LINCOLN COUNTY, Tn. - A former Lincoln County veterans service officer saw a need for local first responders to learn how to work with veterans in distress so he collaborated with the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Fayetteville post 2167 and the VA Nashville.
Greg Dodson, says he's seen veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, who don't get help bring officers into life-threatening situations.
"There have been multiple cases for veterans who committed suicide by cop," said Dodson.
He felt the need to work with the United State's Department of Veterans Affairs to help prepare officers, dispatchers, and all first responders for situations that could involve a veteran experiencing PTSD.
Carrie Brensike, a suicide prevention manager from Veterans Affairs says she's hoping the first responders who attended the event will learn more about PTSD.
"We're hoping they learn a little bit about post-traumatic stress disorder, how to intervene with somebody who might be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder during a crisis intervention and how to get an individual help," said Brensike.
Dodson says this training is long overdue
He says now he hopes these first responders will be more aware and ready to work with veterans in need.
"I would really love to see officers on the job, and off the job, if they witness a potential person suffering from PTSD that they react a little less aggressively," said Dodson. "It will 99 percent of the time make their job a whole lot easier and no one will get injured."
If you or a veteran you know is experiencing anxiety, depression, or having suicidal thoughts the Department of Veteran Affairs says you should call the veterans crisis line at 1-800-273-8255 and press option 1.
You can also chat online with someone here, or you can text someone at 838255.