Phoenix Law Enforcement Association

Shining the light on PTSD in Law Enforcement

On June 4, 2012 Phoenix Police Officer Craig Tiger was involved in an on duty use of force incident involving lethal force where  a subject threatening with a bat was shot and killed.  After the shooting incident occurred, Craig began to be impacted by PTSD that same day.  On the one year anniversary of his shooting, Craig, still struggling with nightmares, flashbacks and depression, drove to his family’s cabin in the woods with the intent of taking his own life.  He was stopped on the way by County Sheriffs who arrested him for DUI.  While the traffic stop saved his life and subsequent treatment identified the issue of PTSD, Craig now also found himself having to contend with criminal charges for the DUI along with the police department’s internal discipline process.

Months later, at a disciplinary hearing, Chief Daniel Garcia met with officer Tiger and his Association representative, PLEA President Joe Clure.  During the hearing, Officer Tiger (who had 12 years of service with no prior discipline) poured his heart out to the Chief in an attempt to explain what he had been going through.  Both Craig and Joe Clure implored the Chief not to fire him.  Both further explained that Officer Tiger had been formally diagnosed with PTSD and needed help.  Their pleas fell on deaf ears.  The Chief terminated Officer Tiger’s employment which sent many messages:

  • You’re no longer worthy to wear the badge
  • I no longer believe in you or trust you
  • You’re not worth saving
  • Whether you have been diagnosed with PTSD or not isn’t my problem

The termination of Officer Tiger also left him to contend with the costs of continued treatment on his own.

We can no longer tolerate an insensitive bureaucracy that expects so much of our men and women on the front lines yet exhibits the kind of crass intolerance demonstrated by Chief Garcia when people are crying out for help.

MAKE NO MISTAKE:
THIS WAS A GROSS FAILURE IN LEADERSHIP ON THE PART OF
CHIEF OF POLICE DANIEL V. GARCIA.

Chief Garcia, is fond of and often speaks about the concept of the Nobility of Policing.  Where was the nobility when it came to dealing with Craig Tiger?  The mark of a real leader is one who has true discernment in knowing when to mete out care and compassion as opposed to harsh discipline.

In an unrelated situation that occurred August of this year, Phoenix officers were recently forced to take the life of a 50 year old mentally challenged woman who charged them with a claw hammer, Chief Garcia couldn’t move fast enough in making apologies to the family, having a teary eyed press conference and publicly touting the new mental health training that he would mandate for all officers.  Many officers have observed and are now asking why the same level of care, compassion, and concern is conspicuously absent when it comes to Chief Garcia looking out for his own officers?

On Tuesday November 11th, 2014, The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association in partnership with the Phoenix Police Sergeants and Lieutenants Association sent out a press release along with a letter to City Manager Ed Zuercher with regards to concerns over the way the incident/termination involving Craig Tiger was handled.

CLICK HERE to read the press release.

CLICK HERE to read the letter to the City Manager.

 

In the video piece below KPHO News 5 Reporter Donna Rossi interviews former police officers Nathan Schlitz of the Mesa PD and Craig Tiger of Phoenix PD regarding the struggles they endured as victims of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of work related injuries.

 

PLEA PRESIDENT JOE CLURE GIVES REACTION AND COMMENT TO NEWS 5’S DONNA ROSSI AFTER HEARING OF THE UNTIMELY DEATH OF FORMER OFFICER CRAIG TIGER.

CLICK HERE to view the video

 

KPHO News 5 reporter Donna Rossi interviews Rebecca Tiger in a hard hitting interview about the untimely death of her ex-husband Craig

 

KPHO NEWS 5 REPORTER DONNA ROSSI ASKS CHIEF GARCIA THE HARD QUESTIONS ABOUT CRAIG TIGER.

CLICK HERE to view the video