Tampa Police Launch “Operation Restore” to Help Cops Cope with Stress of Policing

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Training Designed to Ensure Officers are Making Good Decisions While Serving the Public


WHAT: Program founders will discuss the new, progressive training. Officers who completed the First Responders Post Trauma Training will then be available for one-on-one interviews with reporters.


WHO: Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor


First Responder Training Director Sister Anne Dougherty - TPD and FBI Chaplain, Franciscan Center CEO/President and 13-year member of the Tampa Bay Regional Critical Incident Stress Team


First Responder Training Clinical Director Dr. Eldra Solomon - forensic psychologist and nationally recognized trauma expert


First Responder Training Chaplain Rev. Rick Malivuk – 15-year member of the Tampa Bay Regional Critical Incident Stress Team, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and Tampa Fire Rescue Chaplain


WHEN: Tuesday, February 17, 2015 at 10:00a.m.


WHERE:  Franciscan Center, 3010 North Perry Avenue, Tampa


DETAILS:  The four-day first responders’ training helps officers process the stream of critical incidents and traumatic scenes they deal with on a daily basis throughout their careers. The program, funded by private donations, uses education sessions, group process, one-on-one confidential sessions and a proven scientific method for reprocessing traumatic events known as EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. The U.S. Armed Forces uses this evidence-based method to assist military personnel suffering from post- traumatic stress.


Psychologists, licensed mental health counselors, police chaplains and peers run the holistic training that helps first responders realize their responses are normal reactions to abnormal events. It ultimately arms first responders with new skills and resiliency for coping with future critical incidents.


Chief Jane Castor believes it is the agency’s duty to ensure officers have the tools to cope with the stress of their profession, “If officers are of healthy mind and body, they will stay connected with why they chose this profession - to help and protect those who can’t protect themselves. Every officer who has completed the program said it had a profound impact on them, myself included.”


Sixty-two first responders have completed the training during the eleven retreats that took place in 2014 and 2015. Six agencies have sent officers or fire fighters to the program; Tampa Police, Miami-Dade Police and Fire Rescue, Coral Gables Police, Tiffin Police (Ohio), Wapakoneta Police (Ohio) and a Retired New York City police officer.


The program is starting a spouse support group in March. They will also hold a reunion picnic for program graduates in May.



Laura McElroy