Tippecanoe County Sheriff candidate Bob Goldsmith pushed Thursday for a mental health program for first responders in his first appearance since his candidacy was confirmed.
Goldsmith has worked in the sheriff’s department for 19 years and says many officers struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, but are taught to compartmentalize those feelings.
“We need to have an outlet for them, because a lot of times those same officers can become broken as well, and we need to be there for them,” Goldsmith says. “They turn to drugs, they turn to alcohol, they have marriage issues, financial issues – and we need to recognize those things.”
Goldsmith says the program is inspired in part by one in place at the Boone County Sheriff’s Department. There, the department has a mental health consultant and gets help from the Indiana State Police stress management team.
Goldsmith says he’s already spoken to a representative of Sycamore Springs treatment center, where there’s an existing PTSD-focused program. He says even if he’s not elected in November, he wants to spread awareness.
“There’s not going to be a stigma attached to it. I’m not here to judge them. None of us in the agency should be judging anyone. That’s not our job,” Goldsmith says. “We should be there to help each other, and that’s what I want to do.”
To pay for the program, Goldsmith says he’d try to re-allocate department funds before asking for any additional money.