Posted: Jul 12, 2016 10:24 PM EDT
LUBBOCK, Texas - Police officers wake up each morning not knowing what they will face.
"You're going to see a lot of bad things, things you can't un-see, things you're going to think about at night and it will reappear in dreams. You've got to have somebody and outlet that you can talk to about those things and not everybody understands what the officers are going through and how to deal with those issues," Lubbock Police Sgt. Lowell Owens.
The Lubbock Police Department's Critical Incidents Management Team has been around for 16 years.
Andy Young, the coordinator of the Critical Incidents Management Team at LPD, went through the training in 2000. "I think we had a number of officers go through the training before July 13, 2001, when we had one officer killed in the line of duty," he said.
Owens said he was "actually on the department during those times and it was a very difficult time. We had two officers, several years ago, that were killed within a week a part of each other and during those times it was just the beginning stages of the existing crisis team that we have now and I believe that was the time we realized we really needed something in place and available for these guys."
The Crisis Team opens the door for discussion. "It's a camaraderie that you can sit down and visit with people that have been through what you've been through," Owens said.
The team assists anytime they are needed. They are there "for the officers on patrol, for everything from a domestic disturbances to where they need counseling, to accidents with injuries, deceased persons, the team is available to come out and help them at anytime there's an issue or somebody needs someone to talk to," Owens said.
There are currently 40 officers on the Crisis Team, "who are able to assist other officers one on one as the needs arise and then a large scale incident like what happened in Dallas happens we have a lot of people that we can call on from other agencies to come up here and help us and we are available to go to other places and help them," Young said.
"To have somebody else that can relate to you and listen to you and understand at the same level of what you do is vitally important to their well-being for their mental stability and officers see some bad things in their career and that's just the way it is that's the nature of the job we do but knowing there is a a place you can go and people you can talk to is a big help to them," Owens said.
The LPD Crisis Team assisted in Odessa after the death of three officers in 2007.
"I reached out to Dallas police department to see if there was anything we could do," Young said.
"The whole week after the incident impacts people and the incident kind of carries on even after the immediate threat is over and the funerals are a part of that to it's not until a couple days after the funeral that everyone will kinda let down and take a breathe and that's the best time to give people a chance to process what they have been through," Young said.
"You've gotta give it some time and have to let us grieve like anybody else, after a period of time then it's time to come together and talk about what you're going through," Owens said.
Young said a crisis team will probably start speaking with Dallas Police officers at least two days after the last funeral.