10 Trauma Informed Tips for Patrol Officers

Sep 2, 2022 Uncategorized

Written by: Captain Mike Schentrup (RET)

  1. Start with empathetic statement— “I’m sorry this happened to you.”
  2. Start by believing – have a “believe first then investigate mentality”
  3. Communicate to the victim that they are safe.
  4. Never ask WHY – these questions are by their nature judgmental and can be asked later.
  5. No need to challenge the account – this can be done after an investigation is completed, if necessary.
  6. Get basic facts, establish elements of crime, need for forensic and medical exam, crime scene, witnesses, suspects?
  7. Don’t make contact with the suspect until CID has an investigative strategy – detectives may want to compete a controlled phone call with the suspect.
  8. Get certified sexual assault program advocate involved right away!
  9. Don’t write anything that can damage the investigation:  “inconsistent,” “withholding information,” “lied about …”
  10. Never accept a complaint withdrawal or a prosecution refused form. It is too early for this.

These are 10 easy steps command staff can use to guide their patrol officers or deputies to a more trauma informed response.