March 2nd, 2015 by Filed under Plan Your Health

Creating a Bulletproof Spirit

BulletproofSpiritCoverI recently had a chance to interview Captain (ret.) Dan Willis formerly of the La Mesa Police Department in California about his new book Bulletproof Spirit: The First Responder’s Essential Resource For Protecting and Healing Mind and Spirit. Dan spent 26 years working in law enforcement and retired as a Captain from La Mesa PD. Dan worked as a crimes of violence, child molest, homicide and cold case detective, a SWAT Commander, and as the agency’s Wellness Program Coordinator. He is a graduate of San Diego State University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Criminal Justice. He has taught for 10 years at the San Diego Police Academy, and has been Officer of the Year twice with nominations for Detective of the Year for the State of California.

Dan is a graduate of the F.B.I. National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, where he studied emotional survival issues for first responders. While he was attending the FBI National Academy he took a class that changed his life and set him on a path to help the people who worked for him and ultimately to write this book for others. Dan now takes his four hour training class to anyone that needs him, and feels he is really making a difference. I know he is.

Dan said that when he was in the Emotional Survival class at the FBI National Academy one of the other participants described himself as a “victim of my profession” and that got Dan’s attention as a classic example of how many people in our law enforcement profession feel victimized by all the…

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February 4th, 2015 by Filed under Plan Your Health

Suicide Among Corrections Officers It’s Time for an Open Discussion

EDITORS NOTE: This article was written by guest contributor Michael Pittaro, assistant professor, criminal justice at American Military University and was originally published on InPublicSafety.com.

During my undergraduate education and on-the-job training as a young corrections officer starting in 1989, I was exposed to a plethora of research that focused on the various causes of and responses to prisoner suicides. Yet throughout my 20-year career in corrections, very little (if any) attention was paid to the issue of correctional officer suicides. Discussion of suicide within the profession was a taboo topic because corrections employees were not supposed to appear emotionally vulnerable or fragile. After all, emotional vulnerability often equates to emotional instability, which is perceived to be a weakness within the profession.

There has been much written concerning suicide among…

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January 24th, 2015 by Filed under Plan Your Fitness, Plan Your Health

PTSD Can Attack Years Later by Allen Kates

Jonathan-FigueroaPTSD Can Attack Years Later
Even With No Previous Symptoms

EDITORS NOTE: This article has been graciously provided by Allen R. Kates, BCECR, MFAW the Author of CopShock, Second Edition: Surviving Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

“I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, I can’t think,
I feel sick. I can’t do this anymore.”

Can you develop Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) months or even years after a traumatic event like 9/11? Without showing any previous symptoms?

There are studies of World War II veterans and victims of motor vehicle accidents that say Yes.

This phenomenon is called “delayed onset PTSD,” according to the therapist’s diagnostic bible known as the DSM-IV-TR. It states that symptoms first appear at least six months after the traumatic event. That could mean months or even years later.

Yet some mental health professionals argue that the individual must have had symptoms early on, but didn’t recognize them. They also suggest that the PTSD sufferer delayed getting help for months or years, not that the PTSD itself was delayed.

Nevertheless, many law enforcement officers with no obvious previous symptoms do develop PTSD months or even years after a traumatic event.

As an example of delayed onset PTSD, here is the story of a police officer that developed the disorder five years after 9/11 and what he did about it…

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January 15th, 2015 by Filed under CopsAlive News

Input Needed on Law Enforcement Suicide Prevention Video

Please give us your input on this law enforcement suicide prevention video

We want to know what you think!

The Carson J Spencer Foundation is conducting an exploratory survey to get a better sense of law enforcement’s thoughts and opinions about the “Breaking the Silence: Suicide Prevention in Law Enforcement” video and to give us some ideas about what might be useful in a facilitation guide.

Video can be accessed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-mDvJIU9RI
Evaluation survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LESuicidePreventionVideo

Your answers will help others who…

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January 12th, 2015 by Filed under Plan Your Relationships

Law Enforcement Is A Family Commitment

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 12.30.27 PMEDITORS NOTE: Law enforcement cannot function effectively without the support of the family members who stand behind our professionals, and our police families might be the best “early warning system” for when our officers are suffering in silence. This article was provided by guest contributor Dea Bridge who has been married to a Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) for over 25 years, worked in Corrections, served as a volunteer Reserve Police Officer.

Law Enforcement is truly a family affair!

Society is routinely exposed to the mass media’s version of law enforcement via movies, cop shows, or news reports.  These Hollywood depictions are the only frames of reference the general public has for how individuals in this line of work should behave or how they think.  It’s no wonder many civilians (non-LEOs) have a skewed perception of the challenges faced by LEOs and their families.  While some have a more tailored glimpse of “cop life” based on personal relationships or past experiences, the majority has no realistic basis for their interpretations.  For simplicity sake in this article, Law Enforcement Officers will be collectively referred to as LEOs and also include Corrections Officers.  It should be noted that agency support staff, Dispatchers in particular, and other types of emergency service workers (Firefighters, EMTs, and Paramedics) face many of the same challenges as LEOs.  This grouping is not meant to minimize the trials faced by any one category, but rather to highlight the commonalities among people who strive to make our communities a better place to live.

Resources aimed at helping LEOs cope with the unique rigors of their professions are more abundant now than at any other time in history.  To a lesser degree, but increasing, is information specifically designed to aid family member’s with their own set of challenges.  Organizational attitudes of…

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January 1st, 2015 by Filed under CopsAlive News, Plan Your Growth

Rededicate Yourself To Law Enforcement

ThinBlueLineStayStrongNow is the time to rededicate ourselves to this profession of law enforcement.

There has been a lot of turmoil in the media about law enforcement lately, and much of it is based on lack of information, misinformation and ignorance. This is the perfect time for those in law enforcement to rededicate ourselves to our profession.

It’s easy for people to misunderstand issues about the police and law enforcement when they are uninformed and under educated. It’s our job to inform them.

The vast majority of the citizens in our communities support law enforcement and understand the complexities we face, but they are the quiet majority.

We must work with our community groups to properly educate them about law enforcement training and operations. Then when we need their support for more personnel, more equipment or more…

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December 22nd, 2014 by Filed under Plan Your Life

Whats Your Credo?

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 6.45.32 PMI believe that all of us in law enforcement need to determine how to strengthen and condition ourselves to endure the rigors of our career in law enforcement.

One way to start to do that is to discover what your most important beliefs are as a law enforcement professional. One such statement of belief is the personal credo.

I’ve always liked the credo expressed by John Wayne’s character in the movie The Shootist: “I will not be wronged, I will not be insulted and I will not be laid a hand upon. I don’t do these things to others and I require the same from them.”

That credo says more about what he won’t tolerate rather than what he believes in, but it is all food for thought as you decide what you believe in.

To Protect and To Serve

You may recognize this motto that has in it’s simplicity been adopted by most of the law enforcement personnel around the world but it has it’s roots with the Los Angeles Police Department here in the United States. This famous motto was the winning entry submitted by Officer Joseph S. Dorobeck for a contest held by LAPD as published in their internal BEAT magazine in February 1955.

“To Protect and to Serve” became the official motto of the LAPD Police Academy, and it was kept constantly before the officers in training as the aim and purpose of their profession. With the passing of time, the motto received wider exposure and acceptance throughout the department. Today that agency motto is recognized, and has been adopted, by many agencies around the world. Source: http://www.lapdonline.org/history_of_the_lapd/content_basic_view/1128 Web accessed 5-12-14.

THE CREDO PROJECT is a special educational initiative of the Police Chaplain Project dedicated to unlocking the power of CREDO in daily life.

Over the past year, Rabbi Cary Friedman (author of Spiritual Survival for Law Enforcement) and Phillip LeConte, co-founder of the Police Chaplain Project, have sought out members of the law enforcement community who…

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December 20th, 2014 by Filed under Plan Your Growth

Officers Need Your Prayers

During this season of sacred and religious holidays around the globe police officers everywhere need your prayers and support.

I attended a prayer vigil this morning outside Denver General Hospital in support of Denver Police Officer John Adsit. Officer Adsit, a nine year veteran of the department, along with three other Denver PD officers where injured while riding bicycle patrol to escort a group of Denver East High School students who wanted to protest the Grand Jury verdict on the police shooting in Ferguson Missouri that took the life of Michael Brown.

The four Denver officers were escorting a group of approx. 500 high school students who were marching down a busy Denver street in protest of the Ferguson Grand Jury’s acquittal of Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. All four bike officers were hit by a vehicle that went out of control after the driver suffered a medical emergency. Three of the officers were treated and released from the hospital but Officer Adsit is still in critical condition over two weeks after being hit by the vehicle. He has undergone numerous surgeries and has been battling infection and pneumonia.

adsitfamilyPlease support the men and women of the Denver Police Department and the Adsit family as they pray for the quick recovery of Officer John Adsit.

I raise this issue for two reasons. First, this officer and his family need your prayers and secondly the citizens of the United States need to recognize that this officer was injured protected the rights of people who were protesting against the police. I’m sure when he recovers Officer Adsit would do it all over again. That’s because he is just one of hundreds of thousands of heroes that serve their communities around the world in the role of law enforcement…

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December 5th, 2014 by Filed under Plan Your Fitness

The Importance of Developing Resilient Law Enforcement Officers

Can A Career In Law Enforcement Be More Than Just Dangerous, Can It Be Toxic?

The importance of developing resilient law enforcement officers is something that we all must work toward. Many in law enforcement suffer in silence from the hidden dangers and toxic nature of this career. Many allow the negative effects of this profession to undermine their abilities to maintain their composure, control anger, fear and frustration and offset the sadness and depression all influenced by the tragedy and trauma they endure. They struggle to maintain their physical, emotional and spiritual health as all the negative things they see every day slowly erode their ability to perform their jobs at the required high level of performance.

We want to help you or partner with you to fix this problem. The Law Enforcement Survival Institute is ready to help you build individual and agency resilience and we are here to partner with you to build a strong and positive law enforcement wellness culture. We have initiated several excellent training programs and research projects and we are looking several strong partners to begin long-term law enforcement training and research relationships.

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM:

Current news reports are rife with stories about issues of police officer suicides, PTSD, depression, alcohol problems, citizen complaints, excessive force, police misconduct and “cultures of aggression”. The problems are serious and the solutions all require strategies of building integrity, professionalism along with mental and emotional strength.

The challenge facing the future of our law enforcement profession centers not around the question of how our officers are dying but, rather more importantly, how they are suffering?

Challenges like police officer suicide, fatigue, depression and PTSD are serious problems. A growing body of research on law enforcement professionals seems to indicate that this profession is very toxic with side-effects causing an increase in heart disease, diabetes and cancer and even a lower than normal life expectancy. If you include other worries like alcohol and drug abuse, depression, relationship problems, domestic violence, anger management, financial mismanagement, and other issues that affect officers, on and off duty, then you might even see signs of a crisis.

We should also be asking how effective and professional our law enforcement officers can be while…

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November 27th, 2014 by Filed under Plan Your Growth

Thank You Kevin Gilmartin

esflebookcoverIn the United States it’s time to celebrate our holiday of Thanksgiving whose tradition has roots to a feast of thanksgiving for a good harvest in Plymouth Colony Massachusetts in 1621, but now is utilized by many as a way to acknowledge all that we are grateful for in our modern lives.

By way of acknowledging what we in law enforcement should be grateful for, beyond the fact that we go home alive every day, I am, as you should be, truly grateful to Kevin Gilmartin, Ph.D. for all that he has done over the last several decades to bring to light all the issues about emotional survival in law enforcement. Without his lighting the path I don’t think any of us would be any closer to understanding what happens inside the psyche of this profession.

Gratitude should be an important concept in what we do today in law enforcement. If we seek it, we should be able to role-model it. Gratitude is an important building block of self-respect and community strength.

If you would like to consider what you are thankful for today CLICK HERE to download our CopsAlive Gratitude Worksheet.

Thanks are also due to Allen R. Kates, MFAW, BCECR for bringing the concept of “CopShock” and PTSD to the forefront of our minds as well as to Ellen Kirschman, Ph.D. for her loving and compassionate reminder that we are only as strong as the family that supports us in her book “I Love A Cop”.

Thanks are due to Joseph Wambaugh…

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