Hospitals offer new counseling options for officers

(WISH Photo, file)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Officer Phil Smiley works for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. The 20-year veteran has seen his share of traumatic experiences.

In August of 2004, Smiley performed CPR on Officer Jake Laird after he had been shot by a gunman in the chest. Smiley tried to revive Laird, but Laird eventually died from his injuries.

“It was constantly coming up in my mind, I couldn’t get those images out,” said Smiley.

As each year passed, Smiley continued to work his beat on the city streets. He’s been through shoot-outs, escaped danger and started to develop Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

PTSD develops after someone has been exposed to traumatic events.

“It was a gloom and doom period for me I was feeling like I was going to be killed at any time,” said Smiley.

During a difficult stretch, Smiley credits God and his wife for encouraging him during his bouts of PTSD. Smiley eventually sought outside counseling to help him deal with the day to day episodes and flashbacks.

In a Friday news conference, six local hospitals announced they are providing additional counseling for employees of the Department of Public Safety. IU Health, Community, and St. Vincent are just a few hospitals that are offering assistance.

The counseling sessions are strictly confidential.

In the past, some officers were concerned details of their counseling would get out to the public. Smiley assures his colleagues that is not the case.

“Reach out and ask for help, no one is going to judge you,” said Smiley. “If I catch a cold, I will get treatment for that.”

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