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HomeNewsClarksville Police Department announces Joshua Forbess as new Wellness Counselor

Clarksville Police Department announces Joshua Forbess as new Wellness Counselor

Joshua Forbess, hero, focuses on CPD Wellness Groundbreaking program sets Clarksville apart

Clarksville Police Department - CPDClarksville, TN – As it goes about the work of protecting the people of Clarksville, the Clarksville Police Department (CPD) is now looking inward at how it protects and supports its own.

Leading that effort is the department’s new Wellness Counselor, Joshua Forbess, a decorated Army veteran and hero who stood out among candidates for the new CPD post, during an extensive hiring search.

CPD was able to create the position through a $175,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services (COPS). The grant was administered through the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act.

CPD was the only agency in Tennessee to be awarded this grant, marking a pinnacle moment for a department that prides itself in protecting the physical and emotional well-being of its employees.

Clarksville Police Chief David Crockarell said Joshua Forbess is proving equal to the task of pioneering the department’s groundbreaking initiative.

Right For The Job

“When the Clarksville Police Department received the grant to hire a wellness counselor, we wanted to make sure we hired the right person for the job,” Chief Crockarell said. “It was a very competitive process, and we took our time as we interviewed several qualified candidates.

“Mr. Forbess’ passion and commitment were what really stood out to everyone involved in the interview process. His life experiences, ability to relate to people, and understanding of what they were experiencing made it an easy decision to have him become part of the team,” Chief Crockarell said.

“We are very grateful to be able to provide this service to the members of the Clarksville Police Department and their families,” he said.

Just over a year ago, in January 2022, CPD created its Wellness Program designed to assist employees and their families who may be experiencing professional or personal distress.

The prior year saw the creation of a CPD Crisis Intervention Team with specialized training to assist officers in dealing with citizens they come in contact with, who are experiencing an emotional or mental crisis.

The Wellness Program became an extension of Crisis Intervention, helping CPD employees, themselves, and their families, by providing in-person counseling sessions for them in support of physical and emotional well-being.

The program also enables the counselor to train employees in identifying and recognizing indicators of distress and trauma in their peers and others within CPD who may need mental health services.

Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts says the addition of both wellness counseling, and Joshua Forbess, is historic for CPD and the City of Clarksville.

“CPD Chief David Crockarell continues to find ways to invest in our officers and staff. The Wellness Coordinator will play a pivotal role in the physical and mental well-being of the CPD employee family,” Mayor Pitts said. “Joshua Forbess is the perfect fit to build and implement our continued emphasis on wellness. His storied Army career, combined with his passion for service and exceptional education, gives us an opportunity to make a positive impact from Day One.”

Lt. Ben Blackmon, Wellness Coordinator for CPD, said Joshua Forbess showed unique “passion and vision” for building the departmental Wellness Program, from the initial job interview.

“As part of the selection process, Josh was asked to participate in a ride-along with a patrol officer. That experience seemed to solidify to him that this is where he needs to be,” Lt. Blackmon said.

“Following up with the officers he interacted with solidified to me that he was the guy. I’m excited to have someone I believe can relate to, and build trust with our officers,” he said.

A critical part of Joshua Forbess’ preparedness for the new CPD position is his military background.

Compelling Background

He enlisted in the Army on July 27th, 1995, conducting basic training and advanced individual training at 1st Battalion, 31st Field Artillery, Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where he graduated from the 13B Cannon Crewmember (Field Artillery) School.

His first assignment was with 2nd Howitzer Battery, 2nd Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Polk, Louisiana.

By September 1999, he reported to Comanche Battery, 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell. 

In May 2001, SSG Forbess’ Battery was deployed in support of the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment to the Province of Kosovo.

While there, the 9/11 attacks of the World Trade Center happened. 

SSG Forbess said he had decided in that moment it was time to conduct his second re-enlistment. On March 8th, 2003, he was deployed to Kuwait for the upcoming invasion of Iraq. 

On November 15th, 2003, while on an Aerial Quick Reaction Force mission, the UH-60D Black Hawk helicopter he was in came under attack.

While conducting evasive maneuvers, his Black Hawk collided with another Black Hawk, causing them both to crash.

SSG Forbess was one of five survivors, in an incident that claimed 17 101st Soldiers.

After spending eight weeks in a medically-induced coma, SSG Forbess awoke in a hospital bed at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He was burned over nearly 12 percent of his body, primarily to his face, head, and right arm. He had broken bones in both hands and suffered from severe smoke inhalation.

SSG Forbess said he had difficulties adjusting to his “new normal”, like many Soldiers, but he “knew that he had found his calling.”

After being discharged, he started visiting with Soldiers and their families, trying to give them hope, inspiration, and guidance. Who better would know what “that side of the bed” is like, than a fellow Soldier who was injured as well?

Over Memorial Day 2004, SSG Forbess returned to his unit to work as the Training Non-Commissioned Officer, and re-enlisted for yet a third time. He aided in starting a national non-profit organization for wounded Service Members, volunteered his time at the Fort Campbell Fisher House, continued to heal both mentally and physically, and said he tried to give back to his Brothers and Sisters-in-Arms. 

In January 2007, SSG Forbess was moved to Fort Campbell’s Blanchfield Army Community Hospital to serve as an Ombudsman, where he was an advocate and liaison for Soldiers and their families. The following year, he became the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of the new Soldier and Family Assistance Center. SSG Forbess re-enlisted his fourth and final time for “indefinite” status shortly after assuming this position. 

On November 28th, 2008, SSG Forbess was awarded the Presidential Volunteer Service Award from President George W. Bush.

His other awards included: Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, two Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, six Army Achievement Medals, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, six Army Good Conduct Medals, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, two National Defense Service Medals, Armed Forces Service Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Iraq Campaign Medal, and two NATO Medals (Bosnia and Kosovo). 

He retired from active duty on November 11th, 2015. In May 2019 he graduated from Austin Peay State University with a Bachelor’s Degree, followed by a Master’s Degree in Social Work, given in May 2020.


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