Pinole police officers have a new tool to help them handle the stresses that come with the job — a decompression space known as the “Zen Den.”
The “Zen Den” is a room complete with calming sounds, aromatherapy, crystals and a massage chair. It provides officers with a safe space to process the challenges of the job.
“Some officers when they put on their belt, put on their badge, put on their armor and go, ‘I’m strong, I can do this,’ not knowing maybe they need to take a moment to themselves,” Pinole Police Department Community Safety Specialist Natasha Valdepena said.
The department said the “Zen Den” is the first of its kind in the state.
“Officers know they can get help and take time to relax,” Valdepena said. “The ‘Zen Den’ is supposed to provide that.”
Officer Jennifer Witschi is already enjoying the benefits.
“This thing will rock you to sleep,” she said. “I have tried that. It’s rocked me back-and-forth to sleep and will massage your hands all the way down to your feet. It’s pretty amazing.”
Witschi has seen and experienced a lot while patrolling the streets of Pinole.
“A lot of people don’t realize that officers are subjected to hundreds of traumatic calls throughout their career,” she said. “It really can affect your mental health and wellness and the way you perform on the job.”
The department hopes the “Zen Den” is just one more way to keep the force healthy as officers work to keep the community safe.
Source: NBC Bay Area