Recommendations for Mid-Level Supervisors

The Linchpins of Safety and Wellness

This guide defines Sergeants and Corporals as mid-level supervisors. The individuals who occupy these ranks are especially crucial to the overall formula for officer safety and wellness. Mid-level supervisors are the intermediary between frontline officers and executive leadership; you are the pass through for communications regarding overall organizational health, the foremost needs of your officers, and requests which might help alleviate some of the stresses that your officers face daily. Aside from being required to effectively advocate for your officers, mid-level supervisors should also not only talk the talk but also walk the walk when it comes to health and wellness.

As a supervisor, you should lead by example and put a premium on your own health and wellness. Your attitude can also communicate that there’s no stigma associated with seeking assistance when needed. Check in with your officers constantly, and ensure they are getting the support they need. Emphasize the need to take action in fostering one’s own physical and mental wellness. The support system that you regularly provide your officers as a mid-level supervisor needs to be put into overdrive during difficult times. Perhaps it would be helpful to share this guide and its resources with your officers to provide information and to open the door for communication, dialogue, and reflection.

Other ways you can serve as a good example in health and wellness are to:

Supporting Your Officers' Health and Wellness in Times of High Stress

During these uncertain times, it’s important to acknowledge that stressors exist. You and other law enforcement leadership must promote an atmosphere where officers feel they can speak to a supervisor, a peer support team member, or a provider through the department’s employee assistance program. The only mistakes you can’t fix are the ones you don’t know about. As a leader, you should encourage everyone to take their time off when it is available and to reach out for help if and when they need it. 

Recognizing Signs of Stress in Yourself or Your Officers

Remind your officers there is strength in recognizing and admitting they need help; there is courage in seeking out that help. However, it is also important for public safety “families” to take care of each other. This not only means supporting one another, but also pointing out and acknowledging changing and/or risky behavior in your fellow officers. If you notice an officer in need of help, talk with them. As a leader to your officers, you should be able to pull them aside and check in. Provide opportunities for dialogue by saying things like:
As always, encourage your officers to seek assistance, but if they seem unwilling, offer to look into resources for them, and offer to be there with them when reaching out for services. If you feel comfortable doing so, share an instance where you needed help and sought it out, and give an example of how it helped you address some of the stress you had been experiencing prior. Your officers look to you not only for orders but also for examples, answers, and advice; letting them know they are not alone and that you’re there to help them can go a long way.

Preparing for Physical and Mental Wellness in the Fray

There are multiple things that you, as mid-level supervisors, can do for your officers prior to and during an event to set them up for success in terms of safety and wellness:52

Sudden Changes in Behavior

There are several indicators to look for when determining whether one of your officers may need assistance. These behaviors should not be ignored and could mean something is wrong:53