Discussion: Onset of post-traumatic stress disorder
You are the sector highway patrol commander. Among the units under your command is a traffic homicide investigation unit. You notice that one of your traffic homicide investigators (TAIs) is acting sullen and withdrawn. You have observed him in both a professional and social setting. You know he is a terrific traffic homicide officer and that he has a loving and devoted family. You don’t believe the family situation is the problem and suspect it might be work related.
You review his last 90 days of casework and make some startling discoveries. In the past 30 days, he has responded to 14 traffic fatalities. The last six all involved children. You noticed that most were toddlers in the same age range of the officer’s own two sons. In one of the cases, a minivan flipped and burned with three young children inside. The very next case was an SUV that flipped over the median and crushed two children and their mother. The case following that was a family with three children on vacation. The father fell asleep at the wheel, crossed the center line, and hit a semi truck head-on, killing the entire family. The most recent was a school bus with a young child’s soccer team. They were rear-ended by a loaded dump truck, killing 7 children and putting 3 adults and 14 children in the hospital.
When you went to approach him, the officer told you to “leave him alone, he was alright.” This is not characteristic of him. You take the liberty of contacting his spouse and find that she is having the same problem with him a home, and that it is not from any domestic abuse.
In 5–6 paragraphs, address the following:
Do you think that the officer is displaying symptoms of the onset of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? Why or why not? Be specific.
What do you feel should be done in terms of rehabilitating this officer? Explain.
Consider issues like the employee assistance plan for the highway patrol. Consider various types of counseling and the legitimacy of removing the officer from road duty.
Will that help the situation or make it worse, given his attitude from your last talk with him?
What do you think are at least 2 potential outcomes if this behavior is not identified and dealt with? Explain.
What is the potential for this to become a chronic PTSD situation? Why?
Post a new topic to the Discussion Board that contains your responses to the above questions.
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