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Dallas Police to Sideline Officers for a Month After Shootings, Other Traumatic Events

September 05, 2014  | 

Photo: Dallas PD Facebook
Photo: Dallas PD Facebook

On the heels of six shootings by police last month, Dallas PD commanders will now mandate that officers who fire their weapons go through more frequent psychological counseling and that they remain off the streets for a full month, reports the Dallas News.

Assistant Chief Tom Lawrence told officer association leaders of the plans Thursday. Some of the ideas are still preliminary. But he said the new strategy starts immediately for shootings. Changes are also expected to be made to how they handle officers who experience other traumatic incidents. The changes gave the association leaders some pause, but Lawrence framed the idea as a way to keep officers in good mental health.

The current department policy calls for officers in shootings to go on administrative leave for five days, which basically means they are paid to stay home. When it's time to go back to work, the officers must first undergo a psychological evaluation and qualify at the shooting range. They must also have follow-up chats with psychologists several months later.

The new policy would temporarily assign the officer to restricted duty at a desk job or a lighter assignment such as community affairs for 30 days. Lawrence said such assignments could help officers reconnect with supportive residents.

After the initial psychological counseling, officers would be required to undergo additional counseling 30 and 90 days after the shooting. Before returning to regular duty, they also will have to be evaluated in reality-based training scenarios.


Comments (7)

Displaying 1 - 7 of 7

Dice @ 9/5/2014 3:35 PM

I think that this could be good for our officers depending on the incident. As long as the department can handle the absence of the officers and it won't cause any work flow issues this is a positive move for officers to receive the care they will need after a traumatic event. I believe it's important for the officer to be psychologically analyzed before returning to work.

Pup @ 9/5/2014 3:49 PM

I feel there are pros & cons to this strategy. After the five days it should be left up to the officer. Some may feel its punishment and reject the idea. Why would the officer have to work community affair? This may back fire as officers could delay making a decision in a gun fight thinking they will have to take part in the aftermath, if they remain alive. I know I wouldn't approve of it.

Retired Chief @ 9/6/2014 3:08 PM

A post shooting psych should be mandatory BUT the amount of time required off should not be fixed at 30 days. It should depend on the circumstances of the shooting, how the officer is dealing with it and what the recommendation of the psych is. For some, 30 days off may not be enough (for example if a fellow officer was KIA in the OIS) but for others it may be perceived as punishment when they are more than ready and capable of coming back sooner. It strikes me as a "PC" kneejerk reaction to recent shootings and a rollover to public opinion rather than what is in the officers' best interests.

Retired Chief @ 9/6/2014 3:08 PM

A post shooting psych should be mandatory BUT the amount of time required off should not be fixed at 30 days. It should depend on the circumstances of the shooting, how the officer is dealing with it and what the recommendation of the psych is. For some, 30 days off may not be enough (for example if a fellow officer was KIA in the OIS) but for others it may be perceived as punishment when they are more than ready and capable of coming back sooner. It strikes me as a "PC" kneejerk reaction to recent shootings and a rollover to public opinion rather than what is in the officers' best interests.

TheRookie @ 9/6/2014 3:17 PM

Way to much time to second guess the incident & ones career/life. After I was injured on 6/15/08 & had to be off for so long it was not good. I had way to much time & several psychologist meetings. It was not good. Time opens the door of second guessing your self with, Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda.

Staniel @ 9/8/2014 10:01 PM

According to my research for my dissertation, the amount of time off the street should be based on the psy's recommendation. But the officer should not stay at home. Light duty is good, keeps him busy and within the support net. Kind of like issuing a new firearm the same day the duty weapon is put into evidence (I learned my agency is one of the few to do this). Stuck in public affairs? Not so good an idea. The public affairs office is supposed to be a buffer between the officer and the public, so why assign the officer to the very thing he should be protected from? So, most of it looks good on paper. It's how it will be put into practice that scares me.

Richard Hightower @ 9/9/2014 7:39 AM

This is the telling portion -- "go through more frequent psychological counseling" -- is code for we are going to find something to call them "not able to serve" and then used as an excuse to cut the officer loose w/o institutional protections and benifits. This is all about politicans circling their wagons and protecting themselves. I live in Dallas and the City Concell is VERY unfriendly to the Police due to Minority-centric driven politics.

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