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Mental health app for cops, families

HANALEI — Kaua‘i Police Chief Todd Raybuck discussed a new tool for officers on Thursday while addressing the Rotary Club of Hanalei in a talk about “Policing with Aloha.” He talked about a phone app that could help promote mental wellness for police officers, should they take advantage of the opportunity.

While addressing the Rotary Club, Raybuck acknowledged the high-stress aspects of a job as a police officer, especially in the current atmosphere of police reform and protests against police brutality. He pointed out a 24-hour crisis hotline already provided to KPD officers, but said the new app — provided to officers and their families — provides the opportunity for a detailed check-in on mental health.

“They will have the ability to answer a survey on their phones to see if they’ve got depression, and any other symptoms,” said Raybuck. “Its confidential and it will have the capability to provide the officer with a list of providers and support.”

Using the new app is not a requirement for KPD officers, however.

Raybuck said he’s also committed to keeping a strong relationship between KPD and the community — pointing out events like ‘Coffee With A Cop’ that were put on pause during the pandemic and the ‘Police, Pastors and Pancakes’ breakfast that kicked off during the pandemic. Recently, KPD partnered with Puakea Golf Course and Grove Farm helped serve over 6,500 meals to island residents.

“I wanted their memories of the police department be caring for them, providing for them and helping them get through these difficult times,” said Raybuck. “A critical piece of that ‘Policing with Aloha’ is connecting with our community in a way where it’s not just about seeing us as the enforcers but we really want to be looked at as apart of the solution.”

Cracking down on illegal drugs on Kaua‘i is another major focus of the police department, Raybuck said, reminding listeners that drugs are an “equal opportunity destroyer” and acknowledging the prevalence of illegal drug use on the island.

“Our challenge here is that we don’t have the resources on this island to get people the services that they need,” said Raybuck. “ It continues to be a crisis.”

Raybuck closed his discussion with a humble request.

“When you see one of my police officers, it’s difficult for some of them to accept people’s gratitude,” said Raybuck. “Please show them an act of kindness, a wave, a shaka.”

He continued: “Our officers need to know that our community is willing to connect with them too.”

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Stephanie Shinno, features and community reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or sshinno@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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