Officers' Emotional Roller Coaster After Shootings

By Corinne Rose

May 3, 2013 Updated May 3, 2013 at 6:20 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) -- No matter how much training you might get, shooting someone is a traumatic experience for an officer to go through.

A psychologist who's debriefed officers in situations like this says no officer ever wants to shoot someone.

Dr. Stephen Ross is a clinical psychologist who just went through additional training for these scenarios.

He says based on their training, officers calculate in split seconds whether shooting is the only option to save themselves or others from harm.

In order to help deal with the aftermath, it's departmental policy for officers to be given time off to be debriefed, emotionally process what happened and mentally prepare to return to work.

"Sometime's they'll question whether it was right, they'll go back and second guess, third guess themselves whether they could have done this, could have done that. I imagine that officers, before they have to really pull the gun and fire, in their head there's a calculation they put together that their life is in danger. And frankly, others could be in danger if they don't do what they are trained to do," Ross says.

If an officer is found to be unfit to return to duty, that's called a failure to approach or failure to intervene when necessary, and in that case, the officer would not go back to that role in the department.

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