Police Union Wants PTSD Counseling For Memphis Officers

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(Memphis) There is new information about the officer involved in the shooting of a mental patient earlier this month.

The On Your Side Investigators looked at Officer Joel Dunaway's file and found out he'd been investigated for using excessive force in 2012 and, as we told you yesterday, he shot and killed another man last year.

His actions were found justified in both cases, but we wanted to know what is done to help officers involved in situations like that get mentally ready to patrol the streets again.

When officers are involved in a critical incident like a shooting they're immediately relieved of duty.

What we learned is it's partially for their own protection.

"If you're involved in a critical incident and had to shoot someone or someone tried to shoot at you or someone stabbed you, you need to be debriefed," said Officer Mike Williams, Memphis Police Association.

As president of the Memphis Police Association Williams makes the scene of most police shootings.

He said, "It's almost like time stands still."

Williams says often officers are in shock. That's why counseling is mandatory after any type of shooting critical incident and officers must be cleared by a psychologist.

"You got to go through was I right, was I wrong. I only had a couple of seconds to make that determination. how is this going to effect me. If I was wrong, then it's going to effect me and my family. I may even end up going to jail," said Williams.

However, but the Memphis Police Association wants the city to do more for the officers who are out there fighting crime on the streets of Memphis.

That's because of the types of crimes officers are now encountering.

Williams says more officers are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They can't sleep, have nightmares and flashbacks.

Williams says that type of treatment isn't offered by the city.

He said, "It's normally associated with individuals that have been in the military because they've been in combat zones and I'm telling you sometimes the streets in the city of Memphis is just like a combat zone."

We also learned today from the Memphis Police Association that the day before Officer Dunaway shot the mental patient, someone had shot at Dunaway and his partner.

They didn't get hurt in that incident, but Williams says situations like that add to the stress of the job.


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