(COLUMBUS, Ohio)— Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced today that 13 local first responder agencies will receive a total of nearly $1.7 million to help support the wellness needs of law enforcement officers, dispatchers, firefighters, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians (EMTs).
The grants represent the third round of the new Ohio First Responder Recruitment, Retention, and Resilience Program. To date, Governor DeWine has awarded $11 million to 58 Ohio agencies as part of this program.
“First responders see tragedies on a daily basis, so it’s essential that wellness support is easily accessible,” said Governor DeWine. “This funding will help our local agencies ensure that our first responders can get the emotional support they need any time they need it.”
A total of approximately $75 million will be awarded to law enforcement agencies, dispatch centers, fire departments, and emergency medical services agencies as part of this program in coming months.
Entities receiving grant funding as part of the third round of the Ohio First Responder Recruitment, Retention, and Resilience Program are as follows:
- Bainbridge Fire Department (Geauga County) will receive $264,436 for a comprehensive wellness, physical, and behavioral health program and for suicide prevention.
- Brunswick Division of Police (Medina County) will receive $51,200 for a comprehensive mental, emotional, and physical wellness program.
- Clearcreek Fire District (Warren County) will receive $338,452.73 to create a wellness coordinator position.
- Columbus Division of Police (Franklin County) will receive $227,486.04 to create a wellness position and to pay for overtime to cover shifts for officers who attend critical incident stress training.
- Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office will receive $190,963.36 to create a wellness office to provide peer support, to offer critical incident stress training, and to contract with a licensed clinical counselor to provide guidance to the peer support team.
- Delhi Township Fire Department (Hamilton County) will receive $31,200 for a yoga wellness program for fire and police personnel.
- Dublin Police Department (Franklin County) will receive $310,000 for annual wellness check-ups for sworn personnel and dispatchers, funding for additional mental health visits as needed, and advanced individual wellness training for personnel.
- Elyria Police Department (Lorain County) will receive $49,000 for a contract with a doctor to provide wellness training and counseling for personnel.
- Grove City Division of Police (Franklin County) will receive $104,000 to provide individualized and small group wellness checks and resilience training.
- Medina County Sheriff’s Office will receive $36,500 for annual clinician-officer wellness sessions and clinician consultation to assess individual wellness results.
- Solon Police Department (Cuyahoga County) will receive $33,250 for a wellness app and peer support training for first responders.
- Strongsville Police Department (Cuyahoga County) will receive $15,983.95 for a 40-hour first responder resiliency and peer support training course for five officers.
- Willard Police Department (Huron County) will receive $24,712.74 for annual wellness checks for first responders, crisis trauma counseling, a wellness app, and to hire a wellness coordinator for five hours per week.
The Ohio First Responder Recruitment, Retention, and Resilience Program is administered by the Ohio Emergency Management Agency. The program awards funding for initiatives that support wellness programs addressing mental, physical, and emotional health issues unique to first responders; recruitment and retention efforts to restore workforce levels; onboarding and training costs; and explorer programs to engage young adults about first responder careers. This funding includes approximately $1.3 million that was awarded to several statewide service providers in June.
The program is funded as part of the $250 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding that Governor DeWine and the Ohio General Assembly dedicated to first responders last year to help counter various pressing issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, including increased stress and decreased staffing levels.
Governor DeWine has also placed enhanced focus on the wellness of first responders through the creation of the Ohio Office of First Responder Wellness within the Ohio Department of Public Safety. The new statewide office focuses exclusively on the well-being of first responders and provides specialized support and training to help emergency-response agencies proactively address post-traumatic stress and other traumas caused by factors that are unique to first-responder careers.
Other assistance for first responders developed by Governor DeWine since taking office in 2019 includes the creation of the Ohio Narcotics Intelligence Center, Ohio School Safety Center, Ohio Office of Law Enforcement Recruitment, Ohio Prisoner Extradition Reimbursement Program, Ohio Body-Worn Camera Grant Program, Ohio Ballistics Testing Initiative, Ohio Crime Lab Efficiency Program, Ohio Violent Crime Reduction Grant Program, Ohio Court Backlog Reduction Program, Community Violence Prevention Grant Program, and the new eWarrant database.