Police officers complete to hundreds of hours of training in areas such as the law, weapons training and police tactics. Now the Phoenix Police Department is teaming up with Barrow Neurological Institute to get new officers additional training in the area of crisis intervention--especially when it comes to dealing with someone with a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
From soldiers surviving the battlefield, to athletes on the gridiron, and victims of domestic violence, the number of traumatic brain injuries have spiked at an alarming rate.
"We are seeing this as such a public health epidemic," Barrow Neurological Institutes' Ashley Bridwell said.
So for the last year, Bridwell has gone into the classroom to share with officers the "cues" that someone might have the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury, namely:
"Having difficulty following instructions, having difficulty reading verbal and non-verbal cues, having difficulty with the chaos of a scene," Bridwell said.
The goal of the additional training is to keep situations from escalating, but for officers in the field, it can be difficult.
"They start getting to that point where they're a little nervous about what's going to happen," Bridwell explained. She says maintaining officer safety is paramount during the extra training.
Adam Pepiton teamed up with Bridwell to put one more tool in the officers' toolbox: patience. Pepiton is a man who is quadriplegic who survived a gunshot wound.
"Ask one question at a time," Pepiton said "Slow down every process. Just take your time," he tells new officers.