Critical Incident Response, Consultation, and Training

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Critical Incidents

Law Enforcement
Modern law enforcement poses unique and often dangerous situations for peace officers that are unlike other professions. Police, sheriffs, highway patrol, and others such as dispatchers in this portion of the first response community are routinely exposed to some of the more traumatic aspects of human life. Due to the graphic nature of what they are exposed to, they are normally and understandably more at risk for adverse reactions to critical incidents. As resilient as they are, they are also human. Here are some examples of traumatic events that can impact law enforcement personnel:
Below are Critical Incidents in Law Enforcement

  • LODD
  • Serious injury to a co-worker
  • Unexpected death of a co-worker
  • Unexpected death of a patient
  • Particularly gruesome incident
  • Dismemberment and/or large loss of blood
  • Witnessing a severely burned patient
  • Incidents involving death or serious injury/illness of a young child
  • Suicide of a co-worker or civilian
  • Murder/suicide
  • Death of one or more hostages
  • Assaults on self or others
  • Explicit threats of assault on self and others including colleagues and family members
  • Officer involved shooting even when the shooting is completely justified
  • Questionable officer involved shooting
  • Officer becomes a hostage
  • Compromised evidence resulting in release of perpetrator(s)
  • Civilian dies or is otherwise seriously injured as a result of department operations (e.g. civilian dies during a high-speed pursuit)
  • Catastrophic mechanical failures (e.g. gun jam during a firefight; loss of communications with operational chain of command)
  • Breakdown of incident command
  • Encountering overwhelming force
  • Working under threatening WMD conditions including biological, radiological, chemical, fire, and explosive
  • Prolonged exposure to death and dying within a short period of time
  • Incidents with particularly strong sensory stimuli (e.g. smell of blood, decomp)
  • Knowing the victim
  • Identifying with the victim
  • Victim is similar in age/appearance to you or a loved one
  • Other traumatic incidents within a short period of time
  • Prolonged resuscitation with negative outcome
  • Dealing with hysterical and demanding family members
  • Any incident that has compromised or could comprise one or more person’s ability to function

Note: If you are not certain if you or your organization has been exposed to a critical incident, you are encouraged to contact Dr. Brown for a telephone consult. He will help you assess the incident to determine what response might be appropriate.