Solutions For Individuals & Agencies

Specializing in the prevention, evaluation and treatment
of issues affecting First Responders

Public Safety Personnel

Mental Health & Wellness

First Responder First is a Utah-based mental health and wellness company that specializes in working with law enforcement, firefighters, EMS personnel, dispatchers, corrections officers, public safety civilian staff members (including volunteers and retirees), spouses and family members.

We work directly with you and your agency providing needed services to help navigate stress, risk, and trauma through:

  • Regular periodic check-ins and wellness check-ups
  • Counseling and therapy for employees and family members, including volunteers and retirees
  • Critical incident stress debriefings, crisis response assessment and counseling
  • Custom tailored training
  • Peer support development and oversight

Having worked in the industry, we have a unique insight into the struggles facing our Public Safety Officers and First Responders and have been specifically trained to help individuals and agencies. Better mental health and wellness can help with both employee retention and career performance.

The Problem

What You or Your Agency May Be Struggling With

2 police officers standing outside

If you need help in any of the above areas, contact us today to schedule an appointment or enroll in one of the specialized courses.

The Solution

Training, Consulting, Coaching & Peer Counseling

Many public safety professionals avoid speaking to a mental health counselor because they distrust outsiders, and most therapists don’t understand this unique culture.

Our employees have worked in this field and understand the struggles many of our First Responders and Public Safety Professionals are facing.

In addition, we have specialized training and experience working with public safety agencies, first responders and their families, crisis response and peer support, and cultural awareness and sensitivity.

With better emotional and mental health comes:

  • greater productivity
  • fewer disciplinary problems
  • less complaints & administrative hassles
  • improved employee morale
  • higher retention and decreased budget issue

Our goal is to help you and your organization navigate stress, risk, and trauma (SRT™) and increase confidence, productivity, and self-mastery in order to achieve personal and organizational goals.

Learn more about AVAILABLE SERVICES

Police officer giving a teddy bear to a little boy

specializing in first responders & their individual needs

Meet the FRFirst Team

Jeffrey Denning

Jeffrey Denning, ACMHC

Jeff retired from the Salt Lake City Police Department where, among other things, he worked as a CIT detective, hostage negotiator, and peer support supervisor.

Jeff has experience as a SWAT operator, FTO, and firearms instructor and has worked undercover operations. He has served on the executive board of the Utah CISM Team for several years and has helped dozens of agencies with debriefings following critical incidents.

He is a veteran of the war in Iraq and at one time held Top Secret clearances with three government agencies.

As a specialist in crisis response and peer support, he has developed classes and taught hundreds of law enforcement officers, dispatchers, firefighters/EMS, chaplains, and mental health professionals throughout Utah, Nevada, and Idaho. 

Jeff’s second master’s degree is in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. He is trained in EMDR, Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART), and other trauma modalities. 

Sean Morris, LMFT, SAP, CEAP

Sean Morris, LMFT, SAP, CEAP

Sean is a licensed therapist with over 20 years of experience. He has experience as a firefighter, EMT, and ski patrolman. He has a vast knowledge of mental health resources having run EAP companies, in-patient behavioral health programs, and crisis teams. He is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Substance Abuse Professional, and Certified Employee Assistance Professional. Sean has run debriefings for first responders all over the state of Utah and serves on the executive board of the state CISM team. He has counseled numerous first responders and their family members, before and after critical incidents.

Sean has developed and implemented a variety of programs such as first responder, peer support, and drug-free workplace programs. He offers invaluable expertise to a broad range of organizations. He is passionate about improvement for individual and organizational success.

Sean has run several marathons and enjoys road and mountain biking, playing racquetball, and snow skiing. He is a committed husband and father and loves to have fun with his family. 

Sara Allen

Sara Allen has served on the Utah CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management) Team helping first responders and their families following critical incidents for over 25 years. 

She started off her career as an EMT in the early 80s and then worked as 911 dispatcher for Ogden police and fire departments for over a decade. 

With an interest in trauma and a desire to help others, she received a master’s degree in Educational Psychology and Counseling and worked as a high school counselor and as a district Student Services Coordinator before retiring in 2019. 

Since then, armed with a passion to help others, Sara has volunteered or worked full time helping first responders and their families. 

She has served as the lead mental health professional on the executive board of the Utah CISM team and, for a time, volunteered as a law enforcement chaplain. 

She loves old movies, traveling, riding her ATV, and she especially enjoys her grandchildren.

Jared Bystron

Jared Bystrom, MSW, CSW

Jared was born and raised just outside of Chicago, Illinois and retired from a career in law enforcement where he worked in juvenile and adult corrections, as a patrol officer, detective, hostage negotiator, metro narcotics officer, and supervisor over the span of his career.

He is a US Marine veteran who served in active duty during the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan (2001-2006). While in the military, he held Top Secret clearance due to his occupation.

Jared received a master’s degree in Advanced Clinical Counseling from the University of Illinois. He has worked as a clinician for the state of Utah and has years of experience working specifically with troubled adolescents, veterans, and first responders.

Jared speaks Spanish, Portuguese, and Russian, due to years spent overseas. He enjoys travel, reading, sports, jujitsu, church, and friends and family.

Abraham Pollard

Abraham Pollard

Abraham Pollard retired as a police officer in 2017. He served with the Arizona Department of Public Safety and the Arizona State University police department. 

As a resident of Utah, he is now attending Grand Canyon University and pursuing a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with an emphasis in trauma. 
 
He has experience working as a sex crimes detective in the Criminal Investigation Bureau and a member of the child abduction response team (CART). 

He has engaged in a variety of assignments including Crisis Intervention Team (CIT), honor guard, bike team, accident reconstruction, human and drug trafficking interdiction, training officer and instructor, and he has a host of other training certifications. 
 
Abraham has firsthand experience with the symptoms of PTSD and has found hope in his faith. Supported by his family as well as his psychiatric service dog trained at 4 Paws 4 Patriots-Utah, he is inspired to help others who endure similar struggles.

Kevin Hunter

Kevin has over 20 years of experience in Corrections, working in a county jail, and two years of experience as a dispatcher. 

He serves as a supervisor and peer support coordinator for his agency. He is currently a member of the executive board of the Utah CISM Team and has participated in several debriefings along the Wasatch Front.

He has assisted other agencies set up peer support teams and work through a variety of critical incidents.

Kevin lost his brother to suicide in 2007 and has used the experience of that loss to educate first responders and others on the impact suicide can have on a family, agency, and community. 

Kevin has a passion for fishing, camping, and the outdoors. He loves spending time with family. He is a strong believer that a mentally healthy first responder is necessary for strong family, friends, and community connections, as well as a long and healthy career. 

Phil Kearney

Phil is a retired Special Agent/Supervisory Special Agent with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). 

During his time with the DEA, Phil served in multiple locations across the United States, as well as working in 14 other countries and 10 separate deployments to Afghanistan.

Prior to his time with the DEA, Phil was a Salt Lake City Police Officer and detective, a prison guard at the Florida State Prison and a bailiff.

Phil was a firearms instructor, defensive tactics instructor, and a tactical instructor for the DEA, and he holds a BS in Judicial Administration and a MA in Organizational Management.  Phil is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy, session #277.

Phil completed his law enforcement career by serving for more than three years as the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Commander for the state of Oregon.

Mark Lowther with his K=9 working dog

Lt. Mark Lowther (retired)

Mark is a US Marine Corps veteran with over 30 years in public safety. Although retired, Mark continues to serve part time in law enforcement. He has worked as an EMT since the early 90s and continues to go on calls today with a local volunteer fire department.

Mark has worked in the jail, patrol, investigations, gangs, USMS fugitive task force, SWAT, SRO, and motors/traffic. He served ten years as a CIT officer, instructor, and training coordinator. He served as a SWAT hostage negotiator for a major portion of his career and was named by the UTOA as the 2012 Crisis Negotiator of the year. 

Mark spent the majority of his career in assignments involving crisis negotiation, suicide intervention, verbal de-escalation, peer support, Autism awareness, and mental illness. He has instructed courses locally, nationally, and internationally on those topics. He currently volunteers working a crisis hotline and as a peer support team member with his service dog Dexter. 

Jared Baker

Jared Baker

Jared has both law enforcement and military experience. He has worked in busy and active agencies in Utah and currently serves in the Utah National Guard. 

Jared was born and raised in Northern California and spent a couple of years in Pittsburgh serving a mission for his church where he continues to volunteer, including several years’ experience helping teach and mentor young men.

He and his wife have two daughters. He loves hiking, Brazilian jiu jitsu, and reading. Jared is pursuing a degree in marriage and family therapy and enjoys working alongside first responders. 

April Morse

April Morse, MSW, CSW

April Morse was born and raised in Utah. She started her law enforcement career at Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office working the jail. She quickly moved to the road where she served in a variety of assignments including DEA Metro Narcotics, Violent Crimes, and Internal Affairs. She served on Utah Task Force One where she ran a live find search and rescue dog. During her career she also had the opportunity to handle a single purpose drug dog and a cadaver dog.

April successfully promoted to the rank of Deputy Chief and currently serves as the Division Commander to the Unified Police Department Special Operations Division. She began her pursuit of understanding mental health and wellness while serving in the homicide unit investigating officer involved shooting cases. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah and a master’s degree in Social Work from Boston University. 

When April is not engaged in police work, she enjoys time spent with family, friends, dogs, and books.

Richie Landward LCSW, MPA, MBB, LDI

Richie Landward LCSW, MPA, MBB, LDI is currently a faculty assistant professor/lecturer in the College of Social Work at the University of Utah. He specializes in using Mind Body Bridging and Mind Shield to treat post traumatic stress, anxiety and substance use in children, adolescents, and adults.

Richie received his master’s degrees in social work and public administration from the University of Utah. Prior to teaching full time, Richie worked for the Veterans Administration Medical Center treating combat veterans with post traumatic stress disorder and chronic behavioral health issues.

He has also worked in highly impacted schools in Midvale, Utah implementing comprehensive school-based mental health programs to support students and families impacted by poverty and trauma.

For the last 10 years, Richie has been training fire fighters and their families in Salt Lake and across Utah using Mind Body Bridging to address first responder stress.

Amanda Albertson

Amanda Albertson

Amanda Albertson is our administrative assistant, working behind the scenes to keep us organized and on track. 

Amanda works full-time as an administrative assistant for a busy fire department in Idaho. 

And she takes her work home with her, so to speak, because her husband is also a firefighter/paramedic. 

Prior to her current position in the fire service, Amanda worked for nearly a decade as a 911 Dispatcher. 

She also has experience as a corrections deputy and reserve patrol deputy with the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office where she had collateral assignments as a CIT representative and an FTO. 

Amanda has many years of experience in a peer support role on TRUST—the Traumatic Response Unified Support Team, which supports both law enforcement and fire department operations. 

She has helped support the TRUST team and numerous individuals following a host of critical incidents over the last several years. 

Jolie Morris

Jolie supports First Responders First staff and personnel as an administrative assistant. She helps keep the First Responders First team running smoothly, helping with organization and coordination. Speaking of running, Jolie has completed approximately 50 marathons—yes, 50.

Jolie loves bringing people together around a beautiful table with good food. With over 15 years of experience in event planning and catering, she can make even the longest meetings more delicious and enjoyable. 

Jolie has a passion for serving others and helping them to feel hope and joy despite life’s challenges and difficulties. 

She is the mother of four children and the wife of a former firefighter-turned therapist. 

She loves running (as evidenced by her penchant for running marathons), being outside, kindness, chocolate, and collecting cookbooks. More than anything, she loves spending time with family at home and on vacation.

Serenity, FR First white lab

Serenity

Serenity is a psychiatric facility service animal. She has helped multiple first responders in several critical stress incident debriefings. 

She likes treats and being scratched behind her ears.

For individuals & Public Safety Agencies

Simple Steps to Work With Us

1. Click on the "Contact Us" button

2. Fill out the form with information about how to contact you and where you are located

3. Let us know whether your request is URGENT or for training, consulting, or individual counseling.

Note: We can also be available in the evenings and on holidays and weekends ⁠— because First Responders work those times too. Additionally, if a first responder is in crisis or needs to get an appointment quickly, we can accommodate that.

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Training, Consulting, cOACHING and PEER Counseling for First Responders

Helping you Achieve individual Wellness and Organizational Stability

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