Edmonton police union president resigns to focus on mental health – Edmonton

The head of the Edmonton Police Association (EPA) is leaving his post with the union, saying his mental health needs his full attention at this time.

Staff Sgt. Michael Elliott said he was leaving halfway through his second term as president and called his decision « bittersweet and emotional ». Elliott was elected to the EPA in 2017.

« For me, I’ve spent most of my career helping members and promoting the police and what we do with the community, » he told 630 CHED.

« Knowing that I’m stepping back, I know I’m making the right decision, but it’s still hard because that’s all I really know about policing.

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The departure was a shock to some; However, Elliott said he thought about quitting the police union about a year ago, but continued as long as he could with the help of an adviser.

Over time, he had conversations with fellow officers and ordinary citizens, some of whom expressed suicidal thoughts. These experiences affected his own overall mental health, he said. He finally had to ask himself a difficult question: « If I’m not 100% healthy, how can I help someone else? »

“It’s almost like the analogy of (being on) a plane. If something happens to the plane and the oxygen mask fails, you need to put your mask on first, because otherwise you might not be there to help everyone.

Although he has only been on the union executive for almost six years, he has been a member of the EPA for 17 years.

One thing that Elliott considers an achievement during his time on the board, although he also credits how social norms have also changed, is how more members – including himself now — took their mental health more seriously.

“I believe that more and more members are taking time for themselves and putting their health first over their profession and over their careers,” Elliott said.

“If I can help a person not fall down that rabbit hole and hurt themselves. It is a success in my eyes.

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« I hope I can leave knowing that the members are better off mentally than they were five or six years ago and are better prepared to take care of themselves. »

He estimates that the person who will take over will be announced in early January.

with files from James Dunn, 630 CHED

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