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Letters to the Editor: Is police training giving cops PTSD? If so, we’re all in danger

LAPD officers watch a peaceful protest in Van Nuys in June 2020.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I appreciate Rosa Brooks’ insight into the lethality of police training. It answers my longstanding question: Does the training itself constitute the trauma that may cause post-traumatic stress disorder?

I am a psychologist who served military veterans for a number of years, which led me to consider how basic training traumatized these people, thus laying a foundation for lifelong disability. PTSD significantly increases the risks of sufferers reenacting their traumas, causing them to inflict havoc on the people around them.

The problem is, as Brooks underscores, community policing does not occur in war zones. And, becoming a “manly man” is not necessary to get the job done.

When will we find our way to a reality in which caring for the community isn’t actually scaring it? Our survival depends on it.

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Barbara Eurich-Rascoe, Pasadena

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To the editor: Brooks’ point is well taken when she points out that while police are told, “You have a right to go home,” members of the public have such a right too. There is no reason why the officer’s right should take precedence over the civilian’s.

Further, many officers appear to believe that they may use deadly force not only when they are actually in danger, but also when they might be in danger. “Might” is the critical word, and it is why there are so many unconscionable shootings by police.

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The law must be changed to make it clear that officers may use deadly force only if they actually are in danger, not if they might be.

Rory Johnston, Hollywood

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To the editor: Diplomats who come to live in the U.S. are taught how to behave if they are stopped by police. Perhaps this should be part of the training process for Americans who are applying for or renewing a driver license.

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Bill Serantoni, Thousand Oaks


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