Cobb County

Marietta Police Department adding mental health room for officers

MARIETTA, Ga. — When firefighters and police officers respond to calls, some of the situations they encounter when they arrive at the scene are harder to process than others.

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“You can imagine it, they see it and it’s bad,” said Tim Milligan, who is the chief of the Marietta Fire Department.

“Horrible car accidents. Suicides. Homicide scenes,” said Marty Ferrell, who is the chief of the Marietta Police Department.

“Put yourself in an officer’s shoes, they go out and they see something traumatic and then immediately have to decompress from that and go right into the next call,” said Chuck McPhilamy, who is the public information officer of the Marietta Police Department.

But soon there will be a place inside of the Marietta Police Department that officers can use to decompress.

Channel 2′s Cobb County Bureau Chief Michele Newell was at the police department with an exclusive look at the room and how it will be used.

“To get away from what they’ve just experienced and make a decision. Are they really prepared to go on the road and respond?” said Ferrell.

A room inside of the police department will be transformed into a wellness room. The room will be equipped with a massage chair, soothing sounds and low lighting. The walls will be painted with a color that promotes a calm environment.

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“It also has a special beat behind the scenes that you don’t really hear, but it’s scientifically proven to lower your heart rate, your respiration, your anxiety,” said Ferrell.

The City of Marietta approved funding to launch a Mental and Emotional Wellbeing Initiative for public safety employees and invest more funds into the city’s Public Safety Training Center.

The funding for each program is from Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds designated as Revenue Loss.

The Mental and Emotional Wellbeing initiative is spearheaded by Ferrell and Milligan.

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There is also a major focus on mental health within the community.

A clinician will assist police officers on calls where someone may be experiencing a mental health crisis.

“My goal really is not to incarcerate people who are having a mental health breakdown. My goal is to get them the treatment they need,” said Ferrell.

The wellness room is expected to be complete in late December or January 2023.

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