How a nation’s support can help Dallas heal
Our job is to assist the Dallas community and the nation in any way to help healing begin
The nation awoke on July 8, 2016, to news of the second deadliest day on record for American police officers. Four Dallas police officers and one Dallas Area Rapid Transit Authority officer were killed and numerous others wounded. Trying to wrap our minds around this senseless act seemed too much to comprehend. This will be even more difficult for the Dallas police agencies, family members, and the community.
Physical wounds heal much faster than emotional wounds. The emotional trauma for many may never fully heal, but our jobs as brothers and sisters in uniform, law enforcement leaders, spiritual leaders, and mental health professionals is to assist the Dallas community and the nation in any way to help healing begin.
What can we do to help healing begin? The one word that comes to mind: support (such as personal, peer, emotional, agency, spiritual, and financial).
Support Comes in Many Forms
Support is hands down one of the most important components to help healing begin. It can include making and taking meals to the families affected, checking on the status of fellow officers, and helping with everyday errands. Let’s not forget the financial burdens placed on families now planning funerals for loved ones. Numerous fundraising efforts are in the works to support the slain Dallas officers and their families.
On a personal level, this means getting plenty of sleep, limiting alcohol consumption, drinking plenty of water, eating balanced meals, and limiting exposure to all media. Also, it may be extremely beneficial to attend debriefings and following up with medical and mental health professionals.
Family members, fellow officers, and those closest to those dealing with the aftermath should be on the lookout for changes in mood and behavior. The support of family and fellow officers during this difficult time can provide tremendous comfort. It is not that you have to have the right words or know exactly what to say. It is more about listening and providing comfort.
Agency support is fundamental in helping officers come to terms with the tragedy, while aligning them with appropriate services and resources. Officers placed on administrative leave due to the incident must be monitored and checked on and must know that they are supported. Officers must know agency leaders are concerned about officer well-being and not just know it, but feel it and see it in every action.
As Americans, we want to help Dallas heal, but many are left wondering what they can do in their communities. An excellent way all American’s can help Dallas heal is through blood and platelet donations. Donations are at an all-time low and donating blood and platelets in your community can give people a sense of helping and healing if even from a distance.
Indeed, support comes in many forms.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown understands the importance of support and the detriment in a lack of support.
“We don’t feel much support most days. Let’s not make today most days,” Brown was quoted as saying during a news conference July 8.
If this statement doesn’t show you how important support is, I don’t know what will.
Brown continued on July 8, “We’re hurting. Our profession is hurting. Dallas officers are hurting. We are heartbroken. There are no words to describe the atrocity that occurred to our city.”
Brown’s words are painful and real, and officers nationwide are feeling the pain of this tragedy and the pain in the lack of support.
Let Brown’s words be heard far and wide. Do not let these words fall on deaf ears. Do not go another day without letting this nation’s law enforcement officers know how much we support them, how much we need them to serve and protect us and our communities, and how much we appreciate the sacrifices they make to make this world a safer place.
To any ordinary citizen reading this, let the men and women of the Dallas Police Department and the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Police and their families know that America is here to help them heal. Let them know our support is strong and continuous. Let them see and feel this support daily and let’s help Dallas heal.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the officers lost, the Dallas Police Department, the Dallas community, and the nation.
The nation lost five heroes, but heroes live forever. We will never forget. Remembering Senior Corporal Lorne Ahrens, DPD, Sergeant Michael Smith, DPD, Officer Michael Krol, DPD, Officer Patrick Zamarripa, DPD, and Officer Brent Thompson, DART.