New support team available for Vanderburgh Co. deputies - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

New support team available for Vanderburgh Co. deputies

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VANDERBURGH CO., IN (WFIE) -

Law enforcement officers see all sorts of traumatic events. Now, the Vanderburgh county Sheriff's Office is fighting against critical incident stress with its peer support team. 

The idea for the team came after two deputies were involved in a shooting in late 2012. They were approached by the Evansville Police Peer Support Team following that incident.

Deputy Tony Toopes, who was involved in the shooting, pitched the idea of starting their own team to Sheriff Eric Williams.

Toopes says the mental health of deputies is just as important as their driving or firearm skills.

"One of the elements in law enforcement that is largely overlooked is the mental health of our officers. This peer support team will assist those officers in that aspect, keeping them mentally healthy, mentally ready for the job," Toopes says.

The peer support team is available at any time for any deputy who may need it.

While the team is only a month old, they've already been contacted to help start teams with the EMS and fire departments in the county.

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