Many officers struggle with getting help
SEATTLE -- After Officer Rick Nelson was arrested, Seattle Police Department says command staff offered him resources to get help for his substance abuse problem--a problem many officers find so difficult.
First responders deal with a lot of trauma and when it gets to be too much, Dr. William Singer says sometimes, officers turn to alcohol and drugs. He frequently sees it but says they're so afraid of losing their jobs they won't get help.
When former police officer, Sean Riley, heard about Nelson, he understood.
I know exactly where he was at. I know exactly the steps of what happened and what was going on, said Riley.
Riley's addiction to prescription drugs and alcohol ended his career. When he was addicted, he too thought about suicide.
Dr. Singer says it can be especially hard for public safety officers to reach out and very few do it.
Once the person talk about it, threshold of pain begins to diminish, said Dr. Singer.
Singer says that pain a lot of times comes from the guilt of committing the very crimes the officers arrest people for.
It's horrible you're in a hypocritical situation and you know you are, said Riley.
Both men point out that officers are human and capable of making mistakes.
They save lives...police officers and uniformed officers. We need to save theirs, said Dr. Singer.
To accomplish that, Dr. Singer says it's imperative departments educate and check up on the very people whose job is to deal with trauma on a daily basis.
The kind of program that I need thinks to happen is more preventative, before the crises, the longer the person is exposed to trauma, the more critical, devastating the results happen to me, said Dr. Singer.
Riley wants people to realize there is hope, just reach out for help.
You'll have have the career you want, the life you want and more importantly you'll have the family you want, said Riley.
Seattle police say Nelson showed no signs of being suicidal.
If you want to learn more about the crisis hotline, Safe Call Now, you can call them at 206-459-3020 or click here (please note that the line is meant for first responders)
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