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  • Critical Incident Stress Training: Waste of time or Mission Critical?

    We recently completed a POST-mandated CPT (Continuing Professional Training) cycle at our department. Part of the class was dedicated to Critical Incident Stress preparation (if you are thinking Grossman/Bulletproof Mind, sort of, but not exactly).

    Disclaimer: I have not been in a shooting/Critical Incident in my career (I was sworn in 2010), so I have no first hand experience in what it's like to survive a critical incident and live with the aftermath (media scrutiny, investigation, administrative leave, more scrutiny, lawyers, lawsuits, etc.).

    That said, our class was divided on whether this was a productive use of our extremely limited training time. Some people thought the class was great and allowed them to share about their own CIS issues which was productive and served as good therapy for them. Others in the class felt that the time could have been spent more effectively by honing the skills we need to survive a critical incident because the emotional training is less useful to us if we don't survive.

    Since I've only been on a few years and there is so much great knowledge and experience here, I was hoping to get some additional perspectives on this from
    other LEO's around the country. Is this valuable training or should we be working on DTAC, marksmanship, EVOC, etc?

    Thank you so much in advance. This could be a topic of greater conversational importance in our department, so all input/feedback is most appreciated.

  • #2
    CISM is mission CRITICAL.

    Everyone should have a working knowledge of the concept.

    You can have all the training in the world and SURVIVE the Critical Incident -----but succumb to the stress involved in the aftermath. CISM training helps to survive the aftermath.
    Last edited by Iowa #1603; 01-26-2014, 06:26 PM.
    Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

    My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

    Comment


    • #3
      Beyond what Iowa so eloquently made clear- CISM covers more than addressing your personal crisis incident, but how you may come to the aid of someone who went through a crisis. And these crisis incidents are not all job related- some are due to peripheral stresses, family issues, personal problems and the like.

      Too often folks decry these programs because they think it shows weakness in the face of stress- when nothing could be further from the truth. Further, stress isn’t always a one time event but often times a culmination of minor stressors that build and build. Small things can add up to monumental problems.

      Beyond the immediate mitigation these programs should touch on self assessments, avenues for seeking help and how to recognize potential indicators in your peers.

      Bottom line- absolutely worth the time and investment.
      Originally posted by SSD
      It has long been the tradition on this forum and as well as professionally not to second guess or Monday morning QB the officer's who were actually on-scene and had to make the decision. That being said, I don't think that your discussion will go very far on this board.
      Originally posted by Iowa #1603
      And now you are arguing about not arguing..................

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
        CISM is mission CRITICAL.
        Originally posted by sgt jon View Post
        Bottom line- absolutely worth the time and investment.
        This is training you may actually need and use one day. I found it very worthwhile.

        “Truth is not what you want it to be; it is what it is, and you must bend to its power or live a lie.”

        Miyamoto Musashi

        “Life Is Hard, But It's Harder When You're Stupid”

        George V. Higgins (from The Friends of Eddie Coyle)

        Comment


        • #5
          We (my agency) made a mistake and blew off the course.

          In 2000 my facility lost an officer to an off duty accident. This created hole in the agency. A core group of about 10 of us took the 4 day course.

          My Captain and I then developed a facility CISM policy that became the backbone of our agency policy. We used several near agencies for resources and cut & pasted their policy into one that worked for us.

          When we have a CI, the group meets with administration to plan the debriefing and/or other response. We have had two or three of our members take additional training to become members of the statewide Police/EMS/FD CISM response team.

          Once again-------critical
          Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

          My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

          Comment


          • #6
            This is great feedback - thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences. I really appreciate it. It sounds like this is pretty important stuff and I'm glad we devoted time to it.

            If you had a 24 hour training block every year for your team, how much time would you devote to each subject (CISM, DTAC, EVOC, marksmanship, TCCC, ROE/Use of Force, building search, entries, Active Shooter, etc.)?

            Sorry - I know that's a tough question, I'm just trying to get a sense for magnitude to help frame our internal department discussion/debate. Like most agencies, we have limited resources (time/money) and have to prioritize. Four hours of CISM represents approximately 17% of our total training time - too much? Too little?

            Comment


            • #7
              Looking through the Medline database, there is no clear evidence that critical incident stress debriefing works.

              A Cochrane review of study results concluded "There is no current evidence that psychological debriefing is a useful treatment for the prevention of post traumatic stress disorder after traumatic incidents. Compulsory debriefing of victims of trauma should cease."

              This doesn't mean we shouldn't talk about. The message, I think, is pretty simple: Working in law enforcement will expose you to bad things that will mess with your head. Don't be afraid to talk about what you're experiencing. In most cases, you will get over it. If you don't, seek professional help. I think we can get that point across in less that 4 hours.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by jay lee View Post
                This is great feedback - thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences. I really appreciate it. It sounds like this is pretty important stuff and I'm glad we devoted time to it.

                If you had a 24 hour training block every year for your team, how much time would you devote to each subject (CISM, DTAC, EVOC, marksmanship, TCCC, ROE/Use of Force, building search, entries, Active Shooter, etc.)?

                Sorry - I know that's a tough question, I'm just trying to get a sense for magnitude to help frame our internal department discussion/debate. Like most agencies, we have limited resources (time/money) and have to prioritize. Four hours of CISM represents approximately 17% of our total training time - too much? Too little?
                Understanding manning, costs and other constraints still- I would first advocate bumping up the number of hours ‘available’. The trend has been 40+ hours a year just for required training/in-service.

                Then look at injecting 20 minute blocks of roll-call training into the schedule. This requires a succinct and encapsulated subject that can be effectively conveyed in 20 minutes +/-. It can be legal updates, UoF refresher, policy notes, etc.

                When it comes to CISM there is no set standard. So much goes into what, why and how this training is delivered that it would be impossible to distill it down to a finite number of hours. There is no 1 size fits all. I would suggest taking some time to research the subject and having a look at the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress http://www.aaets.org/index.htm for a starting point.

                Then look to the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) http://www.theiacp.org/ViewResult?SearchID=1526 and http://www.theiacp.org/Model-Policies
                for model policies and related.
                Originally posted by SSD
                It has long been the tradition on this forum and as well as professionally not to second guess or Monday morning QB the officer's who were actually on-scene and had to make the decision. That being said, I don't think that your discussion will go very far on this board.
                Originally posted by Iowa #1603
                And now you are arguing about not arguing..................

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks for the feedback sgt jon - that's quality gouge. Unfortunately, the available training hours is WELL above my pay grade, so I'll have to tuck that one away for down the road. Roll Call integration is a great suggestion though. Thanks for also laying out the IACP resources.

                  Thank you to everyone here for your thoughts and contributions - this is all great info and will be useful for me in helping to shape our conversations/discussions internally.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Stress training is becoming recognised by businesses .

                    Comment

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