HAMILTON COUNTY - Dozens of police officers from across the state came to Carmel, Monday, to learn how to handle veterans dealing with stress-related disorders.
As our veterans return from war, some are having difficulty settling back in. One in five veterans are suffering from some form of PTSD. Add onto that their military training and combat experience and a veteran in a standoff situation can bring a number of challenges for police.
That's where the "Supporting Veterans in Transition" class comes in.
Members of IMPD's Crisis Negotiations Unit and Carmel Police officers were among those listening to Darren Sroufe. The former Evansville police officer and current owner of Law Enforcement Training and Consulting teaches courses just like this one all over the country.
"The more we can educate folks the better understanding they have to what a veteran is actually going through," he said.
His eight hour course teaches officers to look for the stressors triggering the veteran and then how to communicate with them and which resources they can use to aid in that.
"If they say right off the bat you know 'I’m an Iraqi vet' or 'I’m an Afghan vet'… that’s gonna give us an indicator first of all. And then what’s the stressors involved that they’re facing that day and how can we help them in a healthy way cope with what they’re facing.”
Officers also have to keep their own safety top of mind.
"They’re very familiar with weapons and tactics and various things that we’re trained in, they have a more intense training level in," said Sroufe.
He hopes the conversation about veterans and mental health continues.
“It wasn’t a vacation. You know it was truly giving of themselves, of their families, and loved ones," said Sroufe. "And recognizing that and do what we can to assist them with getting help with that.”
The course is paid for by a grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance.