After two police officers were shot in just four days, including one killed in the line of duty, some Indianapolis Metropolitan Police officers and their families are on edge.
This week, volunteer officers with IMPD’s Professional Development and Police Wellness Program were deployed to every district in the city to make sure each officer is coping with the traumatic events in a healthy way.
“Officers aren’t going to admit to you that they’re scared, but I guarantee you that they’re thinking about things,” said Sgt. Ron Brezik.
The program was developed about three years ago out of necessity. While many area police departments offer an Employee Assistance Program which offers confidential counseling to officers, some would choose not to go. Even if they did, the departments are not kept in the loop about their recovery.
IMPD Captain Brian Nanavaty decided enough was enough and took the steps to facilitate help for his fellow officers.
“We’re not psychologists, we’re not doctors… we’re the front line,” explained Sgt. Brezik. “We’re the ones who come in and say, ‘We feel you’re having a problem. This is how you need to deal with it.’ And if it goes beyond our expertise then we refer them to the professionals.”
Sgt. Brezik said this week, officers are dealing with a gamut of emotions including grief and even fear.
“Some react immediately. Some it takes a few days for it to sink in and then the stress and things like that start hitting them,” he explained. “We talk with them about that, say ‘That’s normal for you to be extra cautious, to be extra careful, to be extra nervous.'”
Those counselors don’t just work with officers, they also help their families. Sgt. Brezik told Fox 59 they have been working with Officer Rod Bradway’s wife and children since his death on Friday and will continue to do so even after his funeral on Thursday.