Trauma experts say law enforcement experience extreme trauma while on the job

Trauma experts say law enforcement experience extreme trauma while on the job
Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 6:20 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A memorial for Sgt. John Williams was set up at the Coralville Police Department Tuesday to help people deal with grief from their loss.

Williams died from a medical issue after responding to a shooting at an apartment complex where a three-year-old was killed.

“Stress will put in all these chemicals in your body, large amounts of them,” said Senior Training Specialist and Implementation Coach for Four Oaks, Amber Martz. “There’s a point that it becomes overwhelming to your body if you’re unable to work through those different things.”

Amber Martz trains others on how to handle traumatic situations. Being in a shooting situation where a three-year-old died was something she said can be traumatic for even a veteran with nearly 30 years of experience like Sgt. Williams.

“I see it all the time,” she said. “I work in that field and with those people who have to deal with that all the time.”

It wasn’t clear whether Sgt. Williams’ medical condition was related to stress caused by trauma, but Martz said there were biological ways we all can deal with stress; drinking water, watching your regular heart rate and being self-aware.

“The number one thing I want people to know is to be self-aware of your body,” she Martz said.

She said what first responders saw on the job makes it even more difficult after months of pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s an even worse issue,” she said. “It’s been deemed one of the biggest health threats that we have here in America.”

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