By Julia Dahl
Monday, November 16th, 2009 10:33 am
"Farr explains that after reading about an incident near Las Vegas during which police responded to a troubled vet in what he considered to be an over-aggressive manner, he concluded that with the proper instruction they might have been able to talk the vet down. He decided to use his college training as a filmmaker to create a video that would give police an “awareness and sensitivity” to the psychological issues faced by returning veterans."
"The problem of veterans who struggle with the psychological scars of war is not new. Tom Schumacher, the PTSD Director at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington State, helped police counsel troubled Vietnam veterans in the 1980s, and says that although law enforcement had relationships with VA counselors back then, there was never any formal training provided to officers.
Farr wanted to change this. He sought permission and support from his bosses at the VA for the video, and in late 2008 received $5,000 from his outreach budget. He consulted with Utah’s CIT program director, hired some friends to help him, and in March 2009 began presenting the 18-minute video entitled “Walking Wounded,” to law enforcement leadership in Utah.
The response was overwhelmingly positive, and Farr says the video is now being used by law enforcement in at least 28 states and by three federal agencies.
In the third and final part of our Veterans Day investigation of how the U.S. justice system interacts with veterans, we look at innovative programs designed to help police understand the traumas afflicting soldiers in the transition to civilian life.
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