Orlando officers embrace new law enforcement mental health act

By Bailey Myers, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, January 12, 2018, 6:22 PM EST

This week, President Donald Trump signed the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act.

  • President Trump passes law enforcement mental health act
  • Wounded Officer Initiative provides peer counseling, support
  • Initiative hopes new act will encourage officers to seek help

The Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act of 2017 will study the effectiveness of hotlines like the ones found through the Wounded Officers Initiative and also fund peer mentoring pilot programs within local law enforcement agencies.

Already, the Wounded Officer Initiative in Orlando provides peer counseling and support for officers dealing with physical and mental wounds.

“Each scene scars us. Each scene is imprinted in our minds and we will take that with us forever. How we deal with it is what is more important,” said President of the Wounded Officers Initiative Peter Hernandez.

The Wounded Officers Initiative started in 2014 helping officers who were physically harmed while on duty.

Following the Pulse Night Club Shooting, the Fiamma shooting and fellow officers’ deaths, the organization has helped 18 agents work through their program.

“There’s a definite change, and it’s for the positive. Officers are talking to each other. Wounded officers have their own peer support groups as a direct result of us,” Hernandez said.

Now he said he just hopes this new act will encourage more officers to seek help if they are in need.

“It’s our job to help. It’s our job to do the right thing,” Hernandez said.

You can reach the Wounded Officers Initiative at 407-499-5050.