Phoenix Police Partners With Barrows To Better Understand Traumatic Brain Injury

By Holliday Moore, Lauren Gilger
Published: Thursday, September 20, 2018 - 9:42am
Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2018 - 12:22pm
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that, every year, millions of Americans suffer traumatic brain injuries.

Experts have found the symptoms vary widely and are often misunderstood, especially when stress is involved.

It's why the Phoenix Police Department and Barrow Neurological Institute have partnered to form the nation's first traumatic brain injury training program for incoming officers.

"First we increase knowledge, and then we increase empathy for the officers," Ashley Bridwell a social worker with Barrows explained. "It really helps with understanding awareness and de-escalation."

With training, officers can begin to better identify when someone has a BTI, and understand why they're acting impaired, inattentive, or indifferent.

"Those symptoms related to traumatic brain injury, when having an interaction with a police officer can look like or be misconstrued as non-compliant or disrespect for authority," Bridwell said.

Stress can intensify those symptoms. With training, Bridwell said, officers will not only learn how to deescalate a situation, but they will also learn through empathy and compassion that brain injuries happen to anyone including athletes, domestic violence survivors, and the homeless.

So how does the training work? Bridwell joined The Show to answer this question.

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