Mass. Police Start Support Group to Relieve Officer's Emotional Burdens | NECN
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Mass. Police Start Support Group to Relieve Officer's Emotional Burdens

Woburn Police's Critical Incident Stress Management Team hopes to relieve officers of emotional distress.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Although the fatal “ambush-style” shootings in Des Moines, Iowa happened hundreds of miles away, it still hits close to home for Woburn Police. (Published Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016)

    Although the fatal “ambush-style” shootings in Des Moines, Iowa happened hundreds of miles away, it still hits close to home for Woburn Police Chief Robert Ferullo.

    “The randomness of what happened last night maybe makes us worry a little bit more; worried about copycats,” says Chief Ferullo. “So you always worry.”

    Woburn Police have experienced this type of tragedy. Officer John Maguire was killed in December 2010. Nine months later, another officer was shot on duty.

    “Emotionally, it’s something you think about every day,” Ferullo recalls.

    Chief Ferullo says the death of a fellow officer, or a situation like Iowa where officers were targeted, does take an emotional toll, but he won’t let it affect him.

    “You can’t let it become your focus,” Ferullo explains. “At the end of the day you have to go do your job.”

    Police officers are often exposed to violence, which is why the Critical Incident Stress Management Team was started.

    Cambridge Police along with seven other departments are working together to help officers deal with the emotional burden of responding to incidents like the Iowa shootings or the shooting of two officers in East Boston last month.

    The goal of the group is to offer diffusion, where police are counseled by fellow officers after critical incidents.

    According to the chief, “these incidents are like brick in a backpack. Once that backpack gets filled it’s going to drag you down.”

    But the Critical Incident Stress Management Team hopes to combat this feeling and give officers the help they need.

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