BUFFALO, N.Y. — When police respond to situations, a lot of the times they're dealing with people who have gone through trauma. A new collaboration between University at Buffalo Police and the college's School of Social Work wants to better prepare officers for those calls.
"The better training we have, the better prepared the officers are, the better they're going to be able to serve the community that we work with here,” said UB Deputy Chief of Police of Administration Joshua Stich.
"The Institute on Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care that's housed within the School of Social Work is partnering with the University Police for an ongoing year-long coaching, training, and consultation component," said Susan Green, a clinical professor at UB's School of Social Work and the co-director of the Institute on Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care (ITTIC).
The collaboration has established an education and training program that aims to integrate trauma informed practices into the university police department. Those practices will enable officers to recognize trauma symptoms and engage people with an approach that takes into account a person's current circumstances and their past.
"We're looking at that as a way to help our officers do a better job and avoid the pitfalls of accidentally re-traumatizing someone or missing the clues if they're interviewing a victim or survivor that has gone through a traumatic experience,” Sticht said.
This all got going in August with a New York State Police senior investigator and Buffalo Police lieutenant training six University Police engagement officers.
"The folks that are doing the actual training and coaching, they have trained with behavioral trained individuals at the same time that they're law enforcement trained, so that in itself I think is a win win,” Green said.
The hope is to get everyone in the department up to speed with understanding how trauma affects a person and their ability to communicate with law enforcement.
"Training for officers never ever stops and we're just very lucky to work in this environment, where we get the support and resources we need to do that," said Sticht.