Police union asking city for help treating officers with PTSD - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Police union asking city for help treating officers with PTSD

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ATLANTA (CBS46) -

Ken Allen, president of the Atlanta Police Union, said he is worried that too many officers are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, triggered by shootings and other traumatic events.

"We don't really prepare people for coming in and seeing a traumatic situation that is going on. A multiple car accident where you have multiple fatalities and any of those can cause a lot of stress within a first responder," Allen said.

Medical experts say stress can be debilitating, sending the victim into a tailspin of anger and depression, ultimately putting themselves and the public at risk. Allen said the union has started a conversation with the city about addressing the issue.

"What we are trying to do is get to the point where this is recognized and just get some programs, some awareness, some education - those types of things - with the officers and let people understand that this could possibly be an event that occurs," Allen said.

Connecticut allows police officers with PTSD to receive worker's compensation and other benefits if the officer uses deadly force or witnesses a colleague die. Similar legislation is being considered in Colorado and South Carolina. But some opponents of those efforts worry about the cost to municipal and state budgets that are already strained.

Atlanta City Councilman Michael Julian Bond said the concerns are valid, but he said something needs to be done.

"If the bill is not paid totally out of the city's coffers, maybe it is partnerships with nonprofits and other agencies or asking other medical associations or psychiatric associations to volunteer their time for counseling to be a resource for those individuals. We need to find a way to do it," Bond said.

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