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AG Grewal announces $80,000 award to Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care to fund law enforcement resiliency efforts

NEW JERSEY – Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced Friday $80,000 in funding to Rutgers, University Behavioral Health Care (UBHC) to enhance resiliency efforts for law enforcement. UBHC provides crisis intervention services to law enforcement communities throughout the state through its COP2COP program. With this additional funding, COP2COP has initiated a new dedicated hotline.

“As we mark Peace Officers Memorial Day we recognize that perhaps now more than ever, our law enforcement officers need access to trained and supportive professionals to help manage not only the day to day stress of their careers, but the additional pressures that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Grewal said. “Throughout National Police Week we have paused to thank each and every New Jersey law enforcement officer for their service, let them know that we appreciate their personal and emotional sacrifices, and encourage them to take care of themselves and their families. We cannot say it enough – there is no stigma in asking for help.”

In August, 2019, Grewal announced the New Jersey Resiliency Program for Law Enforcement, a first-in-the-nation statewide resiliency program to promote the emotional and mental well-being of New Jersey law enforcement officers. Every law enforcement agency in the state has appointed at least one Resiliency Program Officer or “RPO” who is responsible for implementing the program in their agency. The program is designed to change a culture in which officers are often reluctant to seek help for work-related stress. The program fosters an environment that encourages officers to communicate with each other and with their families.

COP2COP provides confidential, 24/7 peer support, answers legal, financial, employment and relationship questions, offers clinical assessments, referrals to clinical network providers and stress management to officers and their families. COP2COP utilizes retired law enforcement officers and clinicians who are licensed mental health specialists and peer support counselors who are uniquely positioned to help front line law enforcement officers cope with the unique stressors of their job.

“The partnership between the New Jersey Resiliency Program and COP2COP offers an ideal combination of active officers sharing their resilience while being supported by professional peer counselors who have a shared lived experience,” said Cherie Castellano, Rutgers National Center for Peer Support Coordinator and COP2COP program director. “The partnership offers a foundation to work together to expand resilience training, crisis intervention, peer support and referral services to our officers. Since the COVID-19 crisis began we have created specialized services, virtual debriefing, and provided over 800 contacts between COP2COP peers and resiliency program officers to expand support.”

“We are committed to making sure that no officer suffers in silence. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and through the efforts of New Jersey’s Chief Resiliency Officer, Robert Czepiel, over 250 master resiliency trainers and resiliency program officers have been trained to help officers deal with the stress and trauma they endure and to train other officers to enhance the program,” Grewal said, “And, we could not ask for a better partner than COP2COP to provide a personal line of communication to officers and ensure that every single officer knows that help is available.”

As a result of the New Jersey Resiliency Program for Law Enforcement, COP2COP has seen a 70% increase in contacts since January 2020. Since the COVID-19 crisis began, they have received 677 RPO related calls with 31 of those being COVID-19 crisis related. The new dedicated phone line is specifically for New Jersey RPOs to receive additional support to assist their agency officers.

For more information and support call 1-866-267-2267 / 1-866-Cop-2-Cop.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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