I had the chance to attend a training for law enforcement and others, described below, in Yarmouth, MA, a few weeks ago. The presentation, "Trauma Informed Response Training for Law Enforcement & Multi Disciplinary Team Members," was given by retired detective Justin Boardman. Boardman was joined in the morning by the chief domestic violence prosecutor of the Cape & Islands, Michael Patterson.
Here is a news story excerpt about the training from the Cape Cod newsletter (yes, the Cape has a newsletter).
YARMOUTH– From Yarmouth Police: On Monday, December 17, and Tuesday, December 18, 2018, the Yarmouth Police Department’s Special Victims Unit hosted two days of intensive training for Law Enforcement Officers and Civilian Advocates to learn about how trauma affects victims of violent crimes.
There was an overwhelming response from across the state, and over the two days they were able to train 170 Police Officers, Detectives, Civilian Police Advocates, Victim Witness Advocates, Prosecutors, SANE Nurses, Department of Children and Families Social Workers, and Domestic and Sexual Violence Counselors and Clinicians.
The two presenters included Justin Boardman, of Boardman Training & Consulting, a retired Detective from the West Valley Utah Police Department, and the Chief Domestic Violence Prosecutor from Barnstable County District Attorney’s Office, ADA Michael Patterson.
While Boardman focused a great deal on how trauma affects the body, brain, memories, and behaviors of a victim, Patterson shared great detail on evidence based prosecution and the importance of the Cape Cod Domestic Violence High Risk Task Force. By the end of each day it was clear to everyone in the room how important each member of the multidisciplinary team is to not only combat crime, but also to assure each and every victim is being supported to the best of our abilities.
Read more about this training in the Cape Cod newsletter.
When Boardman began his presentation, he said he hoped all audience members would laugh, learn, and get a little uncomfortable. He didn’t mention there’d be cat videos or prank footage to show the various ways humans and animals respond to fear, shock, and surprise.
His approach was innovative and memorable, but also comprehensive. He peppered his presentation with book titles, websites, studies and researchers in case others wanted to “geek out" more on the neurobiology of trauma.
More than the research though, it was his honesty that moved me.
"I made mistakes, shut down cases prematurely because I misunderstood how victims present,” he said.
While it was hard to hear how officers have and sometimes still do treat survivors who report rape, I appreciated his openness and honesty. He detailed how his thinking and life have changed, personally and professionally, as he has become trauma-informed. Now he’s on a mission to share that information with the entire criminal justice system.