EDISON—On any typical day, a police officer may be called to walk down a dark alley in search of a fleeing suspect, or quell a violent domestic dispute, or approach a car that’s been reported stolen.
These are among the many stressful situations that, over time, can take a terrible toll on police officers and their families.
To help officers deal with the stresses of the job, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan and Middlesex County Freeholder Mildred S. Scott are inviting them to a day-long seminar at Middlesex County College in Edison. “The Pain Behind the Badge,” is free for law enforcement officers and their spouses, or significant others.
More than 530 law enforcement officers from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Maryland have signed up to participate in the seminar, which is designed to help them recognize the symptoms of stress and depression and seek help before those maladies lead to suicide.
The program is being sponsored by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the Middlesex County Police Chiefs Association and MAGLOCLEN, a multi-state regional information sharing system for police.
“We are offering this training to help protect the brave men and women who work to protect all of us on a daily basis,” said Freeholder Scott, Chairperson of the County’s Law and Public Safety Committee. “It is our hope that participants will get the tools they need to deal with the pressures of the job in a safe and productive way. Our officers’ safety and health are of the utmost importance.”
To accommodate as many officers as possible, two sessions will be held, one on March 16, 2010, the other on March 18, 2010. Both programs will be offered from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Middlesex County College, in the Main Theater at the Student Center in Edison. Registration begins at 7 a.m.
Monroe Police Chief John J. Kraivec, president of the Middlesex County Police Chiefs Association, has been encouraging officers to attend. “The training has to do with the stress of the job and a lot of the things officers go through on a daily basis,” the chief said. “We are trying to get as many officers as we can to attend this very important training.”
South Brunswick Police Chief Raymond Hayducka, who is a past president of the county chiefs association, said, “Our association, in conjunction with Prosecutor Kaplan, felt the training should be made available to officers in the hopes of helping them deal with every day stress.”
Clarke Paris, a sergeant with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police, and Tracie Paris, a registered nurse assigned to a hospital emergency room and surgical unit, will present a variety of topics.
Included is a presentation on how untreated and undertreated stress and Post-Traumatic Syndrome Disorder can disrupt the lives of police officers.
In addition, the program will review police stress and depression, and will underscore the fact that help is available and that officers should be encouraged to seek assistance.
Participants may register in advance by contacting the MAGLOCLEN Training Department, 140 Terry Drive, Suite 100, Newtown, Pa,, 18940, or by calling (800) 345-1322.
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