Occasionally, there are incidents that officers and civilian employees are exposed to that fall outside the realm of what is normal, even for law enforcement. Other incidents may be more common but have the potential to be highly traumatizing. These can include exposure to child victims, line of duty deaths, suicide of an employee, graphic traffic accidents, or seeing or hearing someone commit suicide or harm someone else. One strategy to promote resiliency and recovery from exposure to such incidents is a group critical incident debriefing. Participants may benefit from the opportunity to talk about the event and describe their specific roll. It can also be helpful to hear from others what their involvement was in order to put all of the pieces together. Critical incident debriefing groups are co-facilitated by a psychologist and either a Police Chaplain or member of the Peer Support Cadre. The purpose of such debriefings is to allow participants to share their experience only if they wish. Another common element of debriefing groups is to provide information to promote resiliency and even growth from exposure to critical incidents. One important aspect of group debriefings compared to individual debriefings is that the group members often support each other as they discuss the incident.
Command officers and supervisors should consider utilizing our debriefing services when employees in their command have an exposure to a critical incident. To determine if such a debriefing is warranted and potentially beneficial, please contact BSS at 213-486-0790. Time is of the essence following such incidents.