The Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas recently trained 24 officers to serve as peer counselors for colleagues who have difficulty processing traumatic or critical incidents in the field.
Many of these officers recently participated in the inaugural Post Critical Incident Seminar at LEMIT, which is designed to help officers deal with the aftermath of tragedies on the job. Armed with their own experiences, these officers now will serve as peer counselors in future PCIS programs as well as in their own departments and areas. The next Post Critical Incident Seminar is scheduled for June 19-21 at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX.
“The program allows for peer support,” said Dr. Rita Watkins, Executive Director of LEMIT. “They come out feeling that they are not alone, that someone in their group knows what’s going on and what they are feeling is normal.”
The officers were trained by the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, a group dedicated to providing leadership, education, training, consultation, and support services in comprehensive crisis intervention and disaster behavioral health services to emergency response professionals. The three-day peer counselor training included an introduction to stress, crisis, and crisis intervention, as well as critical incident stress management. It featured hands-on exercises on communications and listening skills.
The peer counselors will participate in the Post Critical Incident Seminar, a three-day workshop which provides education on trauma, patterns of resolution, and field-tested coping strategies to promote recovery and resilience for officers in need of assistance. Peer support, offer by the peer counselors, is a critical part of the program.
For more information on the programs, call Dara Glotzbach at (936) 294-4807 or Mikal Greer at (936) 294-3756.