Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Reality of War: Vets Coming Home With PTSD (by HF)

{image taken from here}
The other night some officers on my shift had a run in with a recently returned veteran.  To the best of our knowledge, he had served honorably in Iraq, fighting for our country.  Some people had witnessed this guy going through a parking lot checking the doors on all the cars.  He was wearing gloves and acting very very shady, so they called it in.  He saw them looking at him and when one of the witnesses pulled out a phone to call us, he confronted them and asked them if they had a problem with him.  He then ran to his car and took off.  Two of our officers happened to be right near the parking lot and saw the guy tear out into the street.  Right after our guys saw the suspect leave the lot they got the call and realized that they had just witnessed the suspect leave.  They caught up to him and pulled him over.  During the ensuing traffic stop they caught the suspect attempting to conceal a Ka-Bar combat knife among other things.  The suspect kept telling the officers that he was a vet and that he didn't deserve the treatment that our officers were giving him.  He also mentioned that he had post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and that our officers were "picking on him," because of his "military tatoos." 

This encounter was a reminder to me that this nation has a lot of Veterans returning home.  Many of these brave men and women have had a very difficult experience and are continuing to struggle when they come back.  It's true that our society and even our government does not do enough for these wonderful volunteers.  It's also true that many of these soldiers come home with dangerous skills that law enforcement officers need to be aware of.  PTSD is a very real condition and when coupled with a knowledge of combat arms, can be very dangerous.  It's important that we show compassion for these heroes but it's also equally important that we be highly vigilent of the potential dangers that they bring.  PTSD exists in the law enforcement community as well.  This is a sensitive topic but one that needs to be addressed nontheless. 

Have any of your agencies addressed this issue?  If so, how are they handling this? As more and more of our soldiers, sailors, airman, and marines return home, I imagine more law enforcement agencies will have run ins with those who are struggling with PTSD.

3 comments:

suz said...

http://policementalhealth.blogspot.com/

PoliceCookie said...

my boyfriend was given a book called "Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement". I don't think it covered PTSD, but it had some very good information on dealing with stress and the effects.

jtblue3recon said...

Mix this up with returning gang members and it looks a bit more interesting. Aware of what someone can do if set off by anything and everything. I know,I had my time in hell called 'Nam. Officer HF,government and military departments like to avoid problems like for years. Now with more vets going and coming on multitours,things are breaking.

I have PTSD and sometimes it's not fun. Too much of everything at the same time. Dangerous skills? They told me that I would get a job with what I had learned. And the same will happen to you,fear,terror and uncertainty. Anger and rage. All I know I went for help when after all these years,going crazy with fear,anger,rage and terror. Help's there and use it before you lose everything.