APD talks trauma resources for law enforcement
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – While some might think officers are too tough to need some support, the Albuquerque Police Department knows that’s not the case.
Sometimes the emotions are immediate, and sometimes they take weeks to show up.
APD Deputy Commander Jay Ratliff says sooner or later, they always come after traumatic or stressful calls.
“They oftentimes come out behind the scenes, when the camera’s not rolling. They’re with their shift partner out at the substations, or they’re at home. So it does, it does come out,” said Ratliff.
Last month, KOB 4 saw a rare example of it on camera. After an APD officer saved a 5-year-old boy from serious abuse allegedly by his mom and her boyfriend.
“I don’t think there’s really anything that can prepare, when that moment happens, when it really affects you,” said Ratliff.
Ratliff says the best thing the department can do is educate officers about available resources for when it does.
They fall under the Behavioral Health Division, and include programs like peer support where officers and civilian staff volunteer their time.
“We also have long term counseling services, therapy, follow-ups and checks. And then we also have, you know, some mandatory times of some of our units that we annually need to have a mental health check in,” Ratliff said.
Ratliff says the department’s Field Services Bureau shoulders a lot of the stress and trauma, since they’re the first responders.
Every officer starts in the bureau after the academy. He knows this time of year can be especially tough when domestic violence increases around the holidays.
“Our suicide rates go up during holiday seasons in experiencing that loneliness and loss. And so we are prepared to offer support for our officers and their families as well,” Ratliff said.
Because leaders believe a strong department can help build a strong city.
“Across the board, having those strong supported officers responding to, again, some of society’s worst case scenarios that are thrown at us on a daily basis is in the benefit of everybody,” said Ratliff.