Post 9/11: Reflecting and Remembering
This year marked the 20th anniversary of 9/11 – an event that reshaped America and our law enforcement landscape.
As we remember those whose lives were lost in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and on Flight 93, we also remember the bravery and sacrifices of countless law enforcement officers, firefighters and first responders.
Unfortunately, many of the brave men and women helping that day still face post-traumatic stress injury (PTSI). It’s no surprise that police work can be stressful and dangerous, but this also significantly impacts their physical and mental well-being. While it is part of the job, the jarring and difficult nature of the 9/11 attack has spotlighted the need to better support mental health assistance in law enforcement.
Often, when law enforcement officers respond to an incident, they are the first to arrive and see people, both victims and criminals, at their worst.
In light of World Mental Health Day on October 10, we want to spread awareness for the need for law enforcement officers to have access to the right programs and technology to support their mental health and well-being.
Technology should also connect law enforcement agencies with mental health professionals and social services to respond to any incident that calls for it. Too often, police officers are not notified about whether there are citizens with mental health issues at the scene. In fact, approximately 20% of 9-1-1 calls involve a mental health or substance use crisis, and this number is only on the rise.
Our Connected Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD-to-CAD) is a critical software that tracks incidents and coordinates cross-jurisdictional and dual responses. It can connect with neighboring CADs – and paired with our Field Ops application – both can be utilized to quickly identify mental health and law enforcement incidents alike. Next-generation 9-1-1 systems can also help law enforcement respond quickly and make more informed decisions with access to critical data about a person’s behavior, such as whether they have a history of mental health, are prone to carrying a gun, etc. This type of information keeps our officers informed and prepared when responding to an incident – making our communities safer, smarter, and more connected.
We need to remember – it’s not just about the mental health of our citizens but also the officers who are responding to incidents daily. Mental health is one of the most complex issues facing policing today, but more needs to be done to destigmatize mental health services for our officers.
To open the conversation on mental health in law enforcement, this November we are partnering with Caron Treatment Centers for a two-part Trauma and 9/11 webinar series with the National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum: Facing Challenges, Together, Finding the Hope.
We are proud to partner with Caron, an organization that strives to restore health, hope, spirituality, and relationships, ultimately preparing individuals and families for lifelong recovery – especially after traumatic events. We also look forward to opening the platform by focusing on our shared experience from the 9/11 attacks so government, law enforcement officials, and our communities can better understand the nature of trauma in law enforcement’s ongoing work.
There’s so much we can do to bring law enforcement and mental health agencies together to support the physical and emotional health of our heroes, and we, as a community, must rise to the task. We rely on them in our time of need. They should be able to rely on us to help ensure they’re healthy – physically and mentally – so they can do what they do best: protect and serve our communities.