Trauma-Informed Policing: What Law Enforcement Needs to Know

Trauma-Informed Policing: What Law Enforcement Needs to Know
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2023-10-10
Unit 1Presentation Materials: Trauma-Informed Policing: What Law Enforcement Needs to Know
Unit 2Transcript: Trauma-Informed Policing: What Law Enforcement Needs to Know
Unit 3Workbook: Trauma-Informed Policing: What Law Enforcement Needs to Know
Unit 4Recording: Trauma-Informed Policing: What Law Enforcement Needs to Know

What does it mean to be trauma-informed? This webinar deep-dives into the science behind trauma and how it impacts the individuals those working in criminal justice interact with regularly, so justice professionals are able to show up better for them.

Leading the discussion is Michelle Gundy and Joseph Wright. Michelle is a researcher, consultant, veteran, and SME in the fields of communication and both civilian and officer trauma. She is appointed to Las Vegas Metro PD’s Citizen Oversight Board and is a member of the American Society for Evidence-Based Policing. Meanwhile, Joseph Wright is the Director of Security for Lincoln Public Schools in Lincoln, Nebraska. He has 27 years of experience working in law enforcement and retired at the rank of captain.

Specifics of the presentation include:

  • The importance of adopting a trauma-informed paradigm as it directly influences justice professionals’ ability to help individuals heal and make behavioral changes.
  • How the human brain undergoes significant changes from infancy through adolescence, forming connections and networks crucial for cognitive, emotional, and social development.
  • How trauma response is individualized based on a person’s unique experiences.
  • The ACEs Study: Its inception, scope and methodology, the factors the study hypothesized to negatively impact individuals’ well-being, and the findings.
  • The high prevalence of trauma in the incarcerated population emphasizing that offenders often are victims as well and how recognizing this allows us to address the root cause of criminality.
  • Trauma as a public health threat that significantly impacts survivors’ lives and outcomes.
  • Distinguishing big T Trauma, small t trauma, complex trauma, and secondary trauma – the different types of trauma – based on how they occur.
  • How post-traumatic growth happens when proper care and resources overcome the effects of trauma.
  • What homeostasis is and how trauma disrupts it compromising one’s cognition and emotions.
  • Epigenetics: How the environment influences biology highlighting the impact of loving environments in fostering resilience and preventing psychopathy.
  • How intergenerational trauma plays out based on an individual’s familial or cultural trauma history.
  • The concept of neurogenesis and pruning that explains how habits and patterns of behavior develop and the challenges that come with changing established behaviors.
  • How caregiver attachment serves as the blueprint for human relationships – be it secure or insecure attachment.
  • The insecure attachment styles – how they develop early in life and how they look like as distinct behaviors.
  • The Rigid and Chaotic Response that may manifest as a result of trauma.
  • How the brain increases efficiency by creating habits that in some instances can become maladaptive.
  • The concept of trauma triage where the stimulus goes to either the high long road or the low short road depending on the presence of threat/danger – be it real or perceived.
  • The hippocampus’ role in trauma triage and the trauma victims’ ability to create coherent timelines.
  • How the Broca’s area is affected by stress, hindering emotional expression and causing chaotic responses.
  • How someone inside and outside of the window of tolerance are likely to respond and react to stimuli.
  • The concept of the survival mode and the three options humans have when faced with overwhelming situations, what these look like, and how to best manage someone in each mode.
  • Getting first responders to interact using a trauma-informed lens for better outcomes.

Questions from the webinar participants are about:

  • The intersection between Post Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI), ACEs, substance overuse, and suicide.
  • The development and scope of the ACEs.
  • Application of knowledge about trauma when interacting with community members as well as co-workers.
  • ACEs and childhood trauma for justice professionals.
  • Progress in trauma-informed approaches in criminal justice.
  • Whether intergenerational trauma also relates to domestic violence, corrections involvement, and addiction.


Click here to view and register for other upcoming Law Enforcement webinars and recordings on the JCH Platform.


Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “It was very informative!!” — Andre
  • “The input from the experienced LE with the lesson was super helpful for insight.” — Ashley
  • “All of it was valuable and it was quite interesting.” — April
  • “I believe the most valuable is how the condition is developed and educating us on how to deal with and address a victim of trauma.” — Edward
  • “Great presentation on identifying and effectively developing a plan and strategy to make life for yourself and others better.” — Travis
  • “This was one of the best webinars, so far.” — Tina


Additional Resources
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After the Webinar: Trauma Informed Policing. Q&A with the Presenters
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