INDIANAPOLIS - Indianapolis Metro Police executives are considering an Alcoholics Anonymous program for officers following a recent string of alcohol-related arrests on the force.
The plan is still in its early stages, but Thursday's announcement is a bold first step for IMPD.
According to a national study, 25-percent of police officers have addictions or issues with alcohol, RTV6's Jack Rinehart reported.
As a result, officers have higher rates of suicide, instances of domestic violence, depression and heart disease than the general population.
Dennis Bender, executive director of the Progress House, a residential alcohol treatment facility, says police officers, perhaps more than the general public, need help confronting substance abuse.
"You know the buddy system. If I don't say anything…but in reality, not saying something is only feeding their addiction. In the context of a support group, that's how folks get better and that puts them on a path to recovery," Bender said.
In 1996, the Department of Public Safety instituted a policy of alcohol and drug testing.
In the past year alone, six IMPD officers have been arrested for driving while intoxicated, including Kevin Brown , who's been arrested twice in eleven months for drunk driving.
The Indianapolis Fire Department doesn't have an Alcoholics Anonymous program, but it does have a system of peer support, said IFD Local 416 President Mike Reeves.
"We instruct our company officers to be on the lookout for people coming in late, not doing their job. No one is forced into programs but we try to look out for ourselves," Reeves said.
Law enforcement could be one of the most difficult groups to reach with intervention because there is a stigma of weakness or the fear of impact on a career or promotion.
Fire destroys Muncie flea market
A store in Muncie was destroyed in a fire early Sunday, dispatchers in Delaware County said.
StormTeam 6 Action: Wintry mix to fall Sunday
It's a StormTeam 6 Action Day as Hoosiers brace for widespread weekend snow.
Kings snap losing streak to beat Pacers 99-94
The Sacramento Kings used free throws to survive a cold start until their shooting heated up and they put an end to their eight-game losing skid.
Hoosiers, Indy Snow Force prep for wintry roads
Indy Snow Force went to work Saturday night preparing the city for a possible heavy blanketing of snow Sunday.
Suspect arrested in shooting death of Indy teen
Indianapolis police said Saturday they had arrested a suspect in the fatal shooting of a 13-year-old boy.
IACC offers 'Deflate-Gate' dog adoption deal
Indianapolis Animal Care and Control had a little fun with the Deflate-Gate controversy on Super Bowl weekend – offering discounted dog…