Virginia Law Enforcement Assistance Program helps police officers cope with trauma

CHRISTIANSBURG (WSLS 10) - A program designed to help police officers through tragedy is growing across Virginia and beyond.

In 2008, several people in Montgomery County started the Virginia chapter of the Law Enforcement Assistance Program.

This is a four-day intensive for officers and their families who are dealing with a traumatic event. It provides speakers, peer mentoring and even massage therapy.

The first session had only 12 people from three departments in attendance. Now, sessions often have more than 200 officers from across the state and the country.

"Sometimes it just helps to be around those folks who know where we've been and what we've been through," said Montgomery County Sheriff Hank Partin.

The Virginia LEAP is a non-profit which operates through several grants and donations. Organizers are getting ready to help both Arkansas and Ohio launch LEAP chapters of their own.