ALTON - Sacred Spaces of CARE will host a National Police Week Family Festival for Alton Police Department’s officers.

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On Saturday, May 18, 2024, APD employees, retirees and families are invited to the police station for a festival meant to celebrate their work and promote officer wellness. Sacred Spaces of CARE focuses on mental health throughout the Riverbend community, and Megan Tyler, executive director of the organization, explained that the partnership between them and APD has gone “so well.”

“You think of wellness and people tend to go towards the mental health world of therapy, but we just are trying to kind of do it comprehensively, and I think fun is part of that,” Tyler said. “Just bringing people together and not having a set agenda, just time to come together and be able to have conversations with each other that are not job-related, is obviously part of wellness as well.”

Sacred Spaces of CARE has partnered with APD to promote mental health and suicide prevention within the department. Throughout the past year, they have sponsored a number of events and initiatives to encourage officer wellness.

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Tyler noted that she wasn’t sure what to expect at first, but she has been pleasantly surprised to find that the officers are so receptive to the Sacred Spaces of CARE mission. She considers it “a huge testament” to Chief Jarrett Ford and the rest of the department.

“It has been going so well. It has surpassed any expectations that I ever had,” she said. “I knew coming into law enforcement as a civilian, it’s just a different culture. And so I knew that it would take time to establish rapport and build trust. This department is just completely leaps and bounds above anything that I’ve ever experienced before or that I’ve heard of.”

This festival is a part of their goal to promote wellness. Tyler said officers and their families will enjoy food trucks, games, crafts, giveaways and more at the free event. The aim is to bring together the local police community while supporting the officers who work with APD.

“It’s just a time for everybody to come together in an informal way where we can just socialize and have fun, involve the kids and everything all at once, which is a rare opportunity for law enforcement in general just because of the hectic schedules and everything,” Tyler said. “I’m lucky I get to be there and continuously just feel honored to have been welcomed into that space and just grateful that people are so open and receptive to it. That just would not happen in other spaces.”

Tyler is excited to do more to support APD all year long, with an emphasis on National Police Week. APD employees, retirees and their families are invited to the Family Festival from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, 2024.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat at 988lifeline.org.

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