LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- Comanche County Memorial Hospital, along with Aspire Hospice and Home Healthcare and Platt College put on a health fair for the Lawton Police Department in an effort to show that their support and concern for the health of our officers.
The "Back the Blue" Health Fair gave Lawton Police Officers the opportunity to be screened for things like blood pressure, A1C levels, PTSD, and much more.
The officers were also given tips on how to live a healthy lifestyle.
"I think it's very good that you get to see where your health is, and get a free checkout," Lawton Police Officer Richard Hackley.
Officer Richard Hackley has been with the department for 7 months now.
"I grew up here, and I know how Lawton is, and I just want to be able to help and give back to the community."
But to do that, Hackley, like the other officers needs to be in good health. This health fair was a great way for him to make sure everything is A-OK.
"They did tell me my blood pressure was a little high, so yes they asked me to do a follow-up."
Like Hackley, if an officer needs a follow-up appointment for something like blood pressure, they will see their primary doctor. But medical officer Dr. Richard Brittingham says if it deals with PTSD, he handles that.
"The suicide risk among police officers is 17 per 100,000 as opposed to 11 per 100,000 in the general population. So they are at a much higher risk, and someone needs to take care of them," Dr. Richard Brittingham, the LPD Medical Officer, explained.
With the mass shootings and ambushes of law enforcement in the last few years rising, Brittingham says it's a much more dangerous job nowadays.
"Now, not only are they under the stressors of enforcing the law, but they're also under the additional stress of being potential victims themselves of gunfire."
Brittingham says he and the officer will sit down and talk, so he can determine what that officer's risk is for self-harm or suicide.
"Police officers are generally not going to talk about it unless you kind of talk to them about it and initiate the conversation. Most people are going to keep that information to themselves."
Brittingham says the morale for police across the country has been low the past few years.
"There's not very much in terms of officers receiving public support. So, this is basically a support outlet for the Lawton Police Department."Brittingham says he hopes the officers feel the support when they come to health fairs like this one.... The basic message here, the people who are working on this project, they all have a t-shirt that says 'Back the Blue.' So, hoping that that message gets across. And I really do believe that it does. I think these officers really appreciate it."
In other health news, the 12th annual Spirit of Survival kicks-off on Saturday, September 30th with a new event-- a bike ride of different distances for the whole family to enjoy and then on Sunday, October 1st, run or walk in any of the five Spirit of Survival race events. For more information and to register, please visit spiritofsurvival.com.
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