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New Essay: It’s Not Weak to Feel Psychological Trauma – It’s Human

PF On Policing logo final thumbnailOn the one-year anniversary of the San Bernardino terrorist attack, clinical psychologist Tammy McCoy-Arballo discusses the myriad of emotions and thoughts officers can experience in the aftermath of such an incident. She stresses that “those who develop post-incident reactions are not weak – they are human.” To read the full essay, click here or visit www.onpolicing.org.

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It’s Not Weak to Feel Psychological Trauma – It’s Human

tammy-mccoy-picBy Tammy McCoy-Arballo
Counseling Team International Clinical Psychologist

Being courageous does not mean you are not afraid. Courageous people are afraid, but fear does not stop them from confronting danger. I have been thinking about courage and danger a great deal as the first anniversary of the San Bernardino terrorist attack neared. We saw a tremendous amount of courage from the men and women in law enforcement who responded to the Inland Regional Center a year ago today.

As the anniversary of the San Bernardino terrorist attack dawns, it seems only natural to ask: “What would I do in that situation?” and “How would I react to the emotional strain caused by an event like that?”

A husband and wife tandem fired off hundreds of rounds during the Dec. 2, 2015 attack, killing 14 people and seriously injuring 22 others – all civilians. The pair was killed hours later during a firefight with officers, some who were injured during the exchange of gunfire.

Of course all law enforcement officials hope such circumstances never repeat themselves, but it would be normal for all who carry a badge and gun to look inward and ponder how they would respond if they faced the same situation or some sort of active-shooter event. Media reports describe a broad range of emotions from responding officers, from anxiety to excitement. Read More & Share

21st Century Cures Act Passes in the House of Representatives

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A message from Police Foundation President Jim Bueermann:

I am pleased to share the news that the 21st Century Cures Act  passed  the House of Representatives last night with an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 392-26. As I shared previously, the bill, while primarily focused on medical innovation, contains critical provisions on criminal justice. I was most pleased by inclusion of a provision that would provide for the creation of a National Criminal Justice and Mental Health Training Center, which would coordinate best practices on responding to mental illness in the criminal justice system and provide technical assistance to governmental agencies.

Here’s a list of 7 things the bill does to support law enforcement:

1.  Law Enforcement Training – Authorizes resources for police responses to individuals with mental illness and de-escalation training.

2.  National Criminal Justice and Mental Health Training Center – Creates a new center to coordinate best practices on responding to individuals with mental illness in the criminal justice system and provide technical assistance to governmental agencies.

3.  Diversion Programs – Allows state and local governments to use grant funds on programs to divert individuals with mental illness and co-occurring disorders from prisons and jails.

4.  Crisis Intervention Teams – Expands resources available to state and local governments to develop and operate school-based mental health crisis intervention teams that include coordination with law enforcement agencies.

5.  Focus on Evidence-Based Research – Requires the Department of Justice to prioritize grant applications to those who use evidence-based interventions and risk assessment tools to reduce recidivism.

6.  Mental Health Response and Corrections Programs – Allows funds from existing federal grant programs to be used in new ways, such as on specialized mental health response training like crisis de-escalation techniques.

7.  Active-Shooter Training – Permanently authorizes the VALOR Initiative to provide crisis training and active-shooter training for federal, state and local law enforcement officials.

8.  Reauthorization of the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA) – an essential funding mechanism that supports the use of mental health courts and crisis intervention teams in local law enforcement agencies. The bill would extend MIOTCRA, effectively filling critical gaps in the system, including providing additional resources for veterans’ treatment courts to help those suffering from behavioral or post-traumatic stress disorders.

This bill is a needed step along the way to strengthening our nation’s criminal justice system and ensuring that people with mental illness are treated well by it. Law enforcement professionals are a huge part of the system and I am glad that the bill recognized this and provided solid policy provisions designed to aid the community in its work each day.

Fortunately, Police Foundation was at the table in crafting these important provisions, having worked with key champions on the Hill to advance this work and having sent a letter of support. Thank you to those who lent their names to that effort. I look forward to keeping you updated as we follow the bill’s progress through the Senate and then onward to the President for his signature, which we hope to see finalized within the next two weeks.

 

Chief Jim Bueermann (Ret.)
President
Police Foundation

Raising Our Standards Above Criminal Culpability

FLYNNEdwardABy Chief Edward A. Flynn
Milwaukee Chief of Police

These days, there cannot be many more difficult jobs than being a cop in the United States. It’s reached such a point that in many ways, I can liken it to being a member of the military, serving overseas in a hot zone.

I say that because much like in the military, we in the law enforcement community are in the business of making critical decisions that impact people’s lives, and yet have to make those tough decisions with insufficient information. We are going to make mistakes. We can’t not make them.

We are encountering criminals with high-capacity firearms who are becoming more sophisticated at being criminals every day. They are cold, calculating and clearly have no problem killing people, particularly people in our inner cities. We also deal on a daily basis with more mental health issues than mental health professionals. Read More & Share

Lessons from the Battlefield: A Case for Evidence-Based Policing

greer-photo-8x10By Lieutenant Stuart Greer
Morristown (NJ) Police Department

As twin bombs detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians heroically rushed into danger to save lives.  The first responders found that they were dealing with devastation on a massive scale but utilized everything available to help those that had been critically injured.  One of the actions taken by a number of first responders was the application of makeshift tourniquets to victims who were in danger of bleeding to death from their injuries.  Those actions were reportedly responsible for numerous victims surviving long enough to reach a Trauma Center where surgical interventions were able to save their lives.

The decision to apply those tourniquets was not widely reported, but as we look back now, it is a perfect example of the evolution of an evidence-based practice that can have impact on the lives of police officers and those we have sworn to protect. Read More & Share

Leading Culture Change

debora_blackBy Chief Debora Black
Prescott Police Department

“The only thing of real importance that leaders do is to create and manage culture.” -Edgar Schein

As leaders of law enforcement agencies, we might well debate the accuracy of Mr. Schein’s statement as we daily face threats to the safety of people in our communities, challenges which threaten the credibility of our organization, and real dangers that risk the very lives of our officers. There is no debate, however, about the importance culture plays in creating effective police departments with strong connections with their community.

Given the events of the past 18 months and the widespread criticism of our profession, officers could easily choose to isolate themselves from the very people they are sworn to protect. If that happens in a department, the principles of community policing are weakened, ultimately leading to even greater distrust of officers, which undermines the overall effectiveness of the department’s ability to protect the community from harm. Read More & Share

Police Foundation Participates in Key Dialogue on the Future of Robotics in Policing

On October 27, 2016, the Police Foundation participated in a dialogue session with scientists, ethics experts and industry representatives on the future of robotics in policing.  The dialogue was sponsored by the S&R Foundation and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was described as the first session of the 2016-2017 Halcyon Dialogue on robotics.  The day-long discussion topic was titled: Promise and Peril of Military Robotics Tech used in Civilian Settings.

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According to the sponsors, “[t]hroughout history, numerous technologies originally designed for military use have found applications in the civilian sector, from radar to the Internet. In recent years, a similar transfer of technology has begun taking place across the field of robotics, and this trend shows every sign of accelerating. While once present only on the front lines, autonomous systems now patrol our borders, capture footage of our weddings, and may soon be driving us to work and delivering packages to our homes. Although these developments have great potential, however, the proliferation in civilian life of technologies originally designed to inflict maximum damage on a battlefield adversary raises significant ethical and policy questions – especially when they involve decisions that are made, at least in part, without human input. As evidenced by the recent use of a robot to kill a domestic terrorism suspect in Dallas, such concerns are not unwarranted. This dialogue will explore the “promise and peril” of this rapidly-evolving interaction between military and civilian robotics research, with the goal of fostering a better understanding of how to maximize the benefits associated with these new technologies while minimizing the risks.”

The Police Foundation was honored to participate in such a distinguished event and to contribute to future discussions.

New Essay: Law Enforcement Must Regain the Public’s Trust

PF On Policing logo final thumbnailPerhaps nothing is more important in law enforcement today than improving community-police relations. In a new essay, Police Foundation Senior Research Fellow and former police officer Dr. David J. Thomas discusses the challenges that law enforcement across the country must address in order to regain the public’s trust and improve police legitimacy. To read the full essay, click here or visit www.onpolicing.org.

If you would like to receive updates when new On Policing essays are posted, please click here to subscribe and indicate that you would like to receive information about the On Policing essay series.

Law Enforcement Must Regain the Public’s Trust

davethomas2By Dr. David J. Thomas
Police Foundation Senior Research Fellow

I write this as an African American male and as a retired police officer.

There is so much American history that some of America wants to forget. Quite honestly, we Americans have short memories when it comes to uncomfortable reality or truth that interferes with our way of life. For instance, if I bring up slavery, police would argue: “Slavery has nothing to do with where we are today. I am not responsible for something that happened 300 years ago.”

What is lost in this argument and what the law enforcement community fails to recognize is that our past is the root of problems today. Read More & Share

On Policing: Solving Crime & Enhancing Community-Policing Using GPS Tracking Technology

PF On Policing logo final versionIn the newest essay in the On Policing series, Lt. Travis Martinez from the Redlands (CA) Police Department discusses how his department has successfully utilized advanced GPS tracking technology to not only apprehend criminals, but to also increase community satisfaction in the police department. To read the full essay, click here or visit www.onpolicing.org.

If you would like to receive updates when new On Policing essays are posted, please click here to subscribe and indicate that you would like to receive information about the On Policing essay series.