Tri States Public Radio Staff
Providing Help Instead of Making Arrests
Thu August 30, 2012
Illinois Police, Military Vets, and PTSD
Police officers in Illinois could soon be better trained to help military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
A new law (HB 5587) requires a training program on the disorder be conducted by the Illinois State Police Academy and the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board.
Macomb Police Chief Curt Barker said soldiers sometimes see some pretty terrible things, which makes it difficult for them to cope when they return home.
“So instead of just arresting them, I'm hoping that this training will help inform officers what solutions are available so that they can work with them to fix the problem and eventually help the soldier,” Barker said.
Barker said police often come across vets suffering from PTSD on domestic violence calls or when contacted by a family member who's concerned about the former soldier. He said in most cases, soldiers with PTSD are suffering from depression or they feel paranoid and anxious.
“I think this training is going to be good because it's going to allow officers to recognize those symptoms ... and the training should provide us with solutions. Ways to help them get in contact with the VA or get them to the hospital where they can see a specialist,” Barker said.
The new law takes effect January 1.