The average person experiences about four events in their lives that could trigger PTSD. The average career cop encounters between 100 and 400 incidents that could trigger PTSD. Retired Abbotsford Police Chief Bob Rich knows this all too well.
In early 2015 Chief Rich lost two active members of the police department by their own hand. Their deaths shook him to the core. He was forced to look inward at his leadership, at the culture within his police department and in the first responder community. What was happening that PTSD and stigma rates were so high?
Chief Rich took on the responsibility of identifying the source and changing the culture. His first priority became the wellness of his team. Rich says, “These are women and men who put their lives on the line everyday to keep their community safe. In return, it is my job to keep them safe.”
He identified that a “suck it up” culture was one of the root causes and it was counterproductive putting everyone at risk. He and his team went to work to implement those needed changes. Then came the killing of Constable John Davidson, which rocked the policing community in Abbotsford, the Lower Mainland and the province.
Thanks to the support of the Vancouver Police and other police officers who took over law enforcement duties in the city for more than a week, the Abbotsford PD was able to take a knee, psychologically, physically and emotionally. Bob Rick says, “As a result, we didn’t lose another member – which can happen.” In Ontario over the past year, nine officers took their own lives.
Bob Rich is determined to help other police departments do what Abbotsford has begun to do – create a culture that understands the trauma of horrific incidents and supports one another.
We invited Bob Rich to join us for a Conversation That Matters about caring for the well-being of all first responders who care about us.
Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue presents Conversations That Matter. Join veteran broadcaster Stuart McNish each week for an important and engaging Conversation about the issues shaping our future.
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21st Century Policing (w/ Adam Palmer, Chief of Vancouver Police) - https://youtu.be/7DfOTR4ESsE
How the demands of policing are changing (w/ Wally Oppal, former British Columbia Attorney General) - https://youtu.be/JbJLKscCJ5k
ctm273 #ptsd #mentalhealth #trauma