KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The line-of-duty death of North Kansas City police officer Daniel Vasquez on Tuesday has served as a reminder of the importance of mental health as the community mourns his passing.
The Lenexa Police Department has a peer support group to help fellow officers out when they need to talk.
"One of the goals that we have when we create our team is to make sure that there's someone on the team who would be approachable by any member of the department. We want to make sure that you know our dispatchers or station officers or animal control officers all have someone that they would be comfortable coming to talk to," Lenexa Police Sgt. Jacy Thompson said.
Thompson is part of that peer support team, which gets training to be able to be on the team and handle intense conversations.
She said sometimes being able to have a conversation with another officer makes talking easier for some.
"This is an abnormal situation, even though it's happened, you know, several times over the last years, and each one is unique and in tragic when it happens still isn't normal," Thompson said. "When it happens and so everyone responds differently, and so I think just being vulnerable and allowing people to just kind of express how they're feeling and just know this pregnancy different how that how their co workers are feeling it."
The department also has another way to support their officers and community members — a new K-9.
The Goldendoodle is named Officer Lexi Blue. She serves as a comfort dog for fellow officers and the city of Lexena.
She will put her best paw forward working with crime victims and victims of traumatic events, while also taking part in education visits and community functions, the department said in a Facebook post.