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Critical Police Incidents

Reactions and Recovery
WithStephanie M. Conn

When a person is exposed to a traumatic event that involves shock, horror, or fear, it sets into motion a series of neurological events. Police are human beings and, as such, have the full range of emotions. This is a very good thing. When it comes to negative experiences, especially traumatic ones, there is a tendency to think in a number of ways that contribute to worsened outcomes, robbing individuals of their capacity to be resilient. Police are notorious for black or white/dichotomous thinking because they tend to work with matters of law. When police are exposed to traumatic events, it can take a toll on their spiritual beliefs. Police have identified their inability to help the victim as interfering with their ability to cope with their exposure to secondary traumatic stress. Police officers report changes in their spiritual beliefs after entering the profession.