Books from Charles C Thomas Reviewed in 2015
Jones' AFTER THE SMOKE CLEARS: Surviving the Police Shooting - An Analysis of the Post Officer-Involved Shooting Trauma
Publishers: CC Thomas
Publication Date: 2015
Publisher's Title Information
This new edition represents a series of observations, suggestions, recommendations, and best practices following critical law enforcement incidents. Specific officer perceptions, anxieties, and thoughts are relatively predictable before, during, and after traumatic incidents. The author presents a detailed and involved set of concerns that might be considered by the individual, the individual's family, and the departmental administration The text is written with the street police officer always in mind - trying to combine the practical elements of the world of law enforcement along with the psychological dynamics behind them. This book is not for officers looking for information on tactical approaches or technical aspects of shooting scenarios. Instead, it is for officers looking to find out what happens in those seconds after one takes aim at a living person and pulls the trigger. It is also for those who want to know what to expect in the moments, days, and beyond after the shooting is over and why it is happening. The text is different from other police books in that it brings a better understanding of why police officers experience things the way they do so there might be a better understanding of the thoughts and feelings following a traumatic event, including the reactions of one's peers. This welcome new edition is an outstanding tool for promoting better command understanding and performance following a traumatic incident. It contains many skillfully organized insights and details that can be utilized to develop departmental support patterns. The text is an invaluable tool when confronted with a shooting incident.
Foreword by Ron Jones
Part OneSurviving the Police Shooting Chapter
and Introduction to Trauma
Departmental Responses to an Officer-Involved Shooting
Part TwoAfter the Smoke Clears
The “Bad Guy”
the Wounded Badge
Ready to Return
The Big Day Finally Arrives . . . And the Bomb Drops
Surprising Rekindling of Interest
Part ThreeTrying to Understand Things
What Approach Will Work with Officers?
Closer Look at My Own Struggle
Appendix A: Module VI: Post-Killing/Shooting Trauma
Appendix B: Immediate Effects: Doctor Somodevilla
Appendix C: Model Policy
Appendix D: Resources
In "After the Smoke Clears," author Adam Pasciak reviews concerns that might be considered by the individual, the individual's family and departmental management following a shooting. Rather than being a book only for administrators and clinicians, the book is written for the street cop--trying to combine the practical elements of the world of law enforcement along with the psychological dynamics behind them. The need for such a book is clear. The author points out that approximately 600 people are killed each year by police officers and, for each of those, there are three non-fatal shootings. Officers are involved in a minimum of 750 incidents each year where someone is killed. Rather than the typical media portrayal of the unaffected officer, almost every officer is affected negatively. This reaction is dubbed by the author as "Post Officer involved Shooting Trauma," or "POST."
Pasciak takes the reader precisely though the stages of a shooting incident and illustrates how POST occurs, from the immediate reactions during the incident, the initial reactions after the event has ended, a three day "after burn" stage and the long-term impacts. He covers each of these stages thoroughly, then moves on to departmental responses to an officer involved shooting, which too often negatively affect the officer even more. The need for a clear departmental policy to be followed following shootings is illustrated by the author's inclusion of a sample suburban shooting policy, covering the handling of the officer at the scene, post incident procedures, and stress recognition.
Considerable attention is given in the book to the mental state of the officer, with considerable emphasis on the need for counselling by a mental health professional, supplemented by peer support. The author cites a need for a mandatory visit to a clinician following the incident, after which the officer can elect to go for more sessions voluntarily, even with a different therapist apart from the department. He describes the process in this regard as a shared responsibility, with the department providing the resources and the officer's obligation to take advantage of them to avoid negative consequences, which include posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). At worst, if the department has no psychological resources available, officers are encouraged to find their own.
The author's information is the most current available, including the symptoms of depression and PTSD from the newest diagnostic manual, the DSM-V. In providing these, he notes that not everyone responds in the same way to trauma and, importantly, the post-response reaction may be delayed. The pros and cons of Critical Incident Stress Debriefings are discussed, acknowledging that, while helpful in some occasions, they can actually increase the rates of PTSD.
In truth, Pasciak's book is sufficiently comprehensive as to be valuable to officers involved in a wide range of traumatic incidents, both critical and cumulative, besides shootings. The book is thoroughly researched, provides excellent resources, and can be a valuable aid not only to officers but to departments in need of policy guidance. It is clearly written in a no-nonsense style, yet is chock-full of valuable information. I would describe it, overall, as a "must-read" for officers and police administrators.
Andy O'Hara, Amazon.com
It should be pointed out that the numbers expressed, viz, 'approximately 600 people are killed each year by police officers and, for each of those, there are three non-fatal shootings' are of course in the USA. There is however no reason why the feelings and outcomes should differ greatly anywhere in the world.