Temple Police program helps officers deal with stress - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Temple Police program helps officers deal with stress


Police officers go through some traumatic experiences, and Temple PD is helping officers deal with that stress.

According to a national study, more than 120 officers across the nation took their own lives in 2012.  Since December, 2011 the Temple Police Department has worked to decrease that number with a program called critical incident stress management.  Officers with the program say after a particularly traumatic event, the officers involved will come together and talk about it.  Each person will have a peer from the station to talk about what happened. 

Temple detective Marlon Reed and officer Michael Tackett say the main thing about the program is that it's confidential. Officers can use the program without their superiors knowing what they're going through. 

"We want you to know there's somebody out there that you can talk to," Reed said. "Somebody that understands, not going to judge you and has nothing but your best interest at heart."

"Before (this program) that was unheard of, that was a no-no," Tackett said.  "You're just supposed to man up and move on."

Tackett says most people would bottle up what they're going through and act like nothing is wrong.  Psychologist David Blackburn with Temple Scott and White says continuously doing that can build up a long term stress that can affect your life. 

"The trauma gets bigger, bigger and bigger," Blackburn said.  "So you don't have anybody to bounce off the ideas, the emotions, the thoughts and so you're kind of left to yourself."

"We go to some pretty grisly scenes," Tackett said.  "Whether that be a car accident, somebody murdered, something involving a child. I mean that's a lot of stress to deal with."

Tackett says for him, seeing children involved in an incident is something he has trouble dealing with. 

Detective Reed has also had his own experience when he was shot in the arm on April 3, 2009.  He brings the date right off his tongue when he describes what happened.  Afterward Reed temporarily lost the use of his right hand. 

"It was really hard to understand my usefulness because I really identified with being a police officer. That's who I was, that's who I am, that's what I identify with and so if I couldn't shoot, if I couldn't use my right hand, what was I going to do with my life," Reed said. 

Reed says he would have loved to have a program like this after he was shot. 

"It would've been a great help to me back then," Reed said.  "Especially when I was thinking about doing things to harm myself, when I really wanted to hurt myself."

Reed and Tackett both say if something happens they'll call the people involved to see how they're doing.  Reed also says the talks help each other to realize that they're not the only one going through some issues. 

"One of your main things is when you kind of break down in your own way," Tackett said.  "When you find out that you're not alone, that you're not the only one that's feeling that way, it kind of gives you a sense of relief."

Reed says he's gone through training to help people talk about what they're going through.  He says listening is the key. 

Temple police officers say programs like this are common in larger cities, but not normally for a city the size of Temple. 

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