Did you know that more police officers die each year from suicide than from assailants? While the day-to-day work of a police officer can take a visible physical toll, the emotional stress is harder to see and can be more difficult to diagnose and treat. Police officers are people too, who come to their jobs each day bringing their own feelings and emotions. They have emotional reactions to the calls they go on and without finding an appropriate outlet for those emotions, they can build up and do damage to an officer.
In response to that, last week EPPD staff, spouses and volunteers were invited to attend an 8-hour training called “The Pain Behind the Badge” that targets the emotional stress officers can experience as part of their jobs. While the department frequently provides training on the tactical aspects of an officer’s job, less time is spent dealing with the emotional toll police work can take.
The training session offered last week covered defining the different types of stress, recognizing the signs of suicide and the impact of stress on spouses and children of law enforcement officers.
The training was presented by Clarke Paris, a sergeant with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, and his wife Tracie, a trauma/ER nurse. The purpose of the training was to not only train officers and civilians on stress, but also to reduce police suicide by educating employees on the signs and symptoms of these stressors, convincing struggling employees that they are not alone and convincing employees that the help already in place does work and they should accept it.