A Wellness Summit is currently being hosted by the Department of the US Airforce Office of Special Investigations via Zoom for members of the Fiji Police Force targeting middle managers and frontline supervisors.

This follows discussions held on the margins of the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police Executive Leadership Team meeting held in Manly, Sydney in February.

In late August a virtual meeting was held with the Acting Commissioner of Police Rusiate Tudravu and the Commander of the United States Airforce Office of Special Investigations Region Six Colonel Vasava Tilo where a request was made for assistance with specialized counselling services for members of the Fiji Police Force.

The session is being conducted in two locations in Suva and Lautoka with expert facilitators and psychologists from the Behavioral Science Division Office of the Special Investigations joining in from Hawaii, Atlanta, Georgia and Quantico in Washington.

The United States Ambassador to Fiji His Excellency Joseph Cella in his message to the participants said the presence of the United States Airforce Office of Special Investigation at the Wellness Summit reflects their roots with Fiji.

“It is a beautiful manifestation of this historic and enduring partnership between our republics and an extension of all the great work our regional security office does at the US embassy in Suva”.

“The unseen enemy of police is stress resulting in higher rates of heart disease, divorce, sick days taken, alcohol abuse and other major psychological illnesses such as acute stress, disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and other anxiety disorders”.

Ambassador Cella acknowledged the move by the Fiji Police Force to actively address what he terms as the hidden enemy to Policing efforts.

“To the leadership of the Fiji Police thank you for your exemplary leadership in seeking out ways to combat this invisible multi-faceted enemy”.

“We hope the summit will provide you the tools or weapons to defeat this existential threat to the wellness of the Fiji Police Force”.

Fiji’s Chief of Intelligence and Investigations Assistant Commissioner of Police Biu Matavou conveyed the Fiji Police Force’s appreciation to the United States Government for convening the summit a month after discussions were held.

“We really appreciate the opportunity to be part of this important summit and come together as law enforcement agencies to address issues that are a challenge to all law enforcement agencies”.

The Wellness Summit will cover issues such as the hidden costs of law enforcement, the presentation on Neuropsychology of trauma exposed work, strategies to mitigate stress response, law enforcement resilience from the perspective of Agents and Psychologists with a focus on stress management and incorporating resilience in trauma exposed workplace.

Experts joining in from Hawaii, Atlanta, Georgia and Quantico in Washington are psychologists with years of experience and have worked with both the US Army and Navy as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

The summit ends this afternoon.

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