Military affairs beat: For cops, courts, a primer on PTSD

  • Article by: MARK BRUNSWICK , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 17, 2012 - 10:51 PM

The Ramsey County attorney's office and the Minnesota Alliance on Crime are presenting speakers on post-traumatic stress disorder in the criminal justice system on April 27.

The idea is to inform advocates, police, attorneys, judges and others who may encounter people with PTSD about its manifestations and how best to work with those dealing with it. While PTSD has been associated with the military, it could include everything from a victim of domestic abuse to a cop who might have been exposed to trauma. The idea is help identify and work with people who might have PTSD but also to direct them to resources to help. The presentation is part of National Crime Victims Rights Week.

"The focus is really on understanding people who have experienced trauma and may have symptoms of PTSD," said Kelly Moller, executive director of the Minnesota Alliance on Crime. "We don't want prosecutors diagnosing people with PTSD, but it's more about understanding what those symptoms might look like and how you can work with victims and even defendants who would have those symptoms."

Speakers are to include Ramsey County Chief Judge Kathleen Gearin; Ramsey County Attorney John Choi; St. Paul police Sgt. Brian Casey; defense attorney and veteran John Baker; Dr. Abigail Gewirtz, a University of Minnesota professor who focuses on trauma within families; psychologist Dr. Ernest Boswell, and Molly Black, from the Minnesota Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The group has applied for continuing legal education credit and police officer standard training credit for the event.

The presentation is free, but reservations are required and seating is limited. It will be from 8:30 a.m. until noon in Lower Level 40 A&B of the Ramsey County Courthouse/City Hall. Contact the Ramsey County attorney's office at beth.commers@co.ramsey.mn.us or (651)266-3016 or Kelly Moller at (612)940-8090 or ed@mnallianceoncrime.org.

mbrunswick@startribune.com 612-673-4434

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