Mental health professionals discuss psychology of officer-involved shootings

Mental health professionals discuss psychology of officer-involved shootings
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Chilling images surfaced after a suspect pointed a gun at a Cincinnati police officer resulting in a deadly officer-related shooting in Madisonville on Saturday.Officer Genesis Steele’s body camera reveals the fatal shooting in great detail. Steele was initially responding to a call for an erratic driver nodding off at the driver’s wheel. Police said the suspect, Leonard Brewington, was driving a car that was stolen from Springfield Township. Body camera footage shows the suspect, Brewington, 34, pulling a gun from a car in a United Dairy Farmer’s parking lot and pointing it at Steele. Police later said the gun was loaded. Cincinnati interim police Chief Teresa Theetge described the scene during a news conference. On Brewington’s actions seen in the body camera, she said: “Not only is he armed, but he’s bringing his firearm up to his eye level with Officer Steele as his intended target.” gave several verbal commands for Mr. Brewington to get on the ground.” Steele ended up firing five shots. Brewington later died at University of Cincinnati Medical Center.”Steele is on administrative leave for at least five days and is set to undergo counseling. WLWT looked into what kind of counseling someone like Steele may encounter and how someone, including herself, would be able to know when she is fit to return to work.When it comes to recovery, it’s important to note Steele found herself in two realities: Pulling the trigger that ended Brewington’s life and narrowly escaping death herself after a loaded gun was pointed at her.To understand how Steele goes forward, WLWT spoke with mental health professionals. The HealthCare Connection behavior integration director Karen Bradley-Anderson said someone like Steele would undergo observation by therapists to see how she is doing both in the immediate and ongoing timelines.This includes potentially engaging and identifying different traumas endured to know what kinds of potential triggers may result from the shooting. ike Steele may be able to recognize and avoid those triggers, especially when she is deemed able to return to work.”I think that just in terms of being a human being counseling is going to be ongoing,” Bradley-Anderson said. “Because how can anybody in any circumstance your job, my job, any job, have that kind of experience, whether you’re a police officer or not, and not be traumatized? And it’s not something we can get traumatized on and like, ‘Okay, I’m better now.’ It doesn’t happen like that. You know, we’re not designed to kill people or to be shot at and so even with the most dangerous job, you still don’t anticipate that,” Bradley-Anderson said of the officer- involved shooting. WLWT also spoke with UC Health psychologist and associate professor Erica Birkley. Her focus is to provide services and support to first responders and their families. Birley said after officers experience a highly traumatic situation, they will immediately go through an acute stress reaction that can vary from body to body. Birkley said the adrenaline released into the body could remain for up to two days after the initial event. She said it’s important to check on an officer’s physical and mental well-being immediately because they can have trouble carrying on with daily tasks as their brain catches up with their body, especially after making a split-second decision like pulling a trigger on someone. Birley said handling recovery and post-traumatic stress for local first responders is a moment-by-moment journey that should be handled with the same mindset and care as those in the military.”With our police officers, for example, they’re truly every day their family says goodbye to them not knowing if they will return home,” Birkley said. “And, so, they are charged with that same duty that we charge our service members and are absolutely serving of our high-quality care afterward to promote resilience and to promote recovery after a traumatic event like this. Birkley said the timeline for someone like Steele to return to work will be determined by following CPD protocol and through assessments and recommendations made by a team of mental health professionals observing her physical and mental wellbeing.This timeline of reentry could extend longer than the initial five days of administrative leave.Birkley encourages those in need of first-responder-related post-traumatic care to contact her for help and resources.People may contact Birkley at 513-585-7742 and email at Erica.Birkley@uc.edu.

Chilling images surfaced after a suspect pointed a gun at a Cincinnati police officer resulting in a deadly officer-related shooting in Madisonville on Saturday.

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Officer Genesis Steele’s body camera reveals the fatal shooting in great detail. Steele was initially responding to a call for an erratic driver nodding off at the driver’s wheel.

Police said the suspect, Leonard Brewington, was driving a car that was stolen from Springfield Township.

Body camera footage shows the suspect, Brewington, 34, pulling a gun from a car in a United Dairy Farmer’s parking lot and pointing it at Steele.

Police later said the gun was loaded.

Cincinnati Interim Police Chief Teresa Theetge described the scene during a news conference. On Brewington’s actions seen in the body camera, she said: “Not only is he armed, but he’s bringing his firearm up to his eye level with Officer Steele as his intended target.”

Theetge said Steele followed CPD protocol by explaining, “Officer Steele gave several verbal commands for Mr. Brewington to get on the ground.” Steele ended up firing five shots. Brewington later died at University of Cincinnati Medical Center.”

Steele is on administrative leave for at least five days and is set to undergo counselling.

WLWT looked into what kind of counseling someone like Steele may encounter and how someone, including herself, would be able to know when she is fit to return to work.

When it comes to recovery, it’s important to note Steele found herself in two realities: Pulling the trigger that ended Brewington’s life and narrowly escaping death herself after a loaded gun was pointed at her.

To understand how Steele goes forward, WLWT spoke with mental health professionals.

The HealthCare Connection behavior integration director Karen Bradley-Anderson said someone like Steele would undergo observation by therapists to see how she is doing both in the immediate and ongoing timelines.

This includes potentially engaging and identifying different traumas endured to know what kinds of potential triggers may result from the shooting.

From there, someone like Steele may be able to recognize and avoid those triggers, especially when she is deemed able to return to work.

“I think that just in terms of being a human being counseling is going to be ongoing,” Bradley-Anderson said. “Because how can anybody in any circumstance your job, my job, any job, have that kind of experience, whether you’re a police officer or not, and not be traumatized? And it’s not something we can get traumatized on and like, ‘Okay, I’m better now.’ It doesn’t happen like that. You know, we’re not designed to kill people or to be shot at and so even with the most dangerous job, you still don’t anticipate that,” Bradley-Anderson said of the officer- involved shooting.

WLWT also spoke with UC Health psychologist and associate professor Erica Birkley. Her focus is to provide services and support to first responders and their families.

Birley said after officers experience a highly traumatic situation, they will immediately go through an acute stress reaction that can vary from body to body.

Birkley said the adrenaline released into the body could remain for up to two days after the initial event.

She said it’s important to check on an officer’s physical and mental well-being immediately because they can have trouble carrying on with daily tasks as their brain catches up with their body, especially after making a split-second decision like pulling a trigger on someone.

Birley said handling recovery and post-traumatic stress for local first responders is a moment-by-moment journey that should be handled with the same mindset and care as those in the military.

“With our police officers, for example, they’re truly every day their family says goodbye to them not knowing if they will return home,” Birkley said. “And, so, they are charged with that same duty that we charge our service members and are absolutely serving of our high-quality care afterward to promote resilience and to promote recovery after a traumatic event like this.

Birkley said the timeline for someone like Steele to return to work will be determined by following CPD protocol and through assessments and recommendations made by a team of mental health professionals observing her physical and mental wellbeing. This timeline of reentry could extend longer than the initial five days of administrative leave.

Birkley encourages those in need of first-responder-related post-traumatic care to contact her for help and resources. People may contact Birkley at 513-585-7742 and email at Erica.Birkley@uc.edu.

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