Traumatic Players of Cleveland helping our Tri-C First Responders

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Traumatic Players of Cleveland helping our Tri-C First Responders

By Eden Amador-Gorby

“The Lead Coordinator for the Traumatic Players of Cleveland, LLC, is Colleen Drews. She has been an active member of the West Shore Community Response Team since 2009.” Colleen and her volunteered role-players have had the opportunity to train and work alongside many Tri-C campus police, including our own Officer Joe Mazur. Most of these Traumatic Players are volunteer role-players who believe it’s a beneficial way of giving back to first responders. These responders include our police officers, firefighters, and several other departments at Tri-C. These traumatic players use their acting skills to play out scenarios for these departments, which in turn help the responders with their training. Volunteered role-players help act out these specific events from real-life problems and situations of real-life drama.

Photography from Traumatic Players

The great advantage this gives our responders is that they can deal with real-life scenarios without the real danger of being hurt. They provide the officers with a chance to deal with terrifying ordeals without the possibility of personal injury, which very well could happen if these were real scenarios. Volunteered role-players often act so well in these scenarios that the officers often feel like they were actually in “real Situations.” 

Q: What is the purpose of the traumatic players? 

Colleen Drews – “We police training by providing realism, via role players, makeup, and drama.”

Q: How often do you work along with the officers at Tri-C?

A: Colleen Drews – ” We were contacted for the project in the spring of 2020. With Tri-C, that project is done but now works at Tri-C with the Admas board, not just with the Tri-C police but with local police officers. Adams board is for all first responders, and they can sign up and get the training.”

Q: Why do you think your program is so beneficial in helping Tri-C police?

A: Colleen Drews – “We are teamed up with the Tri-C police and their training facility. They approached us to be partners with their training facility.”

Q: Why do you guys do what you do?

A: Colleen Drews – “Because first responders have to train as they play. The more real their training is, the better they serve their communities.”

Photography from Traumatic Players at Tri-c

Q: Where can the traumatic players be Located? 

A: Colleen Drews – “We work with local cities, airport drills, local hospitals, colleges, and schools. The OCLA conference, Hopkins and Berk airport training for drills. Michigan, a government facility in Virginia, trains with the FBI and many different cities like Akron and Canton. Will travel. Will go where the training is.”

Q: Is there a specific scenario that you could tell us? That you once performed with the Tri-C police?

A: Colleen Drews – “Moulage up with makeup, placed around a specific area, active play area, laying down on the ground yelling and screaming for help. First responders have to come in, and the first group has to after the threat and stop it. Then the second group comes in, triages, treats, and evacuates. Check the people and assess if they are hurt and how badly they are hurt. Then they help. Remove the patients from the area and take them to the hospital.”

Photography from Traumatic Players

Q: What type of scenarios do you teach the police officers to prepare them in their training? 

A: Colleen Drews – “We help out with rescue task force training, tactical emergency critical care to ECC, active shooters training, and mass casualty training, training at NASA. They role-Played at the mall. It was awesome. Whatever skills the organizers need, they follow their lead. They do not come up with the training; they are the tools for the training. Enhancements for the training.”

Q: Can these scenarios be dangerous?

A: Colleen Drews – ” Yes and no. If people do not follow directions and respect the training for what it is, it can be dangerous. If they act professionally and respectfully towards the learning environment, it will be good. Someone was shot during the training, but normally, there are a lot of weapon checks during the day. Stuff can happen, but it is usually because people are goofing off and not following the directions.”

Photography from Traumatic Players Volunteer at Tri-c

Q: Anything extra you want to say?

A: Colleen Drews – “We have been lucky, and it has been quite an experience to team up with them with the course they offer. WE’VE SEEN the CIT with Adama’s board and gotten to know and build a community relationship with the officers. Who has positively participated from many different cities and jurisdictions, especially now with everything going on in society? The police are not our enemies, and to see how much hard work they put in to train to protect us is a gift. So we thank Tri-c for bringing us on board and for the opportunity. It has been a gift.”

“They are awesome. Tri-C Police Officers are a great group of people. They are personable, respectful, and it was a great experience working with them professionally. They are real people.” – Colleen Drews.

Officer Joe Mazur on his career in Law enforcement and his Experience with the Traumatic Players

Q: Why did you want a career in law enforcement?

A: Officer Joe Mazur – “ I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself. I wanted to immerse myself in the lives of others, even if only for a short time, to see if I could help to make them better. I wanted to stand up for people in fear and offer a compassionate ear to the broken-hearted. I love life and am grateful for every breath I am blessed with. I wanted to give hope to people who had lost faith in the human spirit.”

Q: What do Tri-C police do? 

A: Officer Joe Mazur – “ Tri C police are responsible for protecting all members of the campus community. We also guard the college property, open secured areas for faculty, assist students who are having vehicle trouble, provide security at campus events and act as first responders to anyone experiencing a medical emergency. ”  

Q: If students need help where are the Tri-C Police located on campus?

A: Officer Joe Mazur  Our Western campus office is located on the first floor of the galleria in room G-101 across from the Enrollment Center.”

Q: As an officer who once work in Parma, how did you prepare yourself and approach certain situations in the field? 

A: Officer Joe Mazur –  I had a sort of physical and mental preparation routine I would practice on the way to every call. I would first get control of my breathing by consciously slowing it down. This, in turn, lowered my heart rate and prevented my body from becoming over-stimulated. I would then say a short prayer and ask God to guide me through the situation. Lastly, when I arrived at the scene I tried to listen more and talk less. This gave me clarity and helped me choose the best course of action.”  

Photography from Traumatic Players at Tri-c

Q: Can you describe a very distressing situation in which you remained calm and collected?

A: Officer Joe Mazur – “ I was once on the scene of a murder/suicide. At the time of my arrival, one of the victims was still alive however she had been shot in the head and was very close to dying. It was an alarming situation but I reassured her that we were going to help her as much as we possibly could. I was able to keep my stress level under control by focusing on my breathing and communicating with the other officers on scene.”

Q: What is something that you wish citizens would understand about what officers must go through in everyday life? (A question about all officers as a whole in general)

A: Officer Joe Mazur– “ It would be nice if citizens would consider the cumulative stress that officers encounter during a day, week, year, and career. We frequently see people at their worst. It is unfortunate that many times they also see us at our worst. I absolutely believe there are good and bad people in every profession; however, I feel the majority of officers I worked with had big hearts and truly enjoyed helping people.

Q: As part of your training have you ever participated in traumatic players’ training scenarios? 

A: Officer Joe Mazur – “Yes, while I was being trained as a Crisis Intervention Officer.” 

Q: When was the last time you engaged in traumatic players’ training? 

A: Officer Joe Mazur –  This was the first and only time so far.”

Q: As an officer that worked along with the traumatic players, how was your experience? 

A: Officer Joe Mazur –  I enjoyed the training exercise because of the effort the role players gave to their performance. They offered a proper response to the officer’s actions and provided a realistic training environment. They used the excellent acting technique while in the role and provided solid feedback upon completion of the scenarios.”

Photography from Traumatic Players at Tri-c

Q: Do you think it’s beneficial to have the traumatic players help the 

Tri-C police with their training? 

A: Officer Joe Mazur – “ Yes I do. I feel that role-playing is a great way to practice real-life scenarios. Police work is like any other job, you have to practice your skills if you expect them to serve you in a time of need.”

“Thank you for giving me this opportunity to share my thoughts with you. I thank you for helping police officers improve their crisis intervention skills. Good luck in your future endeavors.” – Officer Joe Mazur

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….…..Spectrum News 1 | Traumatic Players of Cleveland help First Responders Prepare for Crisis

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