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Psychologist says more police officers' families asking them not to return to work

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Posted at 5:54 PM, Jul 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-30 14:05:47-04

SAN DIEGO - A world-renowned psychologist for first responders said the shooting of two San Diego police officers is continuing a dangerous trend.

"The last two months have been the most violent towards law enforcement that I've ever worked," said Dr. Nancy Bohl-Penrod, director of the Counseling Team International, which has responded to more than 1,000 critical events worldwide.

A retired Chula Vista police captain said many law enforcement and fire agencies use CTI during critical times.

Bohl-Penrod said members of CTI were in San Diego Friday to help officers cope with the killing of Officer Jonathan DeGuzman.

"There's an extra amount of fear and hyper vigilance," she said. "Hyper vigilance is scanning all the time, looking around, just being concerned about their safety … Resiliency is really important; being able to bounce back and say, 'OK, that happened. It was bad. It was awful, but I can't let it define me, define my life.'"

The psychologist said not all of her recent calls are from police.

"We've been contacted and bombarded by family members wanting to talk because they don't want their loved ones to go back to work," Bohl-Penrod said.