DETROIT (WWJ) – The Detroit Police Department is rolling out a new program aimed at helping officers deal with post traumatic stress.
Studies indicate that about 40 percent of officers’ families nationwide experience domestic violence; and among police, there are high rates of suicide.
You don’t have to be a solider to suffer from PTSD, says police spokesman Sgt. Michael Woody. Life as a Detroit cop can be tough.
“It’s not uncommon for a police officer to be on these horrific scenes and see some of the most tragic things that can really affect the human psyche,” Woody said. “Too often, we as police officers are painted with these robot features — we’re able to turn our emotions on and off,” Woody said. “But, believe it or not, those emotions do click on by themselves sometimes and, you know, it tends to catch up with you.”
It can be difficult sometimes, Woody said, to leave work at work.
“For example, just the other day there was a very tragic incident of a young baby that was accidentally ran over by her father. Those officers were the first ones on the scene to witness that,” Woody said. “And those officers, I know them all, have families of their own. So it’s not very uncommon for them to transfer those emotions to their own family.”
“There’s really not much in our department that was really helping these officers deal with that,” he added.
The program is being rolled out in stages.
About 20 officers have been trained so far to recognize the signs of PTSD, and doctors have been teaching command staff about job stress as well.
The program will expand to a greater number of officers in the summer.
“This is not going to something that is as a disciplinary issue,” Woody said. “This is not something we’re trying to say that you’re incapable of doing your job … It’s to say that, ‘Hey, we’re human; these things happen.'”