When a situation arises, police officers are typically the first on the scene, but unfortunately, not all have proper training on how to effectively handle trauma cases. It’s important for officers to be aware of how trauma presents itself in individuals. This way when they arrive on the scene we can avoid re-traumatizing the victim and provide correct strategies for respectfully handling the situation at hand.
Sherrie partnered with Chief Wiley Gammon, Atlanta Metropolitan College’s Chief of Police, to aim to educate officers about trauma-informed responses. Chief Gammon took it upon himself to complete over 100 hours of continuing education. He is committed to changing the misconceptions of trauma in the campus police force.
Sherrie is available to present to campus and city police officers on characteristics and behaviors individuals may hold when processing trauma, how to develop trauma-informed responses, and how to provide strategies for future scenarios.
One of the most important pieces of knowledge I seek to help officers understand is how trauma appears in a victim when they’re recalling their experience.
A trauma victim’s recollection of the assault will most likely come back in broken fragments or bits and pieces. Victims will appear very anxious, nervous, and could even be acting strange (laughing, smiling, shaking, etc.). Police are taught to interpret this body language as lying. When in fact, it’s merely trauma presenting itself in the victim’s body.
It’s imperative that our officers receive more than the current two hours of trauma training that’s required. Only 5% of sexual assault reports are false reported, but police officers don’t understand how trauma presents itself in the body. Therefore they’re more likely to not believe what a victim is saying. This is an issue that needs to be addressed.