BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KFSM) – Thursday, Jan. 9 is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day and that’s why one local non-profit is wanting to shed light on the services they provide to those men and women who keep us safe every day.
“Law enforcement has had a very hard year and Northwest Arkansas has had a very difficult month,” Mary Schulz said.
Schulz is the president of HEROES of NWA and a licensed therapist. She says while it’s nice to have a day dedicated to law enforcement, we need to appreciate them every day.
HEROES stands for: Helping Emergency Responders Overcome Everyday Struggles.
“We raise money to help first responders and their families in paying for co-pays and deductibles," Schulz said. "We want to ensure there isn’t a financial barrier in continuing to see mental health treatment. The second big thing we do is provide support for the families.”
Most cities provide first responders with around six visits to a therapist, so HEROES pays for the sessions after that.
Bentonville Police Sergeant Gene Page says the national average for a law enforcement officer's career is about three years, so they have to find a way to make that a lot longer.
“We’re seeing a lot of stress they are seeing early on and that’s only going to increase, even here in Northwest Arkansas," Page said. "It’s not that we have a crime problem, we have a population issue, where so many people are moving in and that’s a great thing, but when the population is growing also is the calls."
Schulz says first responders are out there serving us on our worst day.
“We need to be there for them as well, helping them access what they need to be able to not only continue to do the job their hearts are set in, but then also to be able to manage themselves at home,” she said.