We are working with the Sheriff’s Department of the City and County of Denver to understand the causes and consequences of high turnover among deputies. We have conducted interviews and distributed a survey to staff to ask them about the difficulties of their job and what changes may help better support them and their well-being. Our results show that deputies at the Denver Sheriff Department are facing exceptionally high levels of burnout, even in comparison with other frontline workers. In fact, more than half of deputies responding to the survey had high or severe levels of burnout.
Importantly, we found that deputies that indicated they had someone to talk to about their day-to-day problems reported lower levels of burnout. Based on these findings, we collaborated with the Sheriff’s department to co-design an online peer support pilot program and test whether it could help reduce burnout amongst its staff. Survey results collected five months later show significantly reduced burnout, increased happiness with their jobs, and increased feelings of being understood by fellow staff, agency leadership, and even family and friends among staff who had access to the intervention. Future analyses will explore the effect of the intervention on administrative outcomes, such as turnover.