Only hours after the ambush that killed five Dallas law enforcement officers, mental health experts began thinking ahead, searching for ways to ease the long-term effects of the attack on the men and women who patrol the nation's ninth-largest city, reports the Associated Press.
Police psychologists in Dallas were quickly joined by counselors from the Houston and Los Angeles police departments, the FBI, and the Federal Air Marshals Service. As she watched the July 7, 2016, assault unfold on the news, Dallas philanthropist Lyda Hill immediately thought of research she had funded to help returning combat veterans. Maybe it could help police too.
A year later, Dallas officers are still grieving, but scores of them have received or are on track to receive specialized training in "mindfulness" and other stress-management techniques that aim to teach police how to better understand and control their emotions, both on and off the job.
"One of the most powerful things you can do is teach people that it's OK to be human. It's not possible to walk through this profession and come out unscarred. It's a difficult, difficult walk to be a police officer," said Richard Goerling, a police lieutenant in Hillsboro, OR, who teaches the mindfulness training.