AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Police Department is expanding its program designed to help officers and 911 dispatchers cope with the traumatic experiences they encounter on the job.
The program is known as EMDR and it stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. Austin Police are now going to start training counselors in the community so they can use this technique with crime victims and help them cope with their trauma.
Part of the technique focuses on bringing back harsh memories of the crime but with the goal of it being the last time they remember those vivid images. The program is also helping take away the stigma about going to therapy.
“Officers usually don’t want to say they are in therapy and sometimes I have to go to my office door, look down the highway, and say ‘The coast is clear, you can get out now.’ There is something about this EMDR because it works. They are telling their buddies ‘Oh I just had my EMDR session,'” APD psychologist Dr. Carol Logan said.
EMDR has been around since the late 1980s. Dr. Carol Logan has used the protocol with Austin officers since she started with the department in 2003.