Recent officer suicides place spotlight on stresses of police work
Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson, who has made employee wellness one of the cornerstones of his administration, started a wellness support program after seeing the toll the job took on some cops at his former job with Metro Transit police, and how problems often went unaddressed because of a culture that demands that officers "suck it up."
After years on the job, some first responders develop PTSD, the effects of which can be brought on by smells, sights or even subtle sounds, according to psychiatrist Kaz Nelson.
"No amount of training is going to take away the sense of fear that somebody's going to naturally encounter when they're putting their lives on the line every day," said Nelson, vice chairwoman for education at the University of Minnesota's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. "Human beings are not built to deal with this kind of stress very effectively, even with good training and even if they're good people."