Increased focus on trauma and crisis training for officers
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
The Sarasota Police Department in Florida recently received 160 mobile trauma kits with an aim to enhance the safety and survival of both the community as well as SPD officers. In any active-shooting scenario, they can now quickly render aid to victims, ensuring functional trauma management and a greater chance of their survival.
The kits, which are designed to fit into the cargo pocket of the uniform pants, have basic life-saving applicants that can be used to treat deep puncture or gunshot wounds. These include emergency essentials like tourniquets, a blood-clotting agent, compression badge, medical gloves as well as gauze strips. Officers will receive training on how to use these kits in the field before carrying them.
Trauma training and crisis management are high on the priority list for police departments across the country. Like Sarasota PD, more departments are putting them down as a must-have in their upcoming budgets and annual plans.
While SPD benefited from a donation, this is just the first step. Much has to be done before the department can confidently say it can handle crisis and trauma without faltering. The trauma kits they have received are designed to save lives during that narrow window when the paramedics are still some distance away and victims may need immediate assistance.
Crisis training is another big area of focus, and the Bloomington Police Department in Minnesota has stepped ahead of its peers to complete its crisis training program. The Upper Midwest Community Policing Institute trained 118 sworn department personnel on de-escalation strategies for encounters and interactions with people suffering from any kind of stress, trauma and mental illness.
It is important for police officers to recognize symptoms of psychological and behavioral disorders in emotionally disturbed persons in crisis. When pitted against the recent backlash the force has faced over the issue, it is imperative that these training programs be mobilized across the country and fast.
Along with educating on various disorders, Bloomington PD officers will also be equipped with state and local resources to defuse situations without the need for physical force. With increased focus on rebuilding community respect and trust, these developments will play a major role in preparing officers to serve and deliver better public safety to all citizens.
While these two programs were more geared toward helping citizens, there are also new ones in place to train police officers deal with shootings and the associated trauma. A federal training program for Orange County police officers in California aimed at teaching them skills and tactics to survive gunshot wounds, give themselves and others the best chance of surviving a serious injury as the first responders.
Tactical emergency casualty care, or TECC as the class is called, combines skills training as well practical simulations. Officers go through high-stress, full-speed and traumatic multi-injury situations that will help them save lives in the field.
Even seasoned officers who took the training talked about how it has been a big help for them. In an extreme scenario, they can now rely on muscle memory instead of freezing, simply because the training was so effective.
Comprehensive trauma and crisis management also includes peer support programs. According to the U.S. Army, 1 in 8 soldiers suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Experts say the number is even higher for police officers, though the support structure is perhaps not as strong.
To combat this, the Colonie Police Department in New York has been a forerunner with its special trauma training program. Conducted in partnership with the New York State Office of Public Safety, the police peer support program called "Badge of Life," addressed major traumatic issues officers experience after witnessing horrific events.
The focus is more on officer-involved tragedies and to prepare officers for future situations that could take a toll on their mental health. More departments need to sign up for these comprehensive programs and equip officers with intellectual, physical, tactical and emotional strength to deal with stressful situations.
- To fight crime, engage kids in quality after-school programs
- 7 trigger control errors and how to fix them
- The stress of 911 call-takers and emergency dispatchers
- Children of the badge: The impact of stress on law enforcement children
- Married to the badge: Stress in the law enforcement marriage
- Modern slavery and the hidden world of human trafficking
- Managing law enforcement stress through emotional intelligence
- Why stand and deliver simply doesn’t work
- What is the future of airports under President Biden?
- In times of crisis: 5 strategies that lead to better decisions
- Signs that your business may scream, ‘I’m cheap!’
- Designing for celebrities: How career and technical education teachers motivate students
- Skilled trades report highlights significant job opportunities
See your work in future editions
Your content, Your Expertise,
Your Industry Needs YOUR Expert Voice & We've got the platform you needFind Out How