Law enforcement officers throughout the region gathered Friday at Fort Stewart’s Marne Club for a meet-and-greet that included training on how to deal with people who may have post traumatic stress syndrome.
Liberty County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Keith Moran said the meeting was organized by Liberty County Sheriff Steve Sikes and was used primarily as a means for regional law enforcement officials to get to know one another.
"The sheriff used this meeting to put a face to the voice at the end of telephone line, which is normally the way we communicate with surrounding law enforcement officials," Moran said.
The chief deputy said sheriffs from as far as Wayne County and as close as Bryan County attended the event, which included lunch. Hinesville Police Chief George Stagmeier, District Attorney Tom Durden and GBI Special Agent Micah Ward also made appearances.
After lunch, the officials were briefed on how to recognize symptoms of PTSD in returning soldiers, retired military members and even emergency rescue personnel who experience traumatic events in the line of duty. Moran said the training will prove helpful when dealing with people who may suffer from PTSD.
"We plan on taking what we learned from the session and briefing our deputies on how to handle individuals who suffer from this symptom," he said.
During training, the group learned most people associate PTSD with battle-scarred soldiers. While military combat is the most common cause of the disorder in men, any overwhelming life experience can trigger PTSD, especially if the event is unpredictable and uncontrollable.
Post traumatic stress disorder can affect those who personally experience a catastrophe, those who witness it and those who pick up the pieces afterwards, including emergency workers and law enforcement officers. It can even occur in friends or family members of those who have survived trauma, Moran said.