ROCHESTER, Minn. – It was a tense day for our region as first responders rushed to the scene of active shooter calls in local school districts on Wednesday.
Although each call turned out to be a hoax, the emotional stress of responding to these types of incidents is very real.
Captain James Schueller explained: “I had a deputy in my office this morning who was there, and I think those kind of hits at home, he said ‘On the driver over there, I was already resigned to the fact that I was going to see dead children. .”
Olmsted County sheriff’s deputies were among those who rushed to the scene of a reported active shooter situation at Lourdes High School, but were unaware the 911 call was a hoax at the time. .
“Your mind and training take over and you just start saying I gotta do it. I gotta do it. Then when you clear the building you’re always on high alert until the last piece be cleaned and you’re sure there’s no danger behind that door,” Schueller said.
He went on to say that this type of emotional strain is why the sheriff’s office offers a 24/7 peer support team, as well as a chaplaincy program and health checks. well-being to support assistants.
Schueller said: “We are all human and we have these emotions and officers are not exempt from them. We may be able to perform and complete the task or tasks that we need to perform, but the emotions are always underlying the low. “
He adds that the mental health resources received positive feedback, which is great news, especially since this was a topic that was never openly discussed.
“I think that’s perhaps what has changed the most about this profession over the years since I’ve been in it, is that there’s no longer a stigma attached to acknowledging one’s feelings. and say, “I need help,” adds Schueller.
The department says there are also critical incident reports that can be put in place after intense incidents. The debriefing only includes deputies or officers involved in the response.
Schueller says a debriefing is still ongoing after Wednesday’s incident because it will require more coordination with at least 65 different crews at the scene and multiple departments involved.
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