LUBBOCK, Texas — On Friday, the Lubbock Police Department will send their Critical Incident Stress Management, CISM, to Midland-Odessa following the mass shooting on Aug. 31.
Sgt. Steven Bergen, member of the CISM team, said he and his team conduct debriefings with law enforcement members to allow them to talk about their experiences during tragic events such as mass shootings.
“If it’s something that’s significant to you, you play it over and over and over and over in your head,” Bergen said.
Bergen said he will also take his therapy dog, Justice, with him to Midland-Odessa.
“With the number of them that did respond to the multiple scenes that were across both cities, it’s kind of the same thing here– is to talk about what stress can cause,” Bergen said.
Bergen said the team returned from El Paso a week prior.
“Even though it’s remorseful and sad, I look to the positive part that we’re gonna be able to help some of these folks,” Bergen said.
Bergen said their trip to El Paso was Justice’s first experience as a certified therapy dog. Bergen admits she doesn’t look like the average police dog, however, he said many people went up to her to pet her and seek comfort.
Bergen said Justice did well in comforting people, even when it got emotional. He said they also went to the memorial at the Walmart in El Paso.
“[We help] not just policemen, firemen, but also paramedics. Even the civilian side–dispatchers, anybody who maybe didn’t have to go through the event, but experienced the event,” Bergen said.
He said the communities Bergen has visited are welcoming toward their help.
“It’s that sense of community. People are accepting,” Bergen said.
Dr. David Young, director of CISM, said it’s important to people to reflect and think about what they’ve gone through in a safe environment.
“Regardless, what your job is, you’re still a person,” Young said. “Hopefully, everyone can get in the room that needs to be in the room and have that conversation that helps everybody out, and you always learn how to do this better every time you get some experience.”
Young said he recommends people who go through a difficult time, seek help from others.
“Many different things can come into play that people maybe haven’t experienced before as a first responder, and so that’s what my team is going to talk about–going through that process and helping them get that closure,” Bergen said.
Young said the CISM team will return from Midland-Odessa by Saturday evening.