Full-time wellness officer now in place in the Marietta Police Department in Georgia

MARIETTA, GA - The Marietta Police Department (MPD) has become one of only a few police departments in the nation to have a full-time wellness officer.

Law enforcement officers have more difficult jobs than most people can fathom. Experiencing traumatic incidents more often than many of us know. The Marietta Police Department now “has a dedicated officer to help fellow officers cope,” FOX 5 Atlanta reported.

A wellness room is already in place at MPD for officers to go to decompress after their shift. The addition of a full-time wellness officer is another resource for the officers to utilize to take care of their mental health.

The officer assigned to the position is veteran officer Jonnie Moeller-Reed. In her nearly 24 years with the agency, she served 10 of those years with the Homicide and Crimes Against Persons unit as a detective.

“It took its toll, and I realized if I’m struggling, there are other people out there struggling too,” Officer Moeller-Reed said. “Officers go through critical incidents, traumatic experiences. If not dealt with properly, it can have lasting effects on their personal lives, on their careers."

Along with heading up MPD’s peer-to-peer team, which is comprised of eight officers including a crisis response K-9 named Barney, Moeller-Reed also holds a master’s degree in forensic psychology with an emphasis on law enforcement. Thus, adding to her extensive qualifications for this role.

“I’m a full-time dedicated liaison for anyone in the department that is in need of support,” Moeller-Reed said. If none of the currently available resources within the department work for an officer, she noted that the department also has community resources that can be called upon.

Officer Moeller-Reed said that she is grateful that the chief and command staff are recognizing the importance of offering this additional mental health support to the department’s officers.

In her nearly 24-year career Moeller-Reed says that she “has seen too many officers leave police work because the stress has been debilitating.” She acknowledges that many times officers do not want to admit that they are struggling. Officer Moeller-Reed is committed to challenging that mindset and making sure that officers know that it is okay to ask for help.

“They’re going to be happier and healthier for their families, for the public. It’s a win-win for everybody,” she said.
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