Texas lawmakers launch app to help reduce law enforcement suicides

The Texas Law Enforcement Peer Network connects officers with peers in a 500-mile radius in a matter of minutes

A new state-sponsored app is helping reduce suicides among law enforcement.

SAN ANTONIO – A new state-sponsored app is helping reduce suicides among law enforcement.

Texas lawmakers passed a law in 2021 that created the Texas Law Enforcement Peer Network. The program runs through an app that helps connect officers with a peer in a 500-mile radius in a matter of minutes and sometimes even seconds.

Michael Mata, a retired police officer of 24 years, is a regional director training officers across the state on how to answer the calls for help through the peer network.

Although the anonymous program is led by fellow officers who aren’t medically trained, they are peers who understand where those officers are mentally.

“I’ve been through that kind of situation where I’ve wanted to take my life. And because I reached out and because I got help, I’m still here,” said Mata.

Mata is touring the state, talking with officers in agencies who might be interested in becoming peer supporters. He wants to make sure other officers have someone on the other line.

“Sometimes, officers don’t know where to go with our own problems because, you know, we’re problem solvers. We’re supposed to have solutions for everybody’s problem, right?” said Mata.

Mata strongly encourages officers who need someone to vent to seek help, warning officers of those personal stressors or traumas that can seep into their work.

Texas Law Enforcement Peer Network QR Code (Copyright 2022 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

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Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.