Critical Incident Stress Debriefing

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Critical Incident Stress Debriefing in Law Enforcement Introduction Many emergency workers, whether police, fire and rescue, or EMTs, do not always realize that they are survivors of trauma. Critical Incident Stress Debriefing, otherwise known as CISD is a term that is important for law enforcement agencies, to be aware of because it can help give survivors control over their life. A traumatic experience does not necessarily just happen to police officers or other emergency workers; instead they can happen to anyone. This paper is going to look mainly at the impact critical incidents have on emergency workers, specifically police officers, after engaging in a shooting. The purpose of this paper is to discuss what Critical Incident Stress…show more content…
An article by Leonard and Alison looked at Australian police officers who had been involved in a shooting incident and examined their coping skills and anger levels after the incident (1999). In the article, one group of 30 officers received CISD while the other group of 30 officers did not receive CISD or any type of therapeutic intervention. The results from this article showed that the officers who received Critical Incident Stress Debriefing “scored higher on active coping skills, positive reinterpretations, and overall growth” (Leonard & Alison, 1995, p. 156). The participants of the CISD group also said that they felt they had more help from colleagues then the group who did not receive CISD. However, regardless to these findings, the officers who received CISD also reported negative feedback. Many of the officers felt as though it was too short of an intervention and that they didn’t receive any follow-up after it had concluded (Leonard & Alison, 1999). The article by Leonard and Alison (1999) also discussed a previous study that had been conducted that found that 63% of officers believed that some sort of debriefing would be helpful after traumatic or critical incidents. For CISD to be most effective there are several different factors that need to be considered. One of the main aspects is that CISD should ideally occur between 24 to 72 hours after the critical stress incident has taken place and the sooner the better. Another important aspect for Critical Incident Stress Debriefing is to make sure that the focus of the debriefing remains on the traumatic event that took place instead of looking at one individual or singling out one person. Also important for agencies to remember when CISD has ended, some officers may still need to be provided with additional mental health services to help them deal

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