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In the Line of Duty

In the Line of Duty

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Published by Paisley Rae
Ontario Ombudsman's Report of PTSD in the OPP
Ontario Ombudsman's Report of PTSD in the OPP

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Published by: Paisley Rae on Nov 30, 2012
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08/13/2013

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488 The International Association of Chiefs of Police recommends that police services
offer counselling, post-shooting incident support and debriefing for family
members.87

While family members have occasionally contacted OPP peer team
members or the Staff Psychologist for assistance, there is no organized program of
peer support for the families of officers.

489 In a March 5, 1999 email, the former OPP Employee Assistance Program
Coordinator questioned whether the organization was doing enough for family
members of officers, and suggested that a family volunteer peer support program be

87

Supra note 46.

112

“In the Line of Duty”

October 2012

considered. More than a decade later, the OPP has no dedicated peer support
program for family members.

490 A detachment commander we interviewed remarked on the limited services
available for OPP family members as compared to Canadian Forces families. He
told us:

I would say the one thing I think the military is starting to do and pay
more attention [to] is … the family aspect of it. I think we have a trauma
team that goes and will meet with the officer and certainly … if an officer
is killed, we spend an enormous amount of time with the family. But short
of that, if the officer is involved in a traumatic incident, we are not sending
a package to the spouse to say “Here is what your spouse or loved one was
involved in, and here is what you can expect.”… I think that one aspect
where we’re a little bit weak is with the family and letting the families
know, even generically, letting the families know, here is what you can
expect. Even when they first join, sending a package to the families saying
“Here is what you can expect now that your wife, husband, significant
other is a police officer. These are things they are going to be exposed to,
here are some of the stresses of the job, what to expect and here are signs
of problems.”

491 The OPP’s internal peer programs should include regular family support outreach.
Given the demand on peer resources, the OPP should work towards organizing a
network of family peers, similar to Canadian Force’s Family Peer Support
Volunteer program. It appears that the OPP’s proposed new Operational Injury
Social Support Coordinator position will have a role in developing family peer
support networks across the province, as well as organizing support groups.
However, it has been over a year since the business case supporting this initiative
was put forward, and little to no action has resulted. The OPP should pursue this
initiative as soon as possible.

Recommendation 19:

The Ontario Provincial Police should develop the proposed family peer
support program, including recruitment of family peers, as soon as possible.

113

“In the Line of Duty”

October 2012

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