A few more thoughts on my Citizen Police Academy time.
There is so much information and most of it is fascinating.
One day's coverage was not enough for last week's class.
I'll have more facts and stories tonight. I believe we are going to pick the brains of CSI. (sorry for the really icky pun...but now that I've made it, I must share.)
But....here's what else I picked up last week.... Can someone die of extreme shock, a broken heart, surges of adrenaline? I learned about a couple of infrequent but “they happen” scenarios via my Citizen’s Police Academy class.
Our officers are given tools to help them do their jobs. One of those tools is reading people, situations, body language and other signs. Some examples of this training -- our police officers are required to get blasted with pepper spray so they can develop the ability to work through the pain. Often pepper spray, when aimed at a perpetrator, is going to blow right back into the officer’s face. They need to be able to deal with those sensations and not lose their heads. A police officer is very aware that if they lose their heads lives could be at stake.
In their preparation they are are also trained to recognize things about themselves and others. Tunnel vision is something real and they are given skills to keep ahead of the mind altering results. In the midst of extreme noise, activity and uber sensory overload the mind will funnel information and block some out. One officer told of a moment of tunnel vision that ended up giving him nightmares. It was a dark night, a tense negation with an armed man. A cruiser shone a spotlight on the suspect's face and the suspect took it up a notch to horror level extremes. The policeman who told the story said that his mind literally closed off all sound and any peripheral vision and he was riveted to the visual spotlight in front of him. When the shot was fired, the officer saw the effects, heard nothing and didn’t know where the shot had come from. He even wondered if he’d shot the man, not understanding until several minutes later that he'd witnessed a suicide.
Another bizarre condition is called excited delirium. This doesn’t affect the officers, other than complicate their lives. Middle aged men, who have an addiction to alcohol or drugs, who have a big beer belly and the perfect storm of stress, have been known to literally drop dead. When a police officer encounters a man who fits that profile, they are very aware of this type of possible sudden death. Imagine the paper work scenario involved in a death during an arrest. A piece of brain tissue has to be sent out to a specific lab to confirm this diagnosis. It’s real enough that they are schooled about the possibility bizarre as it sounds.
Our police are also trained extensively on the use of handcuffs. Apparently this is extremely important. I'm so naive. Less so now. Kinda