Document Type

Service Learning/Capstone Experience

Graduation Date

8-2018

Degree Name

Master of Public Health

First Committee Member

Dr. David Palm

Second Committee Member

Dr. Shinobu Watanabe-Galloway

Abstract

The service learning hours performed at the Kaukauna Police Department served as a valuable learning experience to better understand an organization that is involved in public health. Although some may view this as non-traditional, the police department is quite involved in the community’s health. They work closely with public health officials and are also involved in certain public health programs, such as drug and alcohol programs. The health of a police officer must also be considered as a public health topic. A police officer is part of a vulnerable population of individuals that are “first responders.” These individuals are at a greater risk for experiencing harmful stress while on the job. The service learning hours and capstone work for this project allowed me to look into the world of a police officer. It proved to be an invaluable experience to show just how intense the job is and ultimately, how the job can affect the mental health of the police officers. A mental health screening tool was distributed to all officers at the Kaukauna Police Department. This survey attempted to collect data on the mental health and wellbeing of the police officers. The goal for this project was to understand the current mental health status of the Kaukauna Police Department by conducting a mental health needs assessment. The information collected by this needs assessment was given to the superiors of the police department and from there, the department can decide if it is necessary to help their officers. The needs assessment also allowed for the officers to be able to reflect on their own mental health and acknowledge the importance of it for the safety of themselves and their community.

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