EDITORS NOTE: the following is a guest post from Robert Rabe a Vietnam Veteran who also has 39 Years of Law Enforcement Experience.
PTSD- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a new name for an old story and there are many complexities to its definition. The name, recognizing a medical condition, was coined several years after the onset of the Vietnam War. Similar symptoms demonstrated by soldiers following the Civil War were called nostalgia. GIs during WWI were said to have shell shock. Military personnel from WWII and the Korean Conflict were suffering combat fatigue. No matter what term is used, the symptoms are the same.
There are many descriptions of PTSD: PTSD – a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in psychological trauma. PTSD – is a set of symptoms that surface following a dangerous, frightening and uncontrollable event including: sleep disturbance, flashbacks, anxiety, tiredness and depression. PTSD – is a condition recognized by the prevalence of one or more symptoms affecting people who have
experienced severe emotional trauma such as combat, crime or natural disaster. PTSD – a person may demonstrate symptomatic behavior after seeing or experiencing a traumatizing event where grave injury or death is involved.
One of the most powerful tools a law enforcement officer can use to maintain their fitness is the power of connection. Before I elaborate let’s make some distinctions.
First what does the concept of fitness mean to you? To us at the Law Enforcement Survival Institute fitness means your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual fitness for duty and overall wellness for life’s challenges and joys.
Secondly, connection in this case means to us your ability to maintain connections to family, people, support networks, resources, some higher power and other areas that can strengthen and support you in your life and your work in law enforcement.
So what does the concept of connection have to do with your fitness in police work?
If you look at our over-riding definition of fitness listed above you will recognize that our concept of fitness impacts your whole being or “self” and that in order to strengthen and maintain your peak levels of fitness you must be conditioning your “self” in four areas: physically, mentally, emotionally as well as spiritually. Many police officers and other law enforcement professionals only train themselves physically to survive the rigors of this profession. If that’s all you do, then we are concerned about the threats to you from what we call the hidden dangers of law enforcement like police officer suicide, heart disease, cumulative stress, PTSD, various forms of cancer and other things that will take your life. If you take your personal threat assessment further to the things that don’t kill you but can make your life miserable then we include threats like fatigue, divorce, financial ruin, alcoholism…,
In law enforcement and police work we have a lot of tools to get the job done properly. One area where we might be falling down is our selection of the proper fitness equipment for both our sports and job fitness training. Choosing the proper fitness training equipment like running or cycling shoes, clothing, exercise equipment, cycles etc. can make all the difference between success and failure. For policing professionals our fitness tools are just as important as the tools we use on the job.
In his article this week you will see that Scott wore out his favorite cycling shoes so this YouTube video from LiveStrong.com entitled: “How to Choose Proper Cycling Shoes” is for him
Hi everyone, good to be back after a week in North Dakota. No exercise, unless you call reading highway safety reports and eating hotel food all week exercise.
Did you know that it’s hot and humid in south Louisiana? You’d think I would know that too, but it didn’t stop me from overdoing it this weekend. But don’t “I told you so” too quickly. I was inspired by the wonderful folks I’ve rejoined in our Bayou Country Cyclists team, and our MS 150 training ride was an event I had to participate in. Even though I was still under hydrated and over-stuffed with Bismarck’s best cuisine.
Today’s ride brought a little sadness though. Ever get attached to something…
Operational readiness and our ability to be “fit for duty” is critical on a daily basis in law enforcement and yet we don’t always do the preparatory and preventative things necessary to do to make that a reality.
We know that physical fitness is critical in law enforcement, that’s why we test for it when we hire new cops, and why some agencies still test for it annually.
We talk about understanding that mental fitness is important for law enforcement officers because we screen for it when we hire them but after that initial assessment we seem to go astray and never talk about mental fitness again until someone’s mental fitness is in question.
There is another component of fitness that we never deal with in law enforcement and that has to do with someone who isn’t considered fit for duty and may need to assistance.
How to you benchmark 20 weeks of concerted efforts for reclaiming health? Just show up!
I’ve been chipping away with daily runs, yoga and cycling. Most after work rides allow about 25 – 30 mile rides through beautiful bayous and endless acres of sweeping sugarcane fields. My cycling club, Bayou Country Cyclists held the regular Saturday ride. The club president, Christy J. e-mailed me Friday and said just show up.
75 miles and 4 hours later, I had completed a distance I used to bike regularly enroute to completing century rides. After 2 years, 45 pounds gained, dangerously high BP, and begrudgingly sedentary lifestyle, I had reclaimed the healthy habits I practiced for an entire life.
It was a perfect day for celebrating 20 weeks as a long-time friend showed up for the ride, and for those of you who are fans of the History channels’ Swamp People, the alligator hunter
Editors Note: Laurie has been a good friend of CopsAlive.com for many years and in fact we interviewed her in July 2009 about the “5 Critical Concepts You Must Know to Start a Business” and her interview was met with such an outstanding response that we have asked her to become a regular contributor on CopsAlive.com for issues related to the successful operation of a business. Why is that important to me as a police officer you ask? We believe that one way to successfully navigate this very toxic career in law enforcement is to always have a back-up plan. One very effective back-up plan for cops is to start your own business while you are still working and grow it into an successful money maker so that if you ever need to, or want to, retire it will be there to protect you.
If you are a law enforcement professional and are running your own business and you think you need to spend more money on marketing, or to hire a sales person, or to buy the latest and greatness gadget for your business, I have some advice for you. STOP!
As a police officer or other law enforcement officer I know that having a financial back-up plan is important to you and starting or…
What inspires you to achieve more in your life, your career or with your level of fitness?
This 4th of July holiday provided great opportunities for family, fun, food and showing my siblings who’s boss. OK, actually I overate at a family BBQ, chased kiddo down at a Veteran’s celebration in the park, and blamed the mysterious disappearance of about 6 homemade brownies on my youngest niece. Yes, I was out of character but we all need a break sometimes.
As for exercise, it was another great week to include running, walking and cycling. Despite a month-long pinched nerve I call “getting older,” I found relief in the regular yoga class.
This regular training is also helping tolerate the heat, as our traditional dark navy uniforms offer little respite from south Louisiana’s sun.
Most fun this week has been the long evening walks with my kiddo, and his inspiration to bike ride after an afternoon of watching the Tour de France. I encourage you to…
There’s nothing like a good road trip for chatting while traveling to build and strengthen your personal relationships.
As we approach the July 4th holiday and it’s weekend I’m reminded of my experiences over Memorial Day weekend, which was the start of the summer time vacation season here in New England. My bride and I went on a road trip to the Hudson Valley in New York State that weekend. I know…I know you’re thinking: Sarge, how did you…
This week was about finding inspiration when totally not expecting it. I’ve been back on the bike steadily and enjoying the return in the saddle. Either alone or with the fantastic club members of our Bayou Country Cyclists, it’s great to be back.
Motivation came when I met 2 team members for a quick 20+. One of the ladies forgot her cycling shoes. Her friend offered to forgo the ride and head home. The shoeless rider refused to pack up. Despite needing clip-ins, she took off bare footed on the pegs.
After reaching a straight away, I picked up my pace and rode ahead. Reaching the turn-around I headed back and who did I see? Both cyclists and her still barefoot. She was at the +10 mile point for the out and back.
I was so proud to see her commitment that I must have smiled the whole way back. Great going!
Today is PTSD Awareness Day and its time for those of us in law enforcement to learn more about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and take a stance on how we will preserve and maintain our mental health and resilience in the face of a very toxic career.
Today’s the day and June is PTSD Awareness Month and we encourage you to learn more about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) not only to help yourself but your peers and the family members who need you by visiting the website for the National Center for PTSD which is run by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
What are you doing to raise awareness about PTSD in your agency?
Isn’t it time that we in law enforcement take our own step toward understanding this issue and openly talking about it in our roll-calls and other agency meetings. You can download our CopsAlive Roll-Call training guide on PTSD byCLICKING HERE or keep reading to learn about the many resources being made available by the National Center for PTSD.
Rates of PTSD in law enforcement officers vary but…