BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Often we call police for help, but many times we overlook that they may need help to deal with all the trying and sometimes horrific situations they are called to.
"Throughout the course of a month, police officers see more trauma, suffering and victimization than most people see in a lifetime and that stuff leaves a mark on officers," says Lieutenant Michael Myers of Buffalo State University Police.
Luckily, there is a helpline for police officers and their families to call for support.
Lt. Myers is one of 44 volunteers who serves as a peer to officers and their families by way of the police helpline.
"What we're trying to do is restore them back to health, keep them healthy and working on the job," Lt. Myers said.
The helpline has been around since 2008, and they've received over 300 calls.
"A relationship problem, stress at work, you get a hundred murder scenes -- it's going to have an effect on you," Lt. Myers said.
He also talked about the necessity of the helpline.
"Unfortunately when you're dealing with cops, they tend to only stick to their own; it's very difficult to get them to reach out outside the law enforcement community," he said.
But he says it's not a sign of weakness to get help.
"We have a list of people that we will provide referrals for, it might be doctors, social workers, licensed mental health therapists," Lt. Myers said. "These are people that we've met with and vetted."
In fact, he can personally relate. Years ago, he responded to a call of a baby not breathing.
"On the kitchen table was a little 2-week old baby," he recalls.
He also says: "It would trigger those memories, you know, of what I saw that day and it was a really uncomfortable situation performing CPR on a 2-week-old baby."
The helpline for those who protect and serve, as well as their families, is a not-for-profit organization, and donations are always accepted.
The number is 716-858-2677.
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