The national law enforcement advocacy group Blue H.E.L.P., which supports resources for the often unmentioned mental health status of our police, is taking their mission mobile through the creation of a smart device app. The jump to a portable version of their web services comes with help from Crowdsourced Geofencing Solutions, better known as the creator of The See Something, Send Something app.
A somber number is 159. That’s how many first responders we lost to suicide in 2018. At least that’s the number verified by Blue H.E.L.P., an organization led by founder Karen Solomon. Their mission, according to their website, is to reduce mental health stigma through education, advocate for benefits for those suffering from post-traumatic stress, acknowledge the service and sacrifice of law enforcement officers we lost to suicide, assist officers in their search for healing and bring awareness to suicide and mental health issues.
Karen’s interest in preventing these tragedies is close to the heart. She’s been married to a police officer for 16 years. Solomon and her seven highly decorated board members use the acronym H.E.L.P. (Honor, Educate, Lead and Prevent) to address mental health through their 501(c)(3) and a website that provides reporting, educational opportunities and searchable resources.
Solomon takes her passion for this project to social media with LinkedIn posts reminding other professionals that this is real, that there are officers struggling and that families feel left behind when an officer takes their own life. One of those posts, a three-minute interview that included a very emotional recount from an officer’s widow, reached retired law enforcement officer turned CEO and app creator Kevin Angell.
“We can’t leave the families [of officers] behind” was the statement Angell heard interviewee Tim Barfield of the Wellington Police Department say in the video Solomon posted to LinkedIn. Those words stayed with him all day as he thought about his service and assignments on the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard. “We took great care of the families whose loved one died in the line of duty. Sadly, the stigma of an officer suicide often left us disconnected from their family. Looking back, I wish I had done more,” said Angell.
“Maybe it’s not too late,” he thought while sending a message to Solomon asking how he could help. A few exchanges and one phone call later, Solomon and Angell were discussing an idea to move their mission to mobile devices in the form of a free app.
Angell, whose veteran-owned company Crowdsourced Geofencing Solutions created “The See Something, Send Something app” which is used nationally by law enforcement, plans to take the power of the Blue H.E.L.P. website and make it downloadable on the iOS and Android platforms. With Solomon’s help and her team of experienced board members, the reporting process, as well as educational opportunities and resources, will be transformed into a real-time smart device tool.
Angell has personally donated one-quarter of the estimated costs toward launching the app in early 2019. With Solomon’s help, they are continuing to work on grant funding, law enforcement vendor in-app advertising dollars and community contributions to secure the remainder of the funds needed to finish development, host and market the app to police.
To donate to the non-profit organization Blue H.E.L.P., contact Karen Solomon at [email protected].
To get pre-release in-app advertising pricing, contact Kevin Angell at 833-4CGS-LLC or email [email protected].