KNSS News

Ride 4 Relief Motorcycle Tour makes a stop in Wichita

June 26, 2019 - 2:07 pm

The Wichita Police Department took part in the Ride 4 Relief Motorcycle Tour, bringing awareness to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that affects first responders and military personnel across the United States.

This year, tour organizer Jeff Shepard will be stopping in 33 states to bring awareness to PTSD and how it affects first responders and soldiers. Additionally, his tour highlights how departments are nurturing the health and mental wellness of their first responders. On Wednesday morning, the tour made a stop in downtown Wichita at Veterans Memorial Park.

The WPD offers mental health services to its department members through the Critical Incident Stress Management team (CISM) and through Employee Assistance Programs (EMPAC). The purpose of the CISMT is to provide members of the department with a tool to alleviate stress-related symptoms through peer evaluation.  Selected members of the department are trained in the area of critical incident stress debriefing.

The motorcycle tour was started by Shepard in 2018 who is a former police officer and firefighter from the Seattle area. He was diagnosed with PTSD following critical incidents from his time on the police department. Shepard was shot at during a subject stop in July 2012. Nearly three years later someone threw an IED at him and his partner, seriously injuring him. After these incidents, Shepard realized that so many other police officers, soldiers, and first responders deal with PTSD.

Shepard, who was part of his department’s motorcycle unit, realized riding his motorcycle helped fight the issues with PTSD.  This led to the development of the first Ride 4 Relief last year.

 

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