one of the six pillars it focused on was mental health.

Sauk Rapids has 18 sworn officers and two support staff. Chief Beise is in his 15th year as the Sauk Rapids Police Chief.

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