In 2017, the Southington Police Department adopted a new program named STARS (Start Talking About Rough Stuff). It is a Peer Support and Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) program lead by Sergeant Jeffrey Ward. In 2016, at his request, Sgt. Ward attended the CABLE (Connecticut Alliance to Benefit Law Enforcement) training, which is a thirty-five hour classroom training that teaches officers, dispatchers and other first responders about the significance of peer support. The class focuses on confidentiality, stress management and coping, suicide prevention and early intervention, active listening, and identifying mental health and substance abuse issues. In addition, peer support officers are trained to conduct CISM techniques taught by the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation. Following the training, Sgt. Ward presented his command staff with his ideas to implement a team in Southington.
With the strong support and approval of Chief Daly and Deputy Chief Palmieri, a team of seven was created after an intensive application and interview process. The team was sent to Peer Support, CISM, and Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training. As volunteer peer support officers, the team became highly skilled in providing assistance to their peers and also conducting Critical Incident Stress Debriefings (CISD) and Defusings.
In just three years, Southington Police have coordinated with the Hartford Regional and Connecticut State Police CISM teams to assist over twenty different agencies with regards to peer support, CISD’s or helping them begin their programs. Southington Police Department’s STARS Team has been awarded and recognized by organizations including; Believe 208 and the Connecticut Police Chief’s Association (CPCA).
Master Sergeant Steven Cifone
Sergeant Jeffrey Ward (Coordinator)
Sergeant Timothy Wilk
Officer Thomas Atterrato
Officer Kristin Pinsker
Officer Lauren Verab
Dispatcher Samantha Ruffino
National Suicide Prevention Line
~(800)-784-2433Employee Assistance Program (EAP)