IMPD’s Police Officer Support Team helps officers cope with stress of the job

Indianapolis Area Crime

INDIANAPOLIS — Already this year, 104 people have been killed, an officer’s been shot, multiple officer-involved shootings have taken place and we’ve endured three mass shootings, including the Fed-Ex shooting. It has worn down our community, including our police officers.

“It’s been a very busy year for us so far, yeah, unfortunately,” Lt. Ron Brezik, Police Officer Support Team (POST) Commander, said.

POST is made up of 40 officers: both active and retirees. They are a specialized unit training in crisis incident stress management. They respond to any scene where they are needed when they are needed.

“We go through, ‘okay, this is what’s going to happen now, this is what you’re going to live through for the next couple hours, and then the next couple days, and then the next couple weeks,’” Brezik said.

Brezik explained police must be healthy to successfully protect the community. Brezik knows the job can take an emotional toll.

“It’s gonna drag you down both physically and mentally,” Brezik said. “Then if you’re like that, you can’t do anybody any good on the street.”

POST was created in the 1980s.

“To help combat or try to do something about police suicides,” Brezik said.

POST is the link between the initial trauma and help down the road, if necessary. Brezik said the team responds to more than just violent crime.

“Seeing a 6-year-old kid killed in a car accident and you have a 6 year old at home,” Brezik explained.

Brezik said this confidential peer support team protects not only officers and their families, but the community as a whole.

“We’re the shield, so we can’t show weaknesses,” Brezik said. “We have to control that scene, otherwise we’re going to get destroyed by people, literally, and they’re going to get hurt, or the public will get hurt.”

Brezik said IMPD also helps other departments launch their own POST.

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