Tennessee Public Safety Network Helps officers with PTSD

January 12, 2015 WCYB ran an informational story regarding the Tennessee Public Safety Networks program for Critical Incident Stress Debriefings and how the Carter County Sheriff’s Department takes advantage of the program.

Interviewed persons brought to light the fact that many Law Enforcement officers suffer from some form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from critical incidents or even from just the day to day calls of unusual nature that become habitual for officers to answer. These are not normal for human beings to be dealing with yet the law Enforcement community does deal with them n a daily basis.

“Police are normal people, responding to abnormal situations,” Johnson City Officer Keith Sexton said. This is true of any first responder who runs toward danger when others are running away.

The Tennessee Public Safety Network is free to Public Safety members and their families. The program is not limited to traumatic incidents alone and debriefings are not discoverable in court. Debriefings are generally conducted with a peer who has been through the same experiences as the officer or family member who is being debriefed along with a mental health professional who sits in as well.

Debriefings do not have to take place at any specific set time limit after any critical incident. It can be years after the incident that an Officer discusses the incident that may be bothering them.  Incidents do in fact stay with Officers for many years, some stay permanently.

 

Directly from the Tennessee Public Safety Network Site:

A critical incident is any event that is outside the typical range of experience for a person; and has sufficient impact (or is likely to have sufficient impact) that it overwhelms the person’s usual effective coping abilities.

Typical critical incidents would include, but not be limited to:

  • Line of duty deaths
  • Incidents involving the use of deadly force or other life-threatening decisions
  • Serious line-of-duty injuries to self or co-worker(s)
  • Protracted incidents involving strong emotions over long periods of time (e.g. natural disasters, hostage situations, etc.).
  • Incidents where there is a strong connection with the victim(s)
  • Serious injury or death of a civilian, especially involving children
  • Involvement in a number of moderately stressful incidents resulting in a cumulative effect.

The Critical Incident Stress Debriefing Team is comprised of law enforcement officers and trained mental health professionals who provide support and intervention services to public safety officers and their families to lessen the impact of major events.  As a reactive service, the team will provide support to public safety personnel at the scene or after the encounter with the critical incident.  The debriefing process will continue in ongoing support with additional personnel who have experienced similar situations being brought to the team, as necessary. 

You may reach them as follows:

– Peter Cove, CEO, Training Director: 931.239.0048

– Rosie Killian, COO, Program Director: 931.260.4351

– Office: 931.432.7880

Mailing Address: Tennessee Public Safety Network
P.O. Box 2526
Cookeville, TN 38502-2526
Email Address: Peter Cove – petercove@comcast.net
Rosie Killian – TPSNRosie@yahoo.com

 

Officers who suffer from PTSD often express one or more of the following symptoms:

Felt surprise or shock at the work place, reflect on whether they are fulfilling a useful role, always feel concerned, awake in the middle of a light sleep, have memories of a disaster return even after ending day’s work.

Should you require help, there are many sources of assistance available for Law Enforcement Officers now a days. Check confidentiality to ensure that you can talk open and honestly beforehand and unburden yourself before it becomes an insurmountable task.

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