Law enforcement copes with trauma - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Law enforcement copes with trauma

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From the horrific double homicide to a man shooting himself as officers tried to save his life, 2018 has already been a tough year for deputies in Lewis and Clark county.

"Often times people don't realize the severe mental anguish that one goes through when you see carnage," said Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton.

its nearly impossible for officers to forget what they've seen, but with help and support from those also on the force, moving forward is easier. Dutton says the first line of defense after an officer has experienced a traumatic event is listening.

"It
s not having the right thing to say at the right time. People often have this fear of I wont know what to say. Sometimes the ministry is presence," said Dutton.  

Having a network of people who also understand the job can help officers overcome events that may blur the line between personal and professional, such as handling the death of someone you know.

"If this stuff is not dealt with properly, whether its days or years down the road, it can have some pretty haunting effects on folks," said Detective Joshua Vandyke.  

If in house counseling isn't enough, officers have a couple of options. They can go through a 40 hour training program that teaches them how to deal with the physiological impacts of traumatic events or they can seek further counseling from a professional.  Either way, the sheriff's department makes sure they get the help they need.

"It
s nice because its obviously confidential and those people also keep tabs on us and plug us into resources if there is something that does bother us as we go through these things," said Vandyke.

The way police and sheriff departments deal with PTSD related events has dramatically improved over the years. Dutton says mental health openly discussion is open and help is readily available.

 

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