ASCENSION PARISH, La. (BRPROUD) — While popular action movies and crime dramas often give audiences a front-row seat to many of the dangerous situations members of law enforcement face, watching Hollywood’s depiction of a high-speed chase, a shootout, or a drug bust isn’t quite the same as actually being in such a high adrenaline situation.
But, on Thursday, a group of Ascension Parish citizens found themselves doing more than simply observing the situations officers often face.
Members of the Leadership Ascension Foundation, which is a program that recognizes emerging leaders in the community, participated in a special Law Enforcement Session hosted by the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office (APSO).
During the event, members of the Parish’s Leadership Foundation partnered with local law enforcement to engage in a mock high-speed pursuit as well as a shooting simulation with real-life scenarios that the CRT/SWAT Team are sometimes faced with.
In addition to participating in the high-adrenaline simulations, Sheriff Bobby Webre and Gonzales Police Chief Sherman Jackson spoke with the group about some of the current challenges in law enforcement.
According to the National Institute of Justice, some of the most challenging issues that members of law enforcement currently face are related to officer burnout and suicide.
A 2020 document noted that, “a confluence of stressors are imperiling officers’ health and wellness, with law enforcement currently lacking adequate resources to address those stressors. Factors taking a toll on officers include information overload, having to adapt to new technologies, dealing with social media influences and misinformation, and being under a high level of scrutiny even when off duty.”
In recent years, it’s also been noted that a strained relationship with the local community can lead to multiple issues.
As illustrated by APSO’s recent engagement with the Leadership Ascension Foundation, a number of Louisiana’s law enforcement agencies have been making a concerted effort to improve communication between its departments and the communities they serve.