SALT LAKE CITY — In the interest of serving the women and men of the Salt Lake City Police Department, Chief Mike Brown has appointed a Department Health and Safety Officer and a Department Wellness Officer. The programs will serve the employees during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic to address their physical safety and mental health.
“The health and wellness of law enforcement officers and civilians is essential to public safety,” said Chief Brown. “We are establishing these dedicated units at the Salt Lake City Police Department with the goal of promoting a department-wide culture of safety and wellness, providing support and services when they are needed, and keeping the department healthy.”
Department Health and Safety Officer:
Officer M. Ditolla, has 20 years in public safety, as well as a PhD in Health Education with an emphasis in Emergency Medical Services and relevant coursework in epidemiology and emergency management. Ditolla is working with other employees to create best practices for the employees of the Department, including establishing base-line personal protective equipment use policies and procedures for police officers responding to calls for service. Other procedures enacted by the Health and Safety team include building a decontamination station for exposed officers, implementing current best-practices for minimizing exposure, and working closely with subject matter experts at the city, county, state, and University of Utah to ensure the Department is ready for any contingency.
“The Health and Safety Team is dedicated to ensuring the best continuity of operations possible for Salt Lake City Police Department to serve the City through this emergency and beyond,” Officer Ditolla said. “We are laser focused on working with the experts to implement the most effective practices to give our employees the safest and healthiest work environment while still responding to our community.”
Department Wellness Officer:
Officer D. Pyles, who has 14 years in law enforcement and program management, is working along with 22 other employees (civilians, officers, lieutenants, sergeants) to manage the robust peer support program. The team is focusing on keeping daily contact with current self-quarantined employees, bring supplies to families, provide mental health resources, and keep employees informed of current information. Additionally, the wellness team is creating contingency plans to address when there are multiple confirmed cases within the Department.
“We are here to provide the best communication and access to resources to make sure we are prepared for the worst-case scenario,” Officer Pyles said. “We want to ensure our employees and their families are tended to throughout the pandemic using video calls and any other virtual contact we can to check on our people.”