Australian Federal Police Commander Grant Edwards successfully pulled two New York City Police Department vehicles to help raise awareness for police officer mental wellness and suicide prevention today on Park Row outside NYPD headquarters. The two NYPD Emergency Service Unit vehicles, ESU Truck 1 and a BearCat, are a combined weight of nearly 70,000 pounds.
Commander Edwards, who was named Australia’s Strongest Man in 1999, views today’s event as a warm-up to the feat he will attempt later this month. On August 26th and 27th, he will attempt to pull a military cargo plane weighing more than 400,000 pounds at Dover Air Force base. His attempt at that is to once again raise awareness for officer mental wellness and diminish the stigma associated with it- especially in law enforcement.
“Seeking help is not a weakness- even the strongest among us may need help,” Commander Edwards said.
“My own personal experience has shown me we need to lift the stigma veil.”
The NYPD has a long-standing partnership with their Australian partners, the Australian Federal Police. An NYPD detective is currently stationed with the AFP in Sydney as part of the Department’s International Liaison Program.
In addition to sharing policing information, both the NYPD and the AFP also work jointly on police officer mental wellness and suicide prevention strategies. The law enforcement agencies share approaches to proactive outreach, best practices and the NYPD officials presented at the AFP’s Beyond The Badge Symposium in June. This event brought together more than 100 law enforcement officials from the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand to discuss ways to address police officer mental wellness and suicide prevention.
“Police officers across the country and world do a great job every day helping the public when they are in a crisis. Officers must not forget to also take care of themselves,” said NYPD Chief Thomas Galati, who helped coordinate the event.
“Police officers are human too, there is nothing wrong with seeking help. Help is available- they are not alone.”
The NYPD also promotes a public outreach campaign for mental wellness and suicide prevention through its @TalkToMe Twitter account letting the public know that you do not have to be a police expert to help someone in a crisis. As part of this outreach effort, the NYPD has collaborated with organizations including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Crisis Text Line.
Learn more about police officer suicide warning signs: www.NYPDnews.com/AreYouOk
If you are having thoughts of suicide, help is available. You have options and you are not alone. You can call the Life Line at 1-800-273-8255 or 911 for an emergency. You can also text “Talk” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741.
If you know someone who might be in a crisis, you do not have to be an expert to help them. Get tips here: www.NYPDnews.com/TalkToMe