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How first responders are recovering after working FedEx Mass Shooting

Mental health resources deployed for first responders
FedEx Shooting Indianapolis
Posted at 10:38 PM, Apr 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 23:37:58-04

INDIANAPOLIS — It's now been seven days since first responders ran toward danger and death at a FedEx Facility last Thursday.

Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police President Rick Snyder says those first responders are exhausted and hurting.

"Officers are notorious, you ask them how they're doing after something like that, and they'll tell you 'I'm Good. I'm doing fine. No worries.' You know they're hurting, right? You can see it in their face, you can see it in their eyes," Snyder said. "They are! They're exhausted."

Snyder said immediately after the shooting, chaplains and mental health professionals were brought in to help first responders digest what they saw and what they heard. Snyder said it's part of a multi-step process that is critically important to teaching long-term coping skills, but some of it is as simple as talking about what they experienced.

"What we find and usually see is that an officer gets a lot out of that because they're hearing perspectives from their peers who were there on scene and they're seeing that it isn't just them that experiencing this emotional response," Snyder said.

Snyder said the mental health resources of IMPD are some of the best in the country. That's backed up by Kelli Lowe. She's the President of the National Police Wives Association.

After incidents like at FedEx, her organization often teaches the spouses of police officers how to they can help their officers at home.

"Because when you come into a law enforcement relationship it's different. We don't get any training for this," Lowe said.

She said some of the guidelines are simple.

"First thing is we don't accept the word 'fine.' Fine is not a good word," Lowe said. "Fine is a four-letter word for a spouse listening to an officer."

Lowe said first responder families are the first line of defense in watching for any changes or struggles their loved one could be facing.

"It's really important right now for spouses and families to stay diligent, to be supportive, to make home a peaceful place," Lowe said. "To make home somewhere where they can come and take off being an officer."