By Libor Jany
AUGUST 24, 2018
After years with military, therapist Resmaa Menakem works with Minneapolis police
“We don’t take care of police officers from a human point of view. A police officer will go from watching a baby getting killed, or domestic violence, to a hit-and-run where someone has a gaping wound. And no one is asking, ‘How are you doing?’” Resmaa Menakem
BRIAN PETERSON – STAR TRIBUNE
Resmaa Menakem last year started offering counseling services for the Minneapolis Police Department. He says every call an officer goes on can take a psychological toll.
It got so that he could spot what ailed them almost as soon as they walked through the door.
And each time, Resmaa Menakem, then a therapist working at U.S. military bases across Afghanistan, closed his office door and listened as combat-weary soldiers and civilian workers poured out their hurt.
Since moving to the Twin Cities, his work soothing tormented minds has continued. Only now, his clients include police officers, many of whom also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Overseas, he heard about the constant rattle of insurgent gunfire and the makeshift bombs that regularly exploded in markets and outside restaurants and cafes. And he heard about what came next. Depression. Anxiety. Nightmares.
Here, he has continued to listen.
Over the years, more and more police agencies have come to recognize how officers are affected by trauma — not just from major emergencies like a mass shooting, but also the daily grind of responding to service calls. Now, many departments offer help for cops who are having difficulties.
In Minneapolis, Police Chief Medaria Arradondo has promised to transform the department’s culture “to realize that we recognize they’re not robots, they’re human beings.” Last year, the city received a $750,000 grant from the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), one of five U.S. cities chosen for a pilot program to “provide community outreach for collective healing and organization support for officer wellness.” And Mayor Jacob Frey recently proposed allocating $150,000 for counseling to help officers “process what they encounter in the line of duty and recalibrate between calls.”
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