Tempe police chief says meditation should be used by officers to 'reset'

Posted at 3:31 PM, Mar 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-23 23:46:01-04

There is a new push to put a different kind of weapon at a Valley police department. But, this one is all about defending them, not from a criminal, but from the very stresses of the job itself. 

That is why the Tempe Police Department is advocating for their officers to meditate. However, it is not as "hippy-dippy" as it may seem.

"There's this idea that Tempe police officers are sitting around in a circle on yoga mats...with incense and chimes," said Chief Sylvia Moir. "And that's not what we are experiencing at all." 

Instead, the officers in the department get an app on their phone and training from a specialist on the basics. After that, it is up to the individual officer if and how they use it. 

"Between calls for service, we're saying 'reset,'" Chief Moir said. "And enter the new call with a new fresh perspective." 

That way it is less likely for officers to be triggered or "take the bait," as Chief Moir described it.

And at a time when tensions are high between police officers and their communities it is more of a conversation now.

"For decades, we've been incorporating breathing into training," Chief Moir explained. "We used to just call it combat breathing and it was during crisis events, so we are expanding it."

The plan is to introduce it more into the academy and the rest of the force; starting officers off early with the tools they need to stay calm. 

But, above all, Chief Moir said they want their officers to be healthy people. 

"So, when they arrive home, hey're the mom, they're the dad, they're the wife or husband or brother or sister," Chief Moir said. "They are the human that is a police officer."