The Law Enforcement Community around Rochester getting proper mental health support has become an essential task for a statewide non-profit specializing in helping first responders.  

Especially as two shootings this year involved off-duty officers having domestic disputes.  

This group is called the New York Law Enforcement Assistance Program and how they approach getting any first responder help starts with having them meet with a group of their own peers.  

Fellow first responders who are certified to counsel them to not cave into stress from being on duty boiling over into their personal lives.  

Although the motives of the investigations into the shootings involving an off-duty Greece Police Officer, 9-1-1 dispatcher, and Rochester Police Officer remain uncertain, NY LEAP specializes in guiding first responders to getting help with problems at home or relationship disputes. That can stop them from escalating.  

Despite needing to pass a mental health exam to be hired by any department, leaders with NY LEAP do not know many mandatory checkups officers must do throughout their careers. So, they want first responders to know that many options for help are available where you can be heard from colleagues. 

“We put on what is called post-critical incident seminars,” NY LEAP Vice President Matthew Carpenter said. “It’s a three-day seminar where officers can come, they get a taste of large group, small group kind of therapy. We’ll have them have at least an opportunity to have one or more one-on-one private time with a mental health clinician. We give them a lot of coping skills and different techniques. We cover it based on donations and such so officers and other first responders can come and be certified peers.”  

Although traumatic emergencies can impact a first responder overnight, Matthew Carpenter explained most cases build up over time as officers can experience dozens of smaller traumatic events a year. 

If you are a first responder or know of any in need of mental health support, direct helplines for NY LEAP can be found by clicking here.