SPD creates team to help officers cope with Thompson trial

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by KREM.com & Katie Utehs

KREM.com

Posted on November 8, 2011 at 7:09 PM

SPOKANE—The Karl Thompson trial has had a large impact on local law enforcement, and the Spokane Police Department created a program to help those officials cope with issues surrounding the trial.

Officials say the point of the Personal Assistance Team is to make sure officers are able to cope with issues so they can continue to focus on their job.

During the trial, two officers were assigned to help officers cope because Karl Thompson is on the mind of so many officers, but Captain Frank Scalise says they still have a job to do.

“The criminal activity doesn’t stop and we have to be there to answer it,” Scalise said.

Scalise says officers need support to deal with emotional issues to stay focused on police work.

The Personal Assistance Team includes about 12 officers who are trained to listen to their fellow officers.  They say their role is to be non-judgmental and offer emotional support for the involved officers.

Officials say at least two people worked on the team during the Thompson trial.

Chief Anne Kirkpatrick says she put restrictions on the PAT program for this specific trial because staffing could not fall below normal levels or incur nay overtime.

Scalise says utilizing the two officers will help the department move on.

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