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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September 16th, 2014 by Filed under Plan Your Health

Law Enforcement Officer Fatigue is a Critical Issue

EDITORS NOTE: The following article was brought to us by David Blake M.Sc and Edward Cumella PhD. about their research into law enforcement fatigue in relation to deadly force encounters. This subject if of vital importance to law enforcement officers and agencies around the world. We hope that you will engage in the conversation and bring the discussion back to your agencies.

Officer Fatigue and Officer Involved Shootings (OIS) – A deadly combination for error!

By: David Blake M.Sc and Edward Cumella PhD.

Law enforcement data indicate that officers frequently suffer from high levels of fatigue due to lack of sleep, unusual shift schedules, and long hours awake. Research confirms that fatigue impairs a person’s mental functioning, especially in areas such as decision making, reaction time, and memory. Yet little study has directly investigated fatigue’s impacts on officers’ performance in police specific tasks, particularly in deadly force situations.

A first of its kind study

A recent study conducted by me; David Blake, MSc., a retired police officer, and Edward Cumella, PhD, a professor of psychology at Kaplan University, has finally addressed this issue. Our ground breaking research examined fatigue’s effects on 53 officers’ decision making and reaction times when the officers were faced with deadly force situations. Officers completed online tasks both before and after each of their shifts, for one week. Records included a history of their sleep patterns, total hours slept, total hours awake, shifts worked, and sleep quality. Officers were then engaged in a series of simulated shoot/don’t shoot scenarios using pictures of potential targets, targets that use of force experts had previously classified as warranting either a shoot or don’t shoot response, or as ambiguous.

Dr. Cumella and I found that many fatigue measures correlated strongly with officers’ impaired decision making and slowed reaction times within the deadly force situations. In particular, poor sleep quality, greater total time awake, more days worked, and working night or swing shifts all decreased the accuracy of officers’ decisions to shoot or…

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September 7th, 2014 by Filed under Plan Your Health

Prevent Police Suicides

This week is National Suicide Prevention Week in the U.S. and it’s time we in law enforcement take a stand against police officer suicides.

Do you have a suicide prevention program in your agency?

Well, you no longer have an excuse for not having a program. With this new video produced by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the Working Minds Program and the Carson J Spencer Foundation, and our CopsAlive.com roll call discussion guide you can create a ready made program the moment you finish reading this article.

Create your own police suicide prevention training program in just 3 Easy Steps.
1. Download the video or show it to your roll call or staff group from your laptop.
2. Pair it with our CopsAlive.com 10 Minute Roll Call Discussion Guide “Law Enforcement Suicide Prevention – Take Charge”
3. Establish your plan for any interventions and post the Safe Call Now crisis hotline for first responders phone number 1–206–459–3020 around your agency.

This video “Breaking the Silence: Suicide Prevention in Law Enforcement” was posted on YouTube by Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas the Executive Director of the Carson J Spencer Foundation through their work with the Working Minds suicide prevention organization, the Denver PD and Kenosha PD.

You can access the above video on YouTube here: http://youtu.be/u-mDvJIU9RI

Download our 10 minute roll call discussion guide on law enforcement suicide prevention entitled: “Law Enforcement Suicide Prevention – Take Charge” by CLICKING HERE.

All training about suicide prevention should…

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August 18th, 2014 by Filed under Plan Your Fitness, Plan Your Growth

Happiness in Law Enforcement

happyfaceDoes happiness play a role in law enforcement?

More importantly what are your beliefs about your own happiness?

I think these are important questions because, sometimes if we lose sight of the prize, so to speak, we lose track of ourselves. We all know that depression, suicide, cumulative stress and PTSD are very real hidden dangers of a law enforcement career. What we do about that, and how we stay focused, are the important areas for our examination here. Learning to assess and develop their own personal well-being can go a long way to protecting a law enforcement officer from the toxic side-effects of the job.

In the Armor Your Self™ How To Survive A Career In Law Enforcement training program I suggest that everyone in law enforcement, and yes that means both sworn and civilian employees, learn to strengthen and condition themselves physically, mentally, emotionally as well as spiritually. I believe that these four areas of your “self” are the areas that are vulnerable to the toxic effects of this job that…

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July 13th, 2014 by Filed under Plan Your Relationships

Interview with Carolyn Whiting the Co-author of “The Crazy Lives of Police Wives”

CrazyLivesOfPoliceWivesCoverIn May we published an article written by Carolyn Whiting the co-author of “The Crazy Lives of Police Wives” and I asked her if she would sit down and speak with CopsAlive.com about the book and her experiences as a former police officer and police wife.

Carolyn Whiting was a police officer for six years and she met Bob, her husband of twenty five years, while working in the same Police department. Carolyn retired due to a back injury and has been a housewife for the past twenty two years while her husband continues to work at the same department where they met. He has over thirty six years in law enforcement. Carolyn has a BA in Geography and was halfway through her MBA when she left graduate school to pursue her life-long dream of being a Police Officer, a decision she has not regretted.

The book is available at Amazon.com in both a paperback and Kindle version as well as at Barnes & Noble in paperback and for the nook.

Carolyn told me that the idea for the book came about after a discussion she had 3 or 4 years ago with…

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June 27th, 2014 by Filed under CopsAlive News

PTSD Awareness Day 2014

In honor of U.S. National PTSD Awareness Day please visit the website of the National Center for PTSD to learn more about this disorder. PTSD Awareness Day is part of U.S. National PTSD Awareness Month which was created to bring awareness to this psychological disorder.

Their concept is simple: Raise PTSD Awareness

Learn. Connect. Share.
Learn: PTSD treatment can help
Connect: Reach out to someone
Share: Spread the word

Our Law Enforcement Survival Institute, and CopsAlive.com recommendation is to consider a four-part approach to encouraging the emotional well-being or the people in your law enforcement agency:

1. Learn all you can about PTSD using some of our recommended links below and the hold a discussion at your department using our 10-Minute Roll Call Discussion Guide on the Police PTSD Paradox CLICK HERE to download the discussion guide.

2. Initiate Police Psychologist Jack Digliani’s “Make It Safe” Initiative that promotes making it safe for officers to ask for psychological support
CLICK HERE to learn more about the initiative on Jack Digliani’s website

CLICK HERE to download Jack Digliani’s Implementation Guide for the “Make It Safe” Initiative

CLICK HERE to download a poster/info sheet about the “Make It Safe” Initiative.

3. Publicize the Safe Call Now crisis hotline for first responders
Add the number into your contact list 1-206-459-3020 and publicize it around your agency.
CLICK HERE to visit their website and learn more about their great work

CLICK HERE to download the Safe Call Now Brochure

4. Start or recommit to a Proactive Peer Support program within your department. Our belief at CopsAlive.com is that Peer Support should be formalized and encouraged throughout the agency or department and should be a proactive initiative where Peer Support Team members regularly check-in with their peers rather than waiting from someone to approach them.
CLICK HERE to download Psychologist Jack Digliani’s Peer Support

CLICK HERE to download Peer Support Guidelines as published by the International Association of Chiefs of Police in 2011

If you would like to learn more about Police PTSD…

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June 11th, 2014 by Filed under Plan Your Career, Plan Your Health

New Information on Police Suicide

breakingthesilencecoverNew IACP Program on Police Officer Suicide

The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) has just released a new resource for law enforcement on police officer suicide, with information and resources on prevention and response to the problem of law enforcement officer suicide. The resources on their website are from their symposium entitled: “Breaking the Silence: A National Symposium on Law Enforcement Officer Suicide and Mental Health” and their website is loaded with lots of downloadable and reproducible materials.

According to the IACP website: “To address the mental health stigma within law enforcement as well as the critical issue of law enforcement suicide, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, in partnership with the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, U.S. Department of Justice (COPS) hosted Breaking the Silence: A National Symposium on Law Enforcement Officer Suicide and Mental Health in July 2013. The participants at the symposium, which included the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, law enforcement and mental health professionals, worked together to develop a national strategy to address officer mental health wellness and suicide prevention”.

You can find their information…

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May 29th, 2014 by Filed under Plan Your Life

The Crazy Lives of Police Wives

CrazyLivesOfPoliceWivesCoverEDITORS NOTE: The following article was submitted by Carolyn Whiting co-author of the new book: The Crazy Lives of Police Wives. This is a book written for and by police wives.  Please support them!

You can’t fix it if you don’t know it’s broken. That goes for people as well as machines. PTSD, suicide, alcoholism and domestic violence are all indicators of broken/hurt people that may go unrecognized. How can you fix the person who is hurting if he can’t be reached or he doesn’t understand that he needs help? There are too many stories about yet another police officer killing himself or another police family battling alcoholism behind the closed doors of their home, in secrecy and shame. It doesn’t have to be that way. Think of the lives that might be changed if only these hurting families knew about the myriad of resources available and the many groups with knowledge and experience waiting in the wings, eager to help. The Crazy Lives of Police Wives is a new book written for and by police wives that broaches these painful…

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May 27th, 2014 by Filed under CopsAlive News

John Marx to Speak at Asian Law Enforcement Stress Conference

LEWMcoverLaw Enforcement Survival Institute Executive Director and CopsAlive.com Editor John Marx has been invited to speak next week in Kuala Lumpur to law enforcement officials and government enforcement agencies about “Managing Stress in Times of Crisis”.

John will be reviewing our three main training programs: Armor Your Self™, Armor Your Agency™, and True Blue Valor™.

Our “Armor Your Self™: How to Survive a Career in Law Enforcement” on-site training program is an eight hour, hands-on, “How to” seminar that helps police officers and other law enforcement professionals armor themselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually to survive their careers in police work. To learn more CLICK HERE

The concept of “True Blue Valor™” is where one law enforcement officer has to muster the courage to confront a peer who is slipping both professionally and personally and endangering themselves, their peers and the public. It takes a system of organizational support and professional leadership to support and foster the concept of courage and intervention. We will train your trainers to deliver this program to your agency.
To learn more CLICK HERE

Our “Armor Your Agency™: How to Create a Healthy and Supportive Law Enforcement Agency” Program includes critical strategies that you will need to build a system of support and encouragement for a healthy and productive agency. To learn more CLICK HERE

The symposium, promoted by MeLearn Global, entitled Law Enforcement Psychology Masterclass is being held June 3rd & 4th 2014 at the Putrajaya Marriott Hotel just outside Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.

This symposium has just opened up extra spots for a few more attendees. This symposium is for law enforcement officials only. If you would like to learn more information…

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