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  • How do you deal with it?

    Prompted by a previous post about a baby being cooked:

    I can't even begin to imagine some of the scenes LEOs walk into, being some of the 1st who are on the scene....the psychological impact is more than many can handle LEO and non-LEO alike. What are some of the ways in which you deal with these stressors? Can you offer any advice on how a non-LEO (i.e. - medical professional) can respond in helping/assisting/supporting an LEO in a situation like this or any other situations? (Obviously each situation is different and warrants different responses) I am hoping to be provided with general information on the best things to say or not to say and therapeutic techniques I can research further, all being according to LEOs - the one's having the experiences.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    For me it's not bad when I'm there; I've got a job to do and I focus on that. Afterward I may have trouble sleeping or I may have a real crash after the adrenaline wears off; it all depends on the type of scene. If it's particularly bad I'll probably talk about it with trusted peers for a while afterward and that helps a lot.

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    • #3
      The bad stuff we see isn't what bothers me. It's the stress induced by the administration and supervision - expecting more and more to be done with less and less, restrictive policies, second-guessing. Things like that are far more stressful than dealing with crooks and bad crime scenes. Heck, the ugly scenes, the dirtbags and street stuff is what we all took this job for (anyone who says he or she took the job to "give something back to the community" or "to make a difference in a child's life" is either a liar or mental case). That stuff isn't really stressful. For most of us, it's actually eustress - good stress. Dealing with departmental matters is where the disstress comes from.
      Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

      I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

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      • #4
        Don't get attached...a case without a face. Sure it's hard when a baby dies but if you let it "eat" you up...you won't make it long in this career.

        The baby cases usually affect those with small kids at home. Talking amongst each other seems to help alot.
        This profession is not for people looking for positive reinforcement from the public. Very often it can be a thankless job and you can't desire accolades, because those are not usually forthcoming. Just do your job to the best of your ability and live with the decisions you've made.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ateamer View Post
          The bad stuff we see isn't what bothers me. It's the stress induced by the administration and supervision - expecting more and more to be done with less and less, restrictive policies, second-guessing. Things like that are far more stressful than dealing with crooks and bad crime scenes. Heck, the ugly scenes, the dirtbags and street stuff is what we all took this job for (anyone who says he or she took the job to "give something back to the community" or "to make a difference in a child's life" is either a liar or mental case). That stuff isn't really stressful. For most of us, it's actually eustress - good stress. Dealing with departmental matters is where the disstress comes from.
          I agree completely.

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          • #6
            If you work a larger PD in a big city, you are generally exposed to quite a bit rather quickly. At first it may be an eye opener and shocking at how ugly humanity can be towards one another. However you quickly become numb to seeing things and continue on with the job at hand. We can literally be at a gruesome homicide scene for hours without a break. The biggest topic of discussion may be where we are going to eat after it is over.

            Don't get me wrong things affect people differently and we each deal with it in our own ways. Some work out or do some type of physical activity, some find solace in their family, others talk amongst their co-workers or both. And some drink. Or some do all of the above.

            In my 19 years, I have just about seen it all and not much phases me. Having said that, I can never get used to seeing children as victims of anything. I still carry the faces of all of the children that I have come across while working this job, 3 in particular. Having a child or children die in your arms, when you are helpless to save them is something that can scar even the most callous old time cop.
            Last edited by Surf; 08-31-2008, 08:04 PM.
            The comments made herein are those solely of author and in no way reflect the opinions of any other person, agency or other entity.

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            • #7
              Humor, in many instances (though definately not the article you're referring to), also helps. When you're on scene you focus on your job. Do this, do that, interview her, arrest him, details, elements of the crime, details, interview the witness, details, crap it's gonna be a long night... etc. When it's all said and done, though, joking about some things helps to ease the stress. Of course... it's done out of public view, and may seem unprofessional, but then again we have a job to do. Distancing yourself makes it easier on your emotions, thus improving your performance in the field.
              sigpic

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              • #8
                Originally posted by CoffeeRoll View Post
                Prompted by a previous post about a baby being cooked:

                I can't even begin to imagine some of the scenes LEOs walk into, being some of the 1st who are on the scene....the psychological impact is more than many can handle LEO and non-LEO alike. What are some of the ways in which you deal with these stressors?
                You don't deal with it, you live with it. If you can't live with it you start doing stupid stuff and get fired, or you eat your gun.

                If you can't live with it you're in the wrong line of work and should quit while you're ahead and don't have to deal with it.

                NOBODY can deal with a baby in the microwave, NOBODY can deal with a two year olds brain squirted out of it's head by it's big brother backing a car over it, and NOBODY can deal with a scared little girl that has roaches crawling over her in bed that's afraid to talk to you and get mom and dad in trouble.

                But you can live with it by showing up and doing you job.

                Originally posted by CoffeeRoll View Post
                Can you offer any advice on how a non-LEO (i.e. - medical professional) can respond in helping/assisting/supporting an LEO in a situation like this or any other situations? (Obviously each situation is different and warrants different responses) I am hoping to be provided with general information on the best things to say or not to say and therapeutic techniques I can research further, all being according to LEOs - the one's having the experiences.

                Thanks!
                Good luck (sincerely), but I don't think there's really an answer to this one. Tell them they did a good job and did what they had to do.

                If they truly can't deal with it help them find another job before it kills them.
                "Why is common sense so rare?" - Me

                By the way.. They aren't "Clients" or "Customers" they're CRIMINALS... sheesh

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ateamer View Post
                  The bad stuff we see isn't what bothers me. It's the stress induced by the administration and supervision - expecting more and more to be done with less and less, restrictive policies, second-guessing. Things like that are far more stressful than dealing with crooks and bad crime scenes. Heck, the ugly scenes, the dirtbags and street stuff is what we all took this job for (anyone who says he or she took the job to "give something back to the community" or "to make a difference in a child's life" is either a liar or mental case). That stuff isn't really stressful. For most of us, it's actually eustress - good stress. Dealing with departmental matters is where the disstress comes from.
                  +1

                  there have been one or two that hit me kinda hard, but for the most part none of this has ever bothered me at all. i'll leave a scene that makes people throw up and go grab lunch. the violence, stupidity, self destruction doesn't affect me. now.... the politics on the other hand.....

                  what does kinda stress me a tad is - how oblivious most people seem to be towards how brutal and disgusting human behavior can truly be. the sheltered people irk me a little lol

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                  • #10
                    After many years and many incidents I have found that support from your fellow officers is a plus. I am a family man and have a spouse that supports me in every way, so I am able to get home and she will instinctively see that things are not normal and talk through it.

                    Some instances are still im my memory and pop up now and then. I can recall every photograph at one scene from years ago as I was the officer doing the pics. I don't think there is any way to "erase" these memories, you just deal with them.

                    While dealing with incidents regarding children it is a difficult situation. I do not know one officer that would not be touched in some fashion in an incident with a youngster. When you respond to a med call in a rural community where you know everyone, of a baby not breathing, and arrive to find a deceased child, it is not a game. It is real. It is hard to respond to help, to serve, and arrive and be able to do absolutely nothing. We are trained to take charge of situations others cannot control, so when things are out or our abilities it is tough.

                    You do your job, do it well and move on.

                    If I were to dwell on all of the incidents where there was death and suffering, I would not be doing this any more.

                    I would say that each person has a mechanism for dealing with these stressors and what woks for one may not work for another.
                    My faith keps me going as well.....

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