When people asked for police reforms, no one expected an answer to be meditation. Los Angeles has recently injected $2.2 million into Project Therapeutic Unarmed Response for Neighborhoods (TURN) to provide community intervention workers with opportunities to recover from traumatic events through mental exercises. Following a string of police shootings in January, the city council filed a motion to enact reform.
As a result, Project TURN was born. Community workers affected by shootings and traumatic events now have access to therapy services, including a three-day trauma training.
Andrea Feria, sophomore kinesiology major, said the benefits of exercises like stretches and meditation are nothing to scoff at.
“If done right, [it] creates equilibrium in a person and allows an individual to concentrate on solely one thing, rather than think about a bunch of things, which can cause stress,” Feria said. “[It] also helps with anxiety and has been used by people with cardiovascular diseases to lower blood pressure.”
One issue is whether workers will take advantage of these resources voluntarily.
John Higley, professor of criminal justice, said that small incentives go a long way in getting workers to participate in government programs.
“Sometimes all you need is a little incentive,” Higley said. “If they give out an extra couple of days off a year, that’s two more days out fishing. [Some people] like working out anyway. So it’s a win-win.”
Another issue that these exercises and therapy can improve is the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Many workers in the LAPD, other police forces and frontline workers suffer from various forms of mental illness, which can affect the quality of their work.
“I believe that no matter what, there is going to be [violence],” said Seraiah Carter, freshman criminology major. “I feel like some of these activities will help officers that have PTSD.”
Higley said that any physical exercise is good for one’s well-being, especially under stress.
“If you’re happier at your job, you’re going to do a better job,” Higley said. “If you’re exercising, you’re going to be happier at home. Officers who engaged in this take less sick leave, have less injuries on the job, and enjoy the work more.”