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Carroll County commissioners approve contract for mental health services for sheriff’s office

Baltimore Sun - 11/30/2023

For the last year, mental health and wellness services for command staff and deputies with the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office has been provided by a licensed psychologist and organizational consultant based in Colorado.

These services will continue, as the Board of Carroll County Commissioners unanimously approved Thursday a new $45,000 contract with Kimberly A. Miller & Associates.

“A hot topic is resilience, wellness for us,” Carroll County Sheriff James DeWees said at Thursday’s meeting. “Dr. Miller is very valuable in the law enforcement arena, working on resiliency for deputies, for the organization, wellness overall. Generally helping the organization work optimally, work efficiently. Just a great resource for us.”

Commissioners made little comment and quickly approved the funding, which will come from multiple grants.

District 5 Commissioner Ed Rothstein, who spent more than 30 years in the military, a said while he was the garrison commander at Fort George G. Meade U.S. Army Installation in Anne Arundel County, he witnessed many military personnel dealing with domestic abuse, violence, drugs and suicide and in need of mental health support. Rothsetin has also been open about his own struggles with mental health.

“You know how I feel about this,” Rothstein said, before making the motion for approval.

DeWees said Miller’s services opened the eyes of leadership within the department, “working with us as a team, to help us understand how we can work more optimally, and be better leaders for the folks that work for us,” he said.

Miller, who is based in Fort Collins, Colorado, was unable to be reached for comment Thursday.

According to her LinkedIn profile, she is a police and public safety psychologist who provides individual and organizational services. Her programs and services are designed to improve not only the individual line-level employee skills, but also the organization as a whole.

DeWees said in an interview after the meeting, that the $45,000 in funding is used in part to pay for Miller to fly from Colorado to Carroll County to work with his department. Virtual meetings are also held.

“She’s been an excellent resource for my organization on working on resiliency, and working efficiently,” he said. “She has met with me and my command staff on how better we can work together as an organization.”

Miller works with employees at the sheriff’s office and the detention center, including the deputies, who face the daily challenges and stress of being a police officer, DeWees said. Miller provides deputies with the tools that are necessary to leave the stresses of the job behind when off duty, he said.

“It’s a stressful job, and it’s how you deal with that stress,” he said. “It’s how you handle the stress when you park your police car, and shut off your phones. When you’re off, you’re off.”

Miller provides the deputies strategies to reduce and manage stress.

“She’s worth every dime,” he said.

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