Wheeling Police Officers are coming together to focus on their mental health, after responding to a traumatic incident last week.
When a former police officer opened fire on the Federal Courthouse in broad daylight last Wednesday, those officers were some of the first on the scene.
Plenty of training goes into preparing officers to respond to incidents like that one, and Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger said that putting an equal amount of focus into their mental health is just as important.
Officers took part in a voluntary Critical Incident Stress Debrief on Monday.
The peer support helps the officers talk about what they are going through and learn what others are going through too, according to Sgt. Don Miller, a Prevention Resource Officer at Bridge Street Middle School. Miller was put in charge of coordinating the debrief.
"There's not too many jobs outside in the professional area that may entail taking of someone's life," Miller said. "Any type of assistance that we can provide, in regards to mental health issues and support, is only beneficial to those officers."
Chief Schwertfeger said talking about the issues brings his officers closer together.
It also gives them some insight into how the stress they've experienced may effect their personal lives, Miller added.
Other responding agencies were invited to attend the session as well.