Law Enforcement Experiences New Training

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Panama City A small Panama City based business is helping coach people with one of the toughest jobs in the world.

The idea is to help law enforcement officers cope with their stress.

It's called resilience training, and today law enforcement officers from Bay, Jackson and Gulf counties found out why it's important.

Bay County Sheriff's Deputy Joe Smiley was promoted to captain this month, but that doesn't mean he's completed his training.

"It helps us deal with stress," Capt. Smiley said. "We work in a stressed environment, so this class is really good for helping us learn to balance that stress and learn to deal with it."

Capt. Smiley is one of several dozen area officers working with the local company Human Performance Consultants for two days of training.

"They gonna walk away with specific tools they can actually use in their day-to-day lives," HPC Founder Ed Naggiar said. "That's going to help them be more resilient, more productive and, most importantly of all, happier."

The course focuses on what Naggiar calls resilience training. It's suppose to help people manage stress through physical, mental, emotional and spiritual outlets.

"It's right on the line with the things we see and do everyday and the stress that we have that we think no one understands," Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen, who also participated in the course, said.

"Their stress levels are constantly elevated, and they need to have coping techniques in order to deal with those stressful situations, because they're constantly under stress," Naggiar said.

McKeithen says it's helpful for officers to learn how to prevent stress and to challenge themselves under pressure.

"With the things we did this morning, some of the guys were ready to say, 'Wait'!" he said. "And other guys went out and said, 'Wait, you can do it'! So that's how it works."

McKeithen says he believes the program would be helpful to law enforcement officers across the state.

This is HPC's second program with local law enforcement officers. Department of Corrections went through a similar training earlier this year.