Wednesday, April 24th, 2013 by Jack Digliani
Make It Safe
Today CopsAlive.com is pleased to announce Police Psychologist Jack Digliani’s newly developed “Make it Safe” Police Officer Initiative. The Initiative is comprised of 12 primary components designed to reduce the secondary danger of policing.
What do we have to do to Make It Safe for police officers to trust one another enough to be able to ask for help when they need it? What do we have to do to our law enforcement culture to make seeking mental health support for stress related issues okay?
How can we truly walk our talk enough to really have each others back and really “take care of our own?”
You can start “Make It Safe” in your agency by distributing and discussing this initiative. We must all work to make it safe for officers to ask for psychological support.
What is the Make it Safe Police Officer Initiative?
The Make it Safe Initiative is a concerted effort to… reduce the secondary danger of policing.
The Make it Safe Initiative seeks to:
(1) make it personally and professionally acceptable for officers to engage peer and professional psychological support services without fear of agency or peer ridicule or reprisal.
(2) reduce officer fears about asking for psychological support when confronting potentially overwhelming job or other life difficulties.
(3) change organizational climates that discourage officers from seeking psychological help by reducing explicit and implicit organizational messages that imply asking for help is indicative of personal and professional weakness.
(4) alter the profession-wide law enforcement culture that generally views asking for psychological help as a personal or professional weakness.
(5) improve the career-long psychological wellness of officers by encouraging police agencies to adopt long-term and comprehensive officer-support strategies such as the Comprehensive Model for Police Advanced Strategic Support.
How serious is police secondary danger? So serious that some officers will choose suicide over asking for help.
Twelve primary components of the Make it Safe Police Officer Initiative
The Make it Safe Initiative encourages:
(1) every officer to “self-monitor” and to take personal responsibility for his or her mental wellness.
(2) every officer to seek psychological support when confronting potentially overwhelming difficulties (officers do not have to “go it alone”).
(3) every officer to diminish the sometimes deadly effects of secondary danger by reaching out to other officers known to be facing difficult circumstances.
(4) veteran and ranking officers to use their status to help reduce secondary danger (veteran and ranking officers can reduce secondary danger by openly discussing it, appropriately sharing selected personal experiences, avoiding the use of pejorative terms to describe officers seeking or engaging psychological support, and talking about the acceptability of seeking psychological support when confronting stressful circumstances).
(5) law enforcement administrators to better educate themselves about the nature of secondary danger and to take the lead in secondary danger reduction.
(6) law enforcement administrators to issue a departmental memo encouraging officers to engage psychological support services when confronting potentially overwhelming stress (the memo should include information about confidentiality and available support resources).
(7) basic training in stress management, stress inoculation, critical incidents, posttraumatic stress, police family dynamics, and the warning signs of suicide.
(8) the development of programs that engage pre-emptive, early-warning, and periodic department-wide officer support interventions (for example, proactive annual check in, “early warning” policies designed to support officers displaying signs of stress, and regularly scheduled stress inoculation and critical incident stressor management training).
(9) agencies to initiate incident-specific protocols to support officers and their families when officers are involved in critical incidents.
(10) agencies to create appropriately structured, properly trained, and clinically supervised peer support teams.
(11) agencies to provide easy and confidential access to counseling and specialized police psychological support services.
(12) officers at all levels of the organization to enhance the agency climate so that others are encouraged to ask for help when experiencing psychological or emotional difficulties instead of keeping and acting out a deadly secret.
If law enforcement officers wish to do the best for themselves and other officers, it’s time to make a change. It’s time to make a difference.
I encourage you to visit www.jackdigliani.com to learn more about police primary and secondary danger, and how the Make it Safe Police Officer Initiative complements the “Below 100” Initiative (Lawofficer.com). I also encourage you to talk to your administrators about the Make it Safe Police Officer Initiative.
On the website you can download the Initiative as well as the Police and Sheriff Peer Support Team Manual, the Law Enforcement Critical Incident Handbook, and the Law Enforcement Marriage and Relationship Guidebook at no cost. As always, you are welcome to copy, share, print, or forward this information in any way you deem appropriate.
CLICK HERE to download a “Make It Safe” program description sheet.
Become part of the Make it Safe Police Officer Initiative today. Together we can make a difference!…JAD
Jack A. Digliani, PhD, EdD
Peer Support Team Clinical Supervisor
Loveland Police Department
Larimer County Sheriff’s Office
CLICK HERE to send Jack an email
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