One of our directors at Badge of Life Canada / Insigne de vie Canada, Dr. Katy Kamkar, recently talked about the affect Operational Stress Injuries (OSI) have on our cops. She pointed out that it is especially true when a colleague is killed in the line of duty as what happened in Fredericton last week. Much of society has some idea what police and other first responders face day to day but unless you are actually directly involved, you probably have no idea what they face.
As a police chaplain and as a chaplain for Badge of Life Canada I hear the stories and even then, I have never been there. One cop that I spent time talking with had to leave the job for a year because they were having trouble coping with the stress of 20+ years at accident scenes that often included deceased children. The events of April 23rd with the van attack that killed 10 people and injured 16 others, even managed to affect this cop when he happened to come upon the scene by accident. PTSD is a cruel injury that doesn’t simply go away after a few visits to the psychologist.
Governments are slowly getting their acts together on this matter but some are still falling through the cracks. One of the issues centres around retired cops who were never diagnosed with PTSD. Those that perhaps even acted out due to there stress related injuries but were simply seen as “bad apples” who needed to “suck it up”. Some of these cops have never been helped and to this day have been labelled misfits.
For many if not most this is not a priority. I in fact reached out to a former police chief asking for help for a cop that he was very familiar with. There has been no response 3 months later because he is a very busy individual: he truly is.
I respect the work our police do day in and day out. As these organizations come to realize the damage inflicted on their men and women due to job-related injuries, hopefully even the past can be revisited to get help for those who served us so bravely. We have no idea but I do have some idea.
Hillar Alkok, Community Chaplain
Article originally published on LinkedIn by Hillar Alkok.
About the Author: Hillar Alkok, Chaplain. Hillar is currently a Chaplain providing assistance to members of the Toronto Police Service. Also, Hillar is a listed as a Chaplain via the Badge of Life Canada website as a resource for those wishing to connect further. Hillar has years of experience as a pastor, police chaplain, corporate chaplain, long term care chaplain, airport chaplain and wedding officiant. Hillar has facilitated Ethics and Anti-corruption training for the National Police Service in Estonia. Hillar has ministered in places like Malawi Mozambique, South Africa, Germany and Great Britain.