Regional Police Departments Form Critical Incident Stress Management Team


11/2/2016

Eight police departments from the greater Boston area today announced the establishment of a Regional Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Team. The team, which was founded and will be facilitated by the Cambridge Police Department, also includes members of the Arlington, Belmont, Brookline, Chelsea, Everett, Somerville and Watertown Police Departments. The purpose of the program is to help officers prepare for and respond to critical incidents with a focus on their wellness and resiliency.

Members of this Regional CISM Team will serve as regional peer support officers to assist participating communities in responding to major critical events and to those officers who have been affected by these incidents. Each of the participating departments have three to five officers who were trained by ICISF Faculty in collaboration with Peer Support Service LLC in Critical Incident Stress Management. Certified officers will be activated, as needed, by participating agencies to voluntarily attend group crisis interventions, including demobilizations, defusing and debriefings. They will also be available as ongoing peer support resources for affected officers within the participating region.

“Preparing for critical incidents and their aftermath is an important proactive approach we as a regional police community absolutely needed to take to more effectively support the wellness of our officers,” said Commissioner Christopher J. Burke of the Cambridge Police Department. “Present day policing is under a hyper-microscope and, as a result, the stresses officers are facing now are greater than anytime I can recall over my 32 years in law enforcement. I applaud our neighboring communities for their willingness to join us in developing and establishing this valuable resource for all eight jurisdictions.”

According to Chief Daniel O’Leary of the Brookline Police Department, “Police officer wellness is extremely important. This team will provide an opportunity for an officer who has just experienced a traumatic event to talk with people who understand what they went through and what they will experience in the coming days and weeks. This is a unique opportunity to support officers as they process their feelings and concerns stemming from an incident they dealt with. Our officers deserve this and more.”

“It’s extremely important for us as police leaders to ensure that we do everything we can to help our front line officers be resilient and to cope with the everyday stressors that they are dealing with on our streets,” said Chief Steven Mazzie of the Everett Police Department. “We’re used to taking care of people in crisis, but this gives us a better chance to have a safety net when our people may be in crisis.”

Chief Brian Kyes of the Chelsea Police Department said, “I have seen first-hand the type of trauma and stress officers have had to deal with after navigating a critical incident. Having as many resources and support services in place is not only going to lead to a healthier officer, but a healthier police department.”

“Following the events in Watertown in 2013, we came to realize how important this critical incident team is to have in place,” said Chief Michael Lawn of the Watertown Police Department. “This regional team gives us a valuable tool to be better prepared to serve our officers.”

“I think this is a very important program and one that is long over-due,” said Chief Richard McLaughlin of the Belmont Police Department, “It is also important, as noted, that the eight departments have come together to form this partnership and regional effort, but more importantly are able to offer this assistance and resource to our department members, when they are asked to manage and deal with all the situations that they are presented with on a daily basis.”

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