Sunday, August 1st, 2010 by

Wellness Advice From A 30 Year Veteran of Law Enforcement

I met Chuck Wright at the Springbrook Law Enforcement Wellness Summit a couple of months back and was very impressed by the vast amount of wisdom and experience he had accumulated in a law enforcement career that spanned over 30 years and is continuing today as he works with the first responder hotline “Safe Call Now“. I wanted you to share in some of that wisdom so I conducted a telephone interview with Chuck and was completely impressed with the quality of the stress management tips he had to offer other law enforcement officers.

In our interview Chuck, a 30 year veteran of law enforcement who served as both a parole and probation officer for the State of Washington and who is also a licensed mental health professional, told me about his background and also the challenges he faced during his career. He started as a probation/parole officer and early in his career became a licensed mental health professional. He began working with sexual and violent offenders and eventually worked with over 10,000 of them. He has also become an expert in working with law enforcement officers who have to cope with the stress of working with the worst of the worst offenders. Because of his expertise in this and other areas of mental health, he was chosen to work on the Task Force to find the Green River Serial Killer Gary Ridgeway. After Ridgeway’s arrest in 2001, nearly 20 years after the first murder, he confessed to 48 murders, more confirmed murders than any other serial killer in American history.

Because of this work Chuck was asked to address the FBI Academy about issues surrounding the stress effects to investigators working… task forces and large scale investigations. He stressed the importance of having a mental health professional or a “Person with Person’s Skills”, as he calls it, to support and protect the investigators, and their families, from the toxic effects of these massive investigations.

Later in his career Chuck was also invited, as part of the American Red Cross National Disaster Team, to provide mental health support to those working the Pentagon crash site following the September 11, 2001 attacks. He also later worked with those working at the Ground Zero – World Trade Center site in New York City.

Over the years Chuck Wright amassed a huge amount of expertise and experience working with all types of law enforcement personnel in stressful jobs and situations and was able to help them learn to cope more effectively with the toxic effects of their jobs, but that doesn’t mean the he doesn’t have stories of the toxic toll his career took on him as well.

Chuck is retired from law enforcement now but still provides mental health support for the the first responder hotline Safe Call Now which you can access at (206) 459-3020 if you need help. This hotline is operated 24 hours a day and staffed by police officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel who have a good understanding of what you might be going through in your job. Chuck also volunteers his time as a “Special Deputy” helping his local sheriff’s office Cold Case Team, profile and solve cold murder cases.

I encourage you to listen to our interview and decide for yourself if the stress management tips he gives for law enforcement officers will help you survive the toxic effects of your career.

You can listen to our 45 minute interview here:

Or you can download the 8 MB mp3 file by RIGHT CLICK HERE to download (that’s CONTROL CLICK if you use a Mac then SAVE LINK AS…) a copy of the mp3 file.

Learn More About:

The Green River Killer and Task Force:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Ridgway
http://karisable.com/grinvchal.htm

The September 11, 2001 Attacks and Mental Health Support for those Workers:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_11_attacks
http://pentagon.spacelist.org/
http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/wtc/html/services/mental.shtml

An American Red Cross resources PDF for 9 11 rescue and recovery workers is available by CLICKING HERE

The Crisis Hotline for first responders “Safe Call Now” (206) 459-3020 at: http://www.safecallnow.org/

Mental Health Support for Law Enforcement:
http://www.policefamilies.com/
http://www.lemha.org/

Check out Jeff Shannon’s “Emotional Kevlar for Cops” Blog.  Like Chuck, Jeff is a cop and a mental health professional and he understands you: http://www.policementalhealth.blogspot.com/

The Hazelden Springbrook Treatment Center – Specializing in treatment for addiction and co-occurring trauma disorders in law enforcement officers including the effects of stress and PTSD.
http://www.hazelden.org/web/public/trauma.page

Law Enforcement Support for Dealing with Persons with Mental Illness
http://www.mhaem.org/street_talk.htm
http://consensusproject.org/issue_areas/law-enforcement

CopsAlive.com was founded to provide information and strategies to help police officers successfully survive their careers. We help law enforcement officers and their agencies prepare for the risks that threaten their existence.

We do this by Helping Law Enforcement professionals plan for happy, healthy and successful lives on the job and beyond. We think the best strategy is for each officer to create a tactical plan for their own life and career.

The Law Enforcement Survival Institute (LESI) works with individuals and organizations to help them create and sustain success in their lives and careers as law enforcement professionals. It is the primary goal of The Law Enforcement Survival Institute to become the preeminent source for training, resources and information about how to create and sustain a happy, healthy and successful life and career while providing superior law enforcement service to your community.

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