Nearly 50 officers from throughout the New Orleans and Baton Rouge area attended basic critical incident stress management and peer support training August 3-4, 2022 at the Lloyd B. Johnson Law Enforcement Training Center in LaPlace.

Sheriff Mike Tregre arranged for the free training presented by the Southern Law Enforcement Foundation, a nonprofit group that works to bring together law enforcement officers, mental health professionals and chaplains to provide training in critical incident stress management.

NOPD Officer Chris Abbott and Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Scott led the training. Abbott serves as the NOPD’s peer support counselor, a job created by the NOPD as part of the 2012 federal consent decree to improve the department. Abbott counsel officers who have been injured, and he also helps officers in other crisis situations. Scott is the executive director of the Southern Law Enforcement Foundation.

The stress of a law enforcement career includes regular exposure to traumatic events and the pace of work can lead to an inability to process such experiences, Scott said. The foundation’s volunteers can help law enforcement officers restore balance and find emotional and spiritual pathways to heal from traumatic events.

Upon completion of the training, participants are certified as peer supporters who are available to help Louisiana law enforcement officers and their families in crisis.

Other officers who attended the training serve the Covington Police Department, Louisiana State Police, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, New Orleans Police Department, East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, St. John Fire Department, Bay St. Louis Police Department, St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Corrections Probation and Parole. Firefighters from the St. John Parish Fire Department also attended.