DAVID MUHLHAUSEN: Good morning and welcome
to the National Institute of Justice. I’m very pleased to see so many people here
today to learn about the important research and educational work we conduct at the National
Institute of Justice. The researchers you will hear from today are
pioneers in the field of the Evidence-Based Policing Movement. They are leading scholars and LEADS scholars. For those of you not familiar with the LEADS
Scholarship Program, LEADS stands for Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Science. One of our LEADS scholars here today, Sgt. Obed Magny is from the Sacramento Police Department
where they just lost an officer. In fact, Obed flew here to DC from California
directly from the fallen officer’s funeral. All of us here at NIJ and OJP are saddened
to hear about the loss of Officer Tara O’Sullivan from the Sacramento Police Department. She was 26 years old and had been on the force
for only six months. Our hearts go out to Sgt. Magny and to all his colleagues at the Sacramento
Police Department and Officer O’Sullivan’s friends, family, and loved ones. NIJ has long recognized that police and corrections work are among the most stressful and dangerous of professions. The safety, health, and wellness concerns
that draw us together today are not new. And this work is not becoming any less stressful,
not any time soon. Over 20, 20 years ago, NIJ started funding
research into fatigue and its impact on officer health, safety, and performance. In 2005, we funded research examining the
connection between shift work, exhaustion, sleep disorders, and officer health and wellness. Although we have invested significant resources
into many factors affecting the health of police officers and corrections officers,
there remains a need for further research into factors affecting officer safety, health,
and wellness. In 2016, NIJ began a concentrated effort to
address these issues. We integrated science and evidence-based tools
into our safety, health, and wellness strategic plan. This strategic plan focuses on stress, PTSD,
and suicide in law enforcement, as well as the broader criminal justice community. Sadly, NIJ’s initiatives come at urgent time
when suicides and PSTD [PTSD] are a rising concern. NIJ will focus our efforts and never let up
until these tragedies are a thing of the past. Some of the sources of stress in law enforcement are known or have been known to generations of officers. These include consistent exposure to people
in distress and pain, the responsibility of protecting the lives of citizens, threats
to officer life, and an officer having to control emotions at all times even when provoked,
and the unpredictable pace of the daily job. Situations can arise quickly in an officer’s
line of work. To be blunt, these and related issues have
not always been given the focus they deserve. Importantly, the corrections community is
sometimes neglected. This is even though the stresses and dangers
of working in prison conditions are as great, if not greater, than those faced by police
officers working in the general population. NIJ’s strategic plan includes studies of the
unique safety concerns present, indeed omnipresent in correctional settings. We fund this research now and will continue
to do so. Our research delves into agency policies and
their effects on officer stress. For example, overtime work has long been rewarded,
even required during short staffing. There is reverse incentive to earn more money and show loyalty and commitment by working overtime. But there is often a price in health, safety,
and wellness. As DOJ’s research and evaluation agency, NIJ
has a commitment to evidence-based practices. We demand rigorous evaluations to determine
what works and what doesn’t work. One way we determine the most effective practices
is by supporting our LEADS scholars in the field. Today, we have among us several practitioners
who are LEADS scholars. They are developing science-based interventions
that can be applied in many settings including with their own agencies. Many of them are working on health and wellness-related projects. LEADS scholars please rise, stand up. I want to give these people a round of hand
[applause]. I asked you to rise because I want to recognize
all the hard work you put in both in the execution of your official duties and for the additional
research you take on your own time, so thank you very much. NIJ began this Research for the Real World
series back in 2009. We want to feature research that is changing our thinking about criminal justice policies and practices. We seek to hear from both practitioners doing
research and researchers striving to impact practice. Panels like the one today are critically important
because they allow us to discuss our work and share it with people it directly affects. Our panelists today include researchers who
are subject matter experts in the field of stress and trauma, as well as two practitioners
with experience in treating officer stress and trauma. NIJ works shoulder to shoulder with these
practitioners. I look forward to hearing our speakers discuss
the work they do and how it will support officers in their varied work environments every day. It is now my pleasure to welcome Principal
Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Justice Programs, Katie Sullivan who will
kick off our discussion. KATHARINE T. SULLIVAN: Hello. DAVID MUHLHAUSEN: Before joining the Department
of Justice, Katie was a Colorado State Trial Court judge for 11 years. She has heard over 45,000 cases during her
years on the bench including domestic violence cases, sexual assaults, cases involving drugs
and alcohol. Before I give Katie the floor, I want to say
that NIJ is very excited to have Katie here. She’s a dynamic leader and she just exudes
enthusiasm, and NIJ, I believe, is operating, I would say, in fifth gear. Now that Katie’s here, we have to find our
fifth gear because we’re just going to have to push even harder and do more. So Katie, you have the floor. KATHARINE T. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Dave. KATHARINE T. SULLIVAN: Yeah. Thank you. Hey, this is so great. Thank you so much. It’s a real privilege. I want to tell all of you I started last Monday
in leading the Office of Justice Programs, longtime friend of Dave Muhlhausen’s and know
how deep his commitment is to the work that’s being done here at the National Institute
of Justice. So when he asked me to come and just deliver
a couple of quick welcoming remarks, the answer is “absolutely yes.” particularly for this series. The Research for the Real World is something
I think is vital. I understand this program has been going on
for many, many years and I know that David and Howard work very hard to make sure that
this series in particular is relevant, and helpful, and have figured out ways to make
it more dynamic and useful to all of you. So I really appreciate so much the work that
Dave and Howard are doing and this is going to be a great panel. Thank you to the panelists. You guys have gone out of your way to come
and be here today. We so appreciate your expertise and so thank
you very much. I know this is going to be a great discussion. I do want to talk just briefly about trauma
and policing. So I was never a police officer, I was a prosecutor
and then presided over a rural trial court for 11 years in Colorado. And so in that–when you’re a rural court
judge, you have to do everything, right? So you’re listening to a motion, you know,
of you know, of–sort of a motions hearing, you know, for a DUI stop and then you got
to take a break because someone comes in with a temporary protection order or an eviction. I mean, you really wear so many hats as a
rural court judge and you really get to see a very, very big picture. As a–and I have always so deeply appreciated
law enforcement and the job that you all do. And I always looked at being a prosecutor
as being a partner to partnering with law enforcement, that the way a prosecutor’s office
works very effectively is to create partnerships and collaboration, and really good strong
communication. When I was kind of a brand new district attorney,
the domestic violence laws-so this would’ve been in 2000-in the state of Colorado changed
and we went to the mandatory arrest. Some of you are too young to know that it
wasn’t always a mandatory arrest situation, but in 2000 in reaction to the Violence Against
Women Act, many states adopted this law instructing police officers that if there was probable cause, they must arrest in a domestic violence situation. Our officers were having a difficult time. It was a–it really marked a very big change
in the way that they approached these cases. They weren’t completely sure how to handle
it, they didn’t–all of them did not have a great attitude about it. And so I started as a district attorney in,
you know, this rural part of Colorado and so I said that every domestic violence case,
I would go ahead and go out with them. I would, you know, just to call me and pick
me up, and I would go to the scene with them while we were figuring all of this out. And so very shortly after that about 11:00
at night, I got a phone call, got in the car, the guys took me out and it’s pitch black in the middle of nowhere on like a ranch in Colorado, you know. A woman is hysterical. She’s with the victim’s advocate and she keeps talking about how he has a gun, he has a gun, he has a gun. And its pitch black and she says, he ran that
way into the pitch black, right? And the officers, you know, go–start trying
to look for him. And didn’t find him that day but he did turn
himself in the next morning, you know, she was put in a safe shelter but I will tell
you that–what year are we? I mean, I am so old. It’s 2019, right? So this was 19 years ago and I remember every
single detail of that event. Every detail. That was one time that I went out with these
officers. And forevermore that experience has reminded me that you guys do that every day, multiple times a day. You’re going into those situations that when
you roll up on something, you have absolutely no idea what might happen. And I have to tell you first of all thank
you. Thank you for what you do. Thank you for protecting us. Thank you for, you know, protecting your communities. But I also want to say that I–just from that
one event, I think about how you have to create skills in order to be able to get up out of
bed every morning to go roll up on the next call. There are certain things that you do internally
and emotionally and all these brilliant people are going to talk about it in order to, you know, keep doing your jobs especially in this culture, right? I mean, right now, we just have a lot of tension
around law enforcement and communities. And so that doesn’t help in any way, shape,
or form. So I think this idea of trauma and secondary
trauma is a vital discussion and I’m so appreciative that Dave has brought this and used this as
a topic for this panel. I also want to talk about the suicide rates
among law enforcement which Dave mentioned. Suicide is the worst outcome of the mental
health challenges faced by law enforcement. But police also have higher than average rates
of depression and PTSD. Just very quick anecdote, I ran a drug court
and a DUI court. We had–our teams would all come to, you know,
Colorado, to Denver, and we’d have a big conference. In one year, they focused on secondary trauma. And, you know, we took the test. I thought it was such–I was like oh my God. Like I have a docket that is so busy, I love
to work. I got to go sit here and listen to this stuff
about secondary trauma, right? Like this has nothing to do with me. I sit up on the bench, all this stuff. Now I start taking the little tests. Turns out I’m sort of in the, you know, high
yellow zone moving into a red zone. I mean, it was stunning to me. And I really had a prism change and I know
that it isn’t always in the criminal justice world. We don’t always talk about the emotional health
of the people in the criminal justice world. but I think we’re starting to and I know that
NIJ is committed to this and this panel is committed to it. And so with an open mind, I think that you
guys are going to learn a lot and hopefully a lot about yourselves in ways that, you know,
you can help not only yourselves but the other people that you work with, so thank you very
much. Thank you to everyone on Webex. This is a very popular series. I’m absolutely thrilled to be here and so
appreciate all of you. Thank you. HOWARD SPIVAK: Good morning, everybody. I’m Howard Spivak on the–I have a mic. I’m the Principal Deputy Director of NIJ and
we’ll be moderating the panel. And this session is going to be different
from many of the other Research in the Real World sessions in that we’re not going to
have four talking heads standing up here giving presentations but we’re going to have a facilitated
discussion about this issue of stress and trauma and how we deal with it, which I think will allow for some exchange and some interesting conversation. And we will eventually open things up for
questions and comments from the audience as well. You know, as David mentioned, NIJ over the
last three or four years has increased its efforts in the area of safety and wellness
in–for people working in the criminal justice system. But actually one of the surprises for me when
I first came to NIJ was the fact that NIJ had in fact funded some of the early research on sleep deprivation and its impact on functioning at work. And that was particularly relevant to me because
I’m trained as a physician. I spent two years during my training working
36 hours on, 12 hours off with all of 28 days off for vacation during those two years. So not only was I being asked to make life
and death decisions with 30 or more hours of being awake, but I literally fall asleep
driving home and pass my house. And it was incredibly dangerous and in fact,
some of the research that NIJ has funded contributed to the change in the medical training system
that has stopped that from happening. I wish it had happened before I started training
but at least it’s happening now. So on that note, I think I’d like to get started
and I’d like to introduce the panelists. To my far right is Chris Scallon who is a
retired sergeant from the Norfolk Police Department and is currently director of Public Safety
Support for Chateau Recovery. He has 24 years of experience mentoring law enforcement officers who experienced critical incidents. To my right is John Violanti who’s a researcher
professor at the University of Buffalo and is an expert in the field of police stress,
health, and suicide. To my immediate left is Wendy Stiver who’s
a major in the Dayton Ohio Police Department, is also a LEADS Scholar. Did you stand when David asked? You didn’t? Okay. And is also currently a practitioner in residence at NIJ, so she’s spending a lot of time here doing work. And among other things, she’s done work in
addressing the issue of officer stress and trauma through my mindfulness training. And then to my far left is Dan Grupe who is
an assistant researcher at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and his background
is in studying resiliency to stress and trauma. And I’d just like to get things started and
I think a nice way to do this is to start with Wendy and have her talk a bit about some
of her own personal experiences as well as what she’s seen with some of her colleagues
on the job with respect to stress and exposure to trauma and implications of that. So Wendy. WENDY STIVER: Thank you, Howard. So I’ve–I just celebrated I guess my 20th
anniversary. I don’t know if celebrated is the right word
because I remember in the Academy, all they told us–the only thing I really remember
about the academy is every single senior police officer that talked to us said, “Enjoy it
because it’s going to go really fast.” And it feels like it did and at the time,
the idea of my career just zipping away before my eyes was sad. So I’m glad I made it to 20 years but it’s–I’m
a little wistful that the fun part of it might be behind me. But I started in ’99 in Dayton, Ohio. I spent five years in the military before
that. I started in ’99 in Dayton, Ohio and in 2000,
one of my friends was shot. She was shot in the–in the collarbone. The bullet skipped across her spine and left
her paralyzed from the neck down. She survived another two years and succumbed
to her injuries. At the same time, she was in the ICU, my dad
was in the ICU getting–having a triple bypass. So I actually was bouncing back and forth
between visiting my friend, Mary, and visiting my dad. Less than a year later, I was involved in
a critical incident and was very fortunate to survive that. My partner and I responded to a burglary alarm
and it appeared like a couple of guys wrapping up at a construction site on a Friday night. And when we asked them for their identification,
one of them ran to his truck, got in his truck, and it looked like he was about to drive away. My partner ran up to the driver side and was
pulling on the door handle which the door was locked, so he couldn’t get in. So I thought “Oh, no. You’re not getting away that easy.” So I went to run around to the passenger side
of the truck and before I could clear the back end of the truck, the driver threw it
in reverse and dragged me probably about 40 feet through this construction site. My partner shot and killed him. And so that’s the only reason I’m really here
today to talk about it. And that actually wasn’t, like, the scariest
thing that happened to us that week because a couple days before we got sent to a domestic
violence call and we approached this house and we’re listening at the side of the house and we hear what sounds like somebody racking a shotgun. So we look at each other and we’re like “Oh,
crap, we got to go.” So he goes to the back and I go to the front. I knocked on the front door and this guy comes
to the front door. And the next thing I know, there’s a–the
barrel of the gun, like, that big in my face. It looked that big at the time. And about the same time, I realized I had
a gun in my face, this guy realized he was pointing a BB gun at a cop. And fortunately, that little bit of delay
and that little bit of recognition allowed him to drop it and me not to shoot him because
I had that tunnel vision we hear about. And what I didn’t see was the pregnant woman
and the small child standing behind him. And the reason that that actually was the
scariest thing that happened to us is because all of our colleagues showed up and chastised
us for not shooting this guy. And so often, it’s not necessarily the critical
incident that causes the most stress in what we do. It’s the–it’s the way we get treated and
the way we interact with our colleagues and sometimes the way our organizations respond
to these things. So, to quote one of my favorite LEADS scholars,
Jason Potts, it was a time in my career where I just run around with my hair on fire, trying
to get into as much excitement as I could. And all of these things just kind of built
up. The organizational response wasn’t that great. And then I moved into a phase in my career
where I just started working all the time and I went the entire year of 2007, I didn’t
sleep more than three hours consecutively. I just lived on three-hour naps. And as we talked about that sleep deprivation
just made things worse and worse and worse and I ended up in the hospital. And so, I’ve always had kind of an interest
in how we can do this better and how we can maybe leverage some of the research and some
of these ideas that are out there into taking care of our folks a little bit better so we
don’t lose them halfway through their careers. Because at this time, I actually had realized
that I had had about enough and I was looking at going to culinary school. Some of you have eaten food that I’ve prepared
and you can–you can vouch for the fact that that probably wasn’t a great idea. So, I haven’t really been very good at a lot
of the other things I’ve tried. I also tried recently brewing–craft brewing
at home and my neighbors will vouch for that probably it wasn’t a good career move either. So, I’m here and I–and I’ve got this wonderful
opportunity to really spend some time digging into some of the research and looking at ways
that we can improve not only the way we respond to these issues but the way we prepare for
them. Because I think Dan and John are going to
tell us that the way that we prepare ourselves to survive and navigate these careers is probably
going to have a much bigger effect on how we respond to them afterwards. HOWARD SPIVAK: Thank you. Actually, following up on that, John, let’s
bring some science to this. Now, we know that these kind of experiences have considerable effects on both neurological and biological function which both affects the immediate responses but also has long-term consequences. So, can you speak to some of the physiological
issues that connect with all of these experiences and what the potential impact of that is? JOHN VIOLANTI: Sure, doctor. Thank you. I was a police officer as well. I was a New York State trooper for about 23
years. And many of the things that you talk about,
we’ve all been there, you know, with a gun in the face and the–and the horrible things
we see. I think most of our research in the past 14
years has involved the effect of post-traumatic stress disorder or stress on the physiological
and disease aspect of police officers. And we’re finding some amazing things. We’re looking at this over time and we’re
seeing that, for example, people who have high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder are three times more likely to have the metabolic syndrome, which is a sort of a list of components
that lead to heart disease. So we’re finding them at higher risk for cardiovascular
health disease simply because of the trauma they experience in this work. Additionally, sleep deprivation is an important
thing we’ve looked at. And many officers are surviving on three hours
sleep. They’re working 10- to 12-hour shifts. Some are doubling back because of the shortage
of personnel out there. They go to court after work. They go home. They work their second job. They take care of their family. And the next night, they go back to work again. And some officers have admitted falling asleep
at the wheel. Other officers cannot handle that deprivation
aspect. We see sleep deprivation leading to increased
risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes. We see the diet of people who work shift work
is absolutely terrible. There’s no place to eat for one thing. And in general, it’s food that is not good
for health. There is a lot of different aspects of post-traumatic
stress disorder. I’m quite interested in that aspect. And I think one of our most recent studies
had to do with the effect of PTSD on the ability of police officers to make decisions on the
street which is scary. We found, for example, in our brain imaging
studies that post-traumatic people who have had high levels of post-traumatic stress symptomatology had more difficulty in making decisions which we measured in the lab by the way. But still, the parts of the brain that are
required to make good decisions are essentially blocked off from–by post-traumatic stress
disorder. So it’s a scary thing. And there are–we need to find interventions
to help people deal with that. It’s my view that we should be proactive about
this, that at the academy level, people should start to be made aware of the trauma they’re
going to experience for the next 20 years. A lot of young people coming in the police
work today have never seen the horrible things that police officers see. They’ve never seen a dead body. They’ve never seen abused kids, horrible traffic accidents, terrible assaults, bodies in the bathtub, all severed. This is quite a shock. This is reality shock. And after the first year on the job, we see
developing aspects of chronic stress and post-traumatic stress disorder. So, I say proactively start at the beginning. Inoculate them, get them ready for what they’re
about to experience. Otherwise, we have to go into a reactive mode
which is not the best mode to go into. Disease has–is prevalent in police officers. Heart attacks, cardiovascular disease are
one of the most common types of death. We just looked at a study on that and found
that 48 percent of the officers who had job-related illness died on the job of a heart attack. This is very scary. We’ve also seen that the rate of heart disease
is increasing. We looked at the heart attacks over 21 years
in a sample and found that the–there’s a significant increase in cardiovascular deaths
in police officers over a period of 21 years. Much of this is related to stress. You know, lifestyle certainly has a lot to
do with it. But stress has a lot to do with affecting
our cardiovascular system. I think it’s essential that we address wellness
to bring that back into policing. It’s starting to come out. I applaud the young leaders of today who have
good ideas about mental health and want to help. You know, it’s–and I think it’s important
to understand that leadership is very important here. And many officers that I talked to say that
with the support of the organization, with the support of leadership, I always do much
better. We need to integrate that. We need to integrate leadership. And that officer that goes out on the street
where the rubber hits the road is very important. And if the top person on the top of the organization
cares, everybody else cares. I saw this lately–recently in New York City
at the NYPD. We had a seminar on police suicide. Three hundred people from all over the world
were there. And Commissioner O’Neill started this, supported
this, said in his speech that, “Hey, I care. I care about you people, you know. I care.” You don’t think that made a big impact. It did. Moving over to suicide which I, you know,
I’ve been studying suicide for 20 years now and I still have not found an answer. But I can tell you in my opinion, police suicide
is part of police work. It’s part of the job. And you might say, “Well, maybe it’s relationship
problems, maybe it’s finance problems, maybe it’s things on the outside of the job.” But think about how much the job affects those
outside things, quite a bit, quite a bit. It’s part of the equation. And I believe that. Some people don’t. I do. And when we look at suicide rates, we see
that we are as an occupation at an–at an increased risk for suicide. And we’re not the only occupation. Physicians certainly of late have been subject
to burn out and suicide as well. But we are one of the leading occupations
in suicide. And we could stop this. You know, we could stop this with the support
of the organization. I think it’s essential that leadership be
trained in suicide, at middle management, and at the top to deal with this very serious
problem we have. We’ve seen clusters lately and this is very
disturbing, Chicago, New York City. We need to take action on this. HOWARD SPIVAK: Thank you. So, Chris, we know–we also know this isn’t
a one size fits all and that people have different reactions and different responses to sometimes
the same experiences. So how do we better understand that? How do we understand who’s most at risk? How do we understand the variations and how
to deal with that and create strategies that accommodate those variations? CHRISTOPHER SCALLON: So, thank you. It’s really an honor to be here. Not unlike the Major, I’m here as a result
of being what this was all about. I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress
disorder, acute depression with suicidal ideations. I attempted suicide three times as a police
officer. So I get it. This job can be overwhelming. And on agreement with the doc, that it kind
of bleeds over into everything. So, the big thing is-and especially in running
like peer support units is that we look for the big things, right? And early on in my career, I was working in
narcotics and I had a guy talk to me. He’s like–he’s like, “You’re missing a lot
of stuff when you’re doing your searches.” And I said, “Well, because I’m searching for
a gun.” He goes, “No. Search for a razorblade.” So when we start focusing our searches and
start identifying these little things, we’re going to find more stuff, as opposed to just
addressing the big things. And again, it’s interesting that we have the
stuff about how this job is stressful. This job is very stressful and it puts us
in some very bad places. But we were–we’re not born in a vacuum. We bring with us our culture, our upbringing,
you know, and it’s interesting to me because I was, you know, 20 years, 24 years goes like
that. And I see these folks coming in and there’s
no life experience there, for the most part. But then I also see at the same time veterans
coming in. So, if you have a combat veteran coming in
or you have somebody that’s still living with mom, you know, going through the academy,
those are two very specific individuals. So how do we address that? I think we address it by allowing the–by
creating a context or an atmosphere in which it is, A, okay to ask for help. It’s okay to say that you’re struggling with
something and not have it being met with, like, the Major was talking about, you know,
“Why didn’t you shoot the guy?” You know, “You weren’t here, so, you know.” It’s a–it’s a–everybody has their own opinions. But it needs to be top down. If the people on top and executive-level management
aren’t supporting this, now let’s be honest, really supporting it, not checking a box because,
you know, I have to do this because, you know, it’s police suicide, click, yeah. We got somebody you can talk to. That bothers me a lot, and we’re seeing that. So, if we get the upper echelon on board. A while ago, I was speaking with a chief of
an agency and he said, “Chris, change comes from the bottom up.” And I was like that’s a coup. That’s like–you know, we’re revolting against
you. Why don’t you drive the ship and tell us which
way to go? Recently, there was a police chief in Northern
Virginia that came out and spoke about how he was struggling with post-traumatic stress
disorder. What it did for that agency, it made it okay. And that’s ultimately what we need. We need to make it okay because the trauma, the stress, the anxiety, PTSD, it exists on a spectrum. You know, there’s high functioning and low
functioning. Unfortunately, I got to the very low functioning
phase but I could’ve gotten tagged at any single time along my journey, but I didn’t. I–because I don’t want it. Anybody ever been to a call where you’re like–you
get back and you’re done, you’re like, “You know, guys, I was very emotionally charged?” Do you–no, no. This–we make jokes and, you know–you know,
stuff like that. So, we need to start switching it around and
start making it okay. And that can only happen, you can have all
the best people in the world working in these agencies, it cannot happen unless the head
of that agency recognizes it as an importance. The problem is a lot of people don’t want
to recognize it for a simple fact. And this–and this kills me every time. I was–I was speaking at a Midwest agency
and I was talking about trauma and I tell my story of suicide or attempted suicide,
and PTSD, and shootings and all this stuff. And a couple folks came up to me afterwards
and they’re like, “I’m listening to me on the stage.” I’m like, “Yeah, I get it.” You know, because it’s–it’s funny. It’s like we–I equate it to this old music
video from Blind Melon with this little girl walking around in a bee costume and she’s
like this outcast. And then she comes across all these other
people dressed as bees. Well that’s what it’s like when you talk about
trauma openly. I’m no more embarrassed of my diagnosis that
I would be if I broke my leg. I don’t. So when people see that, they’re drawn to
it. So unfortunately–or fortunately two of the
individuals I spoke to left the agency and got help. They needed it. I got a phone call from somebody that was
working with that agency that said, “You know, hey, this is what happened.” I’m like, “That’s great. They got help.” Unfortunately, the head of that agency was
upset that now they are two people shy of a full complement. If manpower is the issue, then we’re not doing
anything. It’s the people that matter. And the most important thing that an agency
and the most–the most powerful thing that an agency can have is healthy individuals
within it that aren’t afraid to talk. HOWARD SPIVAK: Thank you. So, Dan, you’ve done a lot of work around
resiliency, how do you develop resiliency? How do you teach it? How do you reinforce it? How do you prepare people in ways that allow
them to moderate some of these effects or deal with some of these experiences? DAN GRUPE: Yeah, that’s a big question. You know, there are-just to pick up on some
of what Wendy and Chris said-some definite risk factors that we know, people who are
not resilient exhibit. So one thing is the experiences, the lifetime
experiences that you’ve had. So, early life adversity, exposure to adverse
childhood events is a huge risk factor. We talked about exposure to trauma and something
that both Wendy and Chris kind of mentioned. The exposure to traumatic events is something
that to some extent is expected when people go into policing, and there’s multiple studies
that have shown that the impact of traumatic events is actually less predictive of the
development of PTSD than people’s perception of the day in, day out stress associated with
the work, and especially the organizational stress. So, when we’re thinking about resilience and
developing resilience, part of it is about building skills within the individual. And we can talk about ways that we’ve been
looking at doing that in Madison. But part of it is really about the organization
and having an organization that supports–that supports resilience. And I think not just saying, not just paying
lip service to this in saying we want our officers to be healthy and well. We’re not providing them with tools and resources
to do that, but actually modeling it–modeling it from the top. One other thing, and Chris spoke to this as
well, that determines who’s resilient and who’s not in the face of trauma and adversity,
is the way in which you relate to that traumatic event, the way in which you identify with
it, the way in which you’re able to kind of integrate that event into your life, or the
way that you distance yourself from it. So, there are studies showing that people
who experience traumatic events but have what’s called a dissociative response, kind of like
an out-of-body nonintegrated experience with that event, those people are at higher risk
of developing PTSD. So I think individuals who are resilient are
able to acknowledge the fact that they’ve experienced some of the worst human suffering
that people can bear witness to and give themselves permission to express emotion, to not avoid
the experience of emotion. I don’t know if we want to talk now, or if
it’s in the next part of the panel about ways in which we’re trying to actually cultivate
resilience and train some of these things, but we do believe in the work that we’re doing
that this is not just something that you’re born with or not, it’s not the case. But if you experience some of these adverse
events, you’re on a trajectory and there’s no way to get off of it. We think that this is something that we can
train. We think that there are skills that we can
help people build. HOWARD SPIVAK: All right. Thank you.