Columbia police chief praised for opening up about PTSD

jwilkinson@thestate.comApril 24, 2013 

— Fifth Circuit Solicitor Dan Johnson said at a veterans rally at the State House Wednesday that Columbia police chief Randy Scott’s revelation that he suffered from post traumatic stress syndrome did not surprise him.

He praised Scott’s decision to make it public and urged state lawmakers to redouble their efforts to help veterans deal with the disorder.

Scott “resigned from an office I know he loved,” said Johnson, who was the keynote speaker at a rally calling for more benefits for military veterans. “He cited PTSD as a contributor to his situation. It takes courage to step out of the shadows and admit those issues.”

Although Johnson’s speech was aimed at the mostly Vietnam War veterans who gathered at the rally, he said that police officers like Scott “also see some of these issues.”

He said he wasn’t advocating any one piece of legislation to address better treatment of PTSD and other ailments among veterans.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is as much a battle wound as a bullet or a roadside bomb, and politicians at the State House and in Congress need to redouble their efforts to help veterans deal with its effects.

“I just want lawmakers to ask themselves if they are doing all they can do,” he said.

Johnson said he brought the chief’s name up at the rally, sponsored by the S.C. Veteran’s advocacy group, “because he’s a brother to me. I saw some of the things I recognized” as symptoms of PTSD.

Scott took a sudden, indefinite leave of absence April 2. At a Monday news conference, he explained his struggles and announced he would resign as chief, effective May 1.

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