PTSD – Returning To Duty After Critical Incident Or Military Combat Deployment- Policy For Reintegration




Timms, Terry

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)



Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is becoming more recognized among law enforcement officers around the world. Years ago, officers would overlook the symptoms associated with PTSD and would try to work through it because of the stigma associated with the illness. Today, there are thousands of police officers around the nation with previous military service while others are currently serving in the National Guard and Reserves. Among these peace officers who have served in combat and regular officers without military experience who have encountered a critical incident are all too often undiagnosed with PTSD. There needs to be a standardized policy for law enforcement officers who have been involved in a critical incident, officer involved shooting and returning combat veterans which requires a formula for returning to work. The policy should be progressive in nature and should require an officer returning to duty after a critical incident to slowly integrate back into the routine duties they were performing at the time of the incident. The policy should mandate that an officer trained in peer support counselling will be partnered with that officer until such time the officer is cleared to return to normal duty activities. An officer should be educated about PTSD as well as the officer’s family. A family member can monitor an officer for symptoms of PTSD which he/she might not see or have denial about such symptoms. Having the officer partner with a peer support officer for integration purposes allows the peer support officer to not only educate the officer, but his family as well.


Police--Job Stress, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Police Psychology