Support Officers Community Care of Whatcom County was created in 1982 by a local pastor and fire chief who recognized the need for personal outreach to individuals and families in times of tragedy and trauma. They recognized that no one is immune and crisis and that it can strike anyone at any time. The goal of this program is to care for all members of our community to help them cope and eventually thrive following a crisis.
The mission of Support Officers is to impact and influence the quality of life for families experiencing tragedy and trauma. We help those left grieving to understand what to expect in the days and months ahead following a crisis. We strive to provide care when an individual‘s normal psychological and biological coping mechanisms are threatened.
What Is A Support Officer?
No one is immune from crisis. Tragedy or sudden death can strike anyone at any time. Support Officers help those left grieving understand what to expect in the days and months ahead following a crisis. This program exists to provide care when an individual‘s normal psychological and biological coping mechanisms are threatened. Support officers offer their services free of charge, regardless of one‘s financial situation. However, we depend on individual and corporate donations to provide this level of care.
In times of trauma, support officers also assist Whatcom County‘s first responders. Our response unit provides a shelter during a rescue effort or at a traffic fatality. Support officers also help first responders manage their personal stress triggered by critical incidents. The goal of this program is to care for all members of our community to help them to survive and eventually thrive following a crisis. People from around the world have thanked us for the helpful resources on grief that are provided on our website.
Support Officer Community Care is a nonprofit, not a public agency. Although we work in tandem with our county‘s first responders, we don‘t receive any tax funding. We depend on individual and corporate donations to meet our budget needs. Our board consists of individuals who care about first responders and people in crisis.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who do Support Officers help?
We help people in our community when they experience tragedy or trauma. This may be family crisis intervention, school crisis response, or on-scene support of first responders and families. Support Officers often follow up with families and individuals for months following their crisis.
When do you go out to a scene?
We are dispatched by the 911 operator when there is a disaster, accident, death notification, or other traumatic event where our training and expertise serve to care for and comfort victims, families, and the first responders.
What kind of training do Support Officers receive?
Support Officers are trained in areas such as crisis response and intervention, incident command systems, critical incident stress, school crisis response, and on-scene procedures for suicide, SIDS, homicide, death investigation, and shootings.
What is your greatest challenge?
The overwhelming increase in calls is our greatest challenge. In the past two years, the number of calls has increased 49%. Support Officers are particularly needed by families immediately after an infant death, and in the past two years the number of infant deaths has increased 100%. This increase in calls strains financial resources and limits our ability to provide much needed physical comforts to grieving families with our limited funds.
HOW CAN I HELP SUPPORT OFFICER AND MY COMMUNITY?