We Can’t Transform Policing Without Addressing Trauma

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Route Fifty on 10/28/2021 by Tashante McCoy and Eric Jones

COMMENTARY | Studies show that many police officers suffer trauma on the job. Officer wellness programs can help them better serve their communities.

Public demand for police reform continues unabated nearly a year and a half since the killing of George Floyd. Congress, statehouses and city councils nationwide are weighing a dizzying array of proposals. These efforts are laudable, but most reforms ignore one vexing problem that haunts communities and the men and women who police them: trauma.

We’re both well acquainted with the perils and power of trauma from very different perspectives. One of us is a reform advocate who has lost loved ones to police shootings. And the other is a police chief striving to reduce use-of-force incidents and help officers cope with the psychological impacts of their work.