By Alyssa Schnugg
To help Oxford police officers be the best versions of themselves on and off the clock, the Oxford Police Department is using monthly podcasts to provide expert advice to all their officers on a variety of topics that have nothing to do with fighting crime.
A police officer in good mental and physical health not only makes them better on the job but prepares them for life after law enforcement.
OPD Chief Jeff McCutchen said during a recent training class in Jackson hosted by the FBI, 12 training modules were presented and encouraged to be passed along to individual police departments. However, gathering all 85-plus officers who work different shifts together at once can often be a difficult undertaking.
McCutchen decided the best way to deliver the information would be to do a monthly podcast.
“Officers are in their cars for 12 hours a day,” he said. “They can listen to the podcast during their shift or whenever they have some time so they aren’t having to come to training during their time off or when they’re on the clock, disrupting their day.”
The podcasts will focus on physical, financial and spiritual wellness and will feature experts from around the nation.
“Overall, it’s a triangle,” McCutchen said. “We want to build balance, create healthier humans so when they do retire, their bodies aren’t wrecked. We teach officers how to drive, defensive tactics, how to talk to people. Why not take this same avenue to help teach them life skills that will make them stronger, mentally and physically?”
The podcast, dubbed, “Off the Beat,” does not cost the department anything to create. Speakers volunteer their time. The first podcast featured Hunter Owen, owner of Coyote Cross Fit who spoke about nutrition, fitness, and overall wellness.
OPD comes out with a new podcast titled “Off the Beat.” Reporters Griffin DeMarrais, Marissa Mccardell
“Doesn’t cost us a dime,” McCutchen said. “We email a link to the podcast to the officers. The city saves money, it doesn’t take away from day-to-day operations and they are getting top-of-the-line expert advice.”
The podcasts will not cover “cop stuff,” McCutchen said.
“It’s not about policing,” he said. “It’s about how you can be better in everyday life. Officers aren’t living very long after they retire. Being a cop becomes their life, their identity. We want to change that. We want them to know that while you serve you’re giving everything you got, but after 25 years, you should be healthy and not having to worry about finances. The job is your profession, but not your identity.”
Podcasts will cover emotional survival ability to handle the stresses of the job, provide tools to mitigate stress, ways to eat healthier, creating financial stability and the importance of fitness.
McCutchen said right now the podcasts are only for internal use for the OPD officers; however, making them public, or doing other types of podcasts in the future for the public is not out of the question.
“We are always trying to find innovative ways to make our people better,” McCutchen said. “We are trying to change the old ways of doing things. This is a job that can be extremely critical. We want to bring in experts who will share ways to mitigate those stresses in our lives.”