As first responders, police officers are frequently the first criminal justice officials on the scene of traumatic, sometimes gruesome, events where they encounter victims, witnesses to violence, and children and family members exposed to violence. In addition, suspected perpetrators of crime may also have a history of exposure to violence, which can affect how they respond to police officers. As a result, police officers may experience immediate, persistent, and/or delayed physiological and psychological effects and responses to exposure to trauma on a regular basis.
How law enforcement organizations identify and respond to trauma can go a long way in helping individuals, communities and officers recover from traumatic events, build resiliency, increase collaboration, and experience healthier outcomes. On Thursday, August 15, 2019, SPI hosted a trauma-informed policing workshop for interested SPI sites. The workshop explained to participants how trauma affects many aspects of police work and the lives of officers and community residents, how trauma affects the behavior of individuals that police officers come into contact with, and provided concrete information regarding how several jurisdictions respond effectively to trauma-related issues. The workshop included presentations from law enforcement officers from across the country, SPI sites, and trauma-informed researchers.