There should be local, state and federal mandated training amongst local, state, federal law enforcement and the military regarding early detection signs of PTSD among officers. I can remember receiving a telephone call at home from one of my commanding officers. He ask me how I was feeling. I told him that I felt like someone beat me with a bat, lethargic, exhausted and achy. He stated, “maybe you’re coming down with the flu”. This was a 25yr veteran who was aware of the stressful incident I had encountered just days before. He should have been aware that this was my body reacting to all the stress and adrenaline that I had gone through just days before.
With-in months of this incident, I was back on patrol. While on patrol I received a radio call of an asthma attack of a 19yr old female inside a coffee shop located in the Bala Cynwyd shopping center. Radio announced that the medics were dispatched.
I arrived at the location. I went to my truck to get the bottle of oxygen we carried. As I entered the store I noticed a group forming near the counter. People were yelling, “over here”. I noticed a young black woman sitting against the counter having difficulty breathing. I placed oxygen over her face and reassured her that medics were on their way. With-in seconds the young lady went unconscious. I radioed to dispatch on the medics eta. There on their way, radio reports. I began to panic internally. I began getting extremely nervous. My breathing began getting heavier. I started to shake. I radioed again on their eta. There on their way, radio reported again. It felt like an eternity. The medics finally arrived and took the young lady to the hospital.
After this call, I was called into the supervisors office. As I entered the police department I went into the dispatch center for paperwork. There was a patrolman working the dispatch center. He stated, “you cried like a little bitch over the radio”.
I went to the supervisors office where I met the Sgt. on duty. He questioned me as to what happened on the medical call. He told me that, “we as officers are to show no emotions, be stone faced and do not allow any external factors to waver our emotions”.
He didn’t know that I was suffering from PTSD.