My name is Stephanie Neuman. I was in law enforcement for 10 years, both as a detention officer and more recently as a patrol sergeant for the Cheyenne Police Department. On June 27, 2006 my life as I knew it changed. I was eight weeks into my patrol career when I was involved in a critical incident. Still on FTO (field training), I was riding around with my trainer taking the regular calls for service. As I was finishing up my current call I heard a "man with a gun" call go out over the radio. In an effort to show courage and impress my FTO, I advised Dispatch I would take the call. My FTO seemed impressed as he was pumping with adrenaline just like I was. Over the next few minutes the Stephanie I knew would change forever. The "man with a gun" call turned into an officer involved shooting. With only the bad guy hurt, I returned to the department to experience the aftermath of a critical event with no peer support and no administrative policy ensuring I would be taken care of.
The Chief at the time advised me I would go back on patrol within the hour, he just needed to find another training officer for me to ride with. I stood with a quivering face behind my sunglasses thinking to myself, "I need a minute to wrap my head around what just happened." Finally, a wonderful and empathetic Lieutenant advised the Chief very frankly, "Stephanie is too new not to take care of her. She will be on administrative leave for the next two weeks."
The Lieutenant sent me to see a therapist who specialized in treating law enforcement officers. I found myself in a room being resistive to what was ahead of me. I kept thinking that I didn't want to be weak and I could handle all of this myself. The therapist was wonderful and introduced me to EMDR therapy. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a type of therapy that allows bilateral stimulation to connect the emotional and physical, responses of an event. It is a therapy that allows privacy while being extremely effective. After experiencing the therapy I found myself relieved and feeling much better.
Through the years of my career I referred back to the same therapist after many critical events. Still with no administrative policy in our agency, I took it upon myself to advocate for other officers and for myself to get care after incidents. In 2009 I started on my Master's degree in an effort to get a foundation of education to provide care for other officers and to be a voice for those who need care. My agency has been very receptive to my ideas and support I have brought to officers throughout my Master's program. The administration is supporting the implementation of a Peer Support Team to the agency. WIth my efforts and the support of the administrators, my goal of having critical care for our agency will soon come true.
I now have my MSW and am still employed as a Patrol Sergeant for the Cheyenne Police Department. I am trained in EMDR and have over 600 client/clinical EMDR hours. The creation of this site is in an effort to reach out to those of you who are curious about care for officers or are wanting to find relief from the stressors of the "job".
Thank you for visiting the site. Please email me if you have any questions!
Stephanie Neuman, MSW, LCSW