Law Enforcement Crisis Intervention
Andrew Gruler, LMR. SW-CP, CATSM, BCETS is Clinical Director for the South Carolina Law Enforcement Assistance Program. In this pro bono capacity Mr. Gruler supervises and coordinates debriefing and crisis intervention for law enforcement employees throughout the State of South Carolina. He also develops and/or delivers training programs in the area of trauma to law enforcement agencies throughout the United States.
- Trainer for International Critical Incident Stress Foundation
- Trainer for Fox Valley Technical College, Appleton, WI
- Board Certified in Critical Incident Stress Management
- EMDR Level II therapist
Mr. Gruler assists in planning and coordinating the bi-annual South Carolina Post Critical Incident Seminar for law enforcement personnel. This three-day intensive crisis intervention seminar, open to individuals who have been exposed to the worst incidents law enforcement has to offer, are attended by law enforcement officers from North and South Carolina as well as Virginia. The seminar has also been observed by law enforcement mental health professionals from Italy, Northern Ireland, and the U.S. Department of State, as well as, a private sector EPA mental health professional from Canada. These individuals watch the process with hopes of taking this model back to their home agencies/companies.
He has been instrumental in developing and training a Post Deployment Peer Team consisting of state, county, and local law enforcement personnel who have had previous military experience. Once trained, they will provide peer support, when needed, to returning fellow law enforcement officers who have been called to active duty to serve in the current or past wars.
He has also assisted South Carolina Army National Guard in developing and implementing a Post-Deployment Seminar, the first of its kind in the U. S. This seminar, which is based on the law enforcement model, has been developed for returning Guard personnel identified as having some residual effects from their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In October 2001, in response to the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center bombing, and at the request of the U.S. Department of State, Mr. Gruler directed the crisis intervention for the Diplomatic Security Special Agents and staff assigned to the New York City Field Office.
In May of 2002, he returned to New York City at the request of the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation as a clinician leading a peer support team consisting of three South Carolina State Troopers and himself. The function was to support New York City Police Department’s peer support teams with their ongoing crisis intervention/debriefings of New York City Police Officers and employees. As the mental health professional, Mr. Gruler was required to notify the proper authorities as to any concerns he may have had about any one of their employees that showed any stress/trauma symptoms of significance. His team also responded to Ground Zero and New York City Morgue to provide crises intervention as needed.
Mr. Gruler and his team members were selected by a New York City Police Department representative to make a presentation to a new Lieutenants class. These discussions dealt with what they, as supervisors, should be aware of regarding traumatic reactions in themselves and people they supervise. Mr. Gruler and his team also discussed different police department and community sources available to them if they, or someone they knew, needed further assistance.
He has assisted in leading a critical incident stress seminar for agents of Diplomatic Security Service, and aided the State Department’s Diplomatic Security in developing a worldwide peer support program.
In April 2007, immediately after the shooting on the Virginia Tech campus, at the request of the Blacksburg, VA Police Chiefs, Mr. Gruler along with Troopers from North Highway Patrol Member Assistance Team and two members of South Carolinas Peer Support team responded to Blacksburg and conducted crisis intervention for both the Blacksburg and Virginia Tech police departments.
In the Carolinas, Mr. Gruler has acted as consultant to local organizations and companies, advising them on how to work with their problem employees, volunteers and customers, and included suggestions on how to recognize and diffuse potential problems that might escalate into violent situations. He has developed and presented programs to Mental Health Professionals, Employee Assistance Professionals, and Visiting Home Nurses. These programs covered workplace violence, assessing dangerousness, the debriefing process, trauma, PTSD, stalking and psychopathy.
Mr. Gruler has testified as an expert in South Carolina District Court, in the area of personal responses to life threatening situations involving violence or the threat of violence. He has also testified as a mitigation expert in capital murder cases in Florida and South Carolina and has worked similar cases in Georgia.
Peer Support Team Coordinator – United States Secret Service. Because of his involvement in a 1980 fatal shooting incident, Mr. Gruler was requested, in 1988, to assist in the development of the Secret Service Peer Support Team. This rapid deployment unit was created to immediately respond and provide professional traumatic incident counseling and services to the involved victims and their families. As coordinator, he arranged for the response to, or personally responded to, numerous critical incidents involving employees of the United States Secret Service. Because of this position, Mr. Gruler was requested by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) to assist them with crisis intervention in the immediate aftermath of the Branch Davidian incident in Waco, Texas. He also coordinated and responded with Secret Service peer support teams to Oklahoma City due to the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
Special Agent – United State Secret Service. While an agent with the United States Secret Service, Mr. Gruler was personally responsible for the protection of the President and Vice President of the United States here and abroad, as well as Heads of State visiting the United States. These assignments included, but were not limited to, overall responsibility for manpower and equipment requirements and assignments, logistical operations, motorcade routes and liaison with Presidential and Vice Presidential political staff. Mr. Gruler also had to develop a working relationship with federal, state and local law enforcement, fire and emergency medical agencies, both in the United States and abroad, that were needed to assist during a particular mission. Also required was a contingency plan in the event of a criminal or terrorist incident, which would include the evacuation of the protectee and the safe exit of all in attendance. Plans would also be made for what actions and reactions were to be taken immediately after such an incident.
When not on a protective assignment Mr. Gruler was responsible for criminal investigations. These cases consisted of violations of Federal laws covering counterfeiting of U.S. currency, bank fraud, credit card fraud and white-collar crimes. Further it was his responsibility to present these cases to the United States Attorney’s Office for prosecution and if needed to testify in Federal Court.