Saanich PD becomes first BC police department to take trauma training

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WatchOn Monday, the Saanich Police Department wrapped up a six-session-training-program to help officers with trauma resiliency.

Everyday, police officers everywhere are put under extreme stress in situations where their lives are on the line.

And unfortunately, oftentimes when they leave the job, those experiences don’t leave their minds.

“In our community, um, their worst day is our every day,” said Saanich Police Department Det. Lori Timpson.

“These are trauma-exposed professionals. It is part of their everyday experience to be exposed to these things,” added University of Victoria Professor Dr. Tim Black.

The Saanich Police Department is doing its part to improve the mental health of its officers. The department recently becoming the first police department in British Columbia to provide trauma resiliency training to its members as they’ve partnered with the University of Victoria and Wounded Warriors Canada.

READ MORE: Wounded Warriors Run raising money to help those with PTSD

“A lot of people don’t really understand. They feel like they’re going crazy, they feel like maybe something must be wrong with them, and that’s part of what we’re trying to educate them is that there’s some very natural processes,” said Black.

For years the topic of mental health hasn’t always been properly addressed within police forces, but with programs like this now in place, officers are hopeful that the days of simply just “sucking it up” will be a thing of the past.

“We just want to ensure that they feel good about coming forward and telling us that they’ve been exposed to traumatic events and get the support they need from us,” said Saanich Police Chief Scott Green.

“Knowing that we don’t have to suck it up and tough it out, that’s not helping us, that’s not helping our community,” added Detective Timpson.

And for the stigma to continue to fade away, it will take those in leadership positions to take the initiative.

“It all starts on the top, so this is a huge step forward in this community to spread that awareness to their members and allow them to say I need help if they need it,” said Jacqueline Zweng of Wounded Warriors Canada.

The six-session-training-program wrapped up this morning, but Both Uvic and Wounded Warriors Canada hope that this will encourage other police departments to jump on board.

Ben NesbitBen Nesbit

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