3 Tips to Help You Build Effective Wellness Systems for Your Policing Organization

Here are 3 tips and 3 questions to help you build a better wellness system for your law enforcement organization.

First let me tell you what I believe, then I’ll give you 3 tips and ask 3 questions to help you, and then I’ll ask you what you believe about police wellness.

I believe: Police wellness should NOT be a program, it should be a system!

Effective Wellness Systems should be strategic, comprehensive, specific, measurable and sustainable.

There are three reasons why most law-enforcement wellness programs aren’t making their people, healthier, safer, nor more professional… First, they’re not comprehensive enough. Secondly, they’re not doing anything more than just adding new training programs, and creating more “flavor of the month” initiatives. Third, they are not investing time in their people, but rather using “band-aid” measures to try and fix complex problems.

Programs and initiatives are not a system. They can help begin to build a system, or they can help sustain a system, but they are not a wellness system. Sometimes a cluster of unrelated, and unconnected initiatives can actually work against the building of an effective system. In policing this can be very dangerous.

3 Tips to Help You Build a Better Wellness System (or more appropriately a system of systems):

1. An effective wellness system should be strategic:
You need to have a plan with specific goals. What are your objectives? How will you get there? How will you measure your effectiveness?

2. An effective wellness system should be comprehensive:
An effective wellness system should strengthen and condition people physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
For an organization, an effective wellness system should contain subsystems of support, a positive wellness-focused organizational culture and leadership practices that promote wellness.

3. An effective wellness system should be measurable:
In the words of business guru, Peter Drucker, “what gets measured, gets managed”. If you are not using clear metrics to assess your wellness systems, then you are not able to determine if they are working and how they are working. In our profession we measure everything, why don’t we turn that same spotlight on to the management and sustainability or our personnel?

Now, here are 3 Questions to Help You Build a Better, More Effective, Wellness System:

1. Are Your People (and peers) as Professional, Effective and Resilient as You Would Like?

2. Is what you are doing now to maintain the wellness of your people working? How do you know?

3. If you don’t have a strategic plan for your wellness system, what would you add into one if you were drawing up a new plan?

I believe that If we don’t take care of our people, we won’t be able to take care of THE PEOPLE.

Our research has shown that even the largest agencies in the country don’t have a comprehensively well developed wellness enhancement system for their people. We also know that 75% of all the agencies in the nation have fewer than 25 officers. If you were going to do anything to enhance the Wellness system in your agency what would it be? If you are a small agency, call me, I can help you!

If I can help any of you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me by phone or email (go to the contact drop down tab at the top of this page).

BEFORE YOU GO – Please Take our Free online Police Wellness Snapshot Survey:
If you choose to do nothing else at least take our Free online Police Wellness Snapshot Survey to take a quick “snapshot” of your agency to identify areas where improvements need to be made. It only takes a moment to answer the 10 simple questions and then you will immediately receive your diagnostic snapshot survey report by email. Visit our Police Wellness site to take the survey at: https://policewellness.com/free-survey/

To read more, check out our CopsAlive article on The High Cost of Unwellness in Policing

The Law Enforcement Survival Institute (LESI) is an assessment, consulting and training organization that is available to help you in many ways. We work with law-enforcement professionals and other first responders and their organizations who want to be at their best. Much of what I have discussed here comes from our concept of Armor Your Agency.

Our focus is wellness and resilience. We have a variety of products and services, including self-paced Do-It-Yourself materials that can help agencies of any size and any budget. Visit www.LawEnforcementSurvivalInstitute.org to learn more about our training, consulting and DIY products.

So, What Do You Believe About Police Wellness? Please leave your thoughts in the Comment Box at the bottom of this article.

Be well and stay safe!


John Marx, CPP
John Marx is the Executive Director of the Law Enforcement Survival Institute and author of the resilience building textbook: Armor Your Self: How to Survive a Career in Law Enforcement. John has been a law enforcement trainer for over forty years. John served in law enforcement for twenty-three years in both a municipal police department and a county sheriff’s office. He served in patrol, investigations, SWAT, community service and police administration. He was a hostage negotiator and Negotiations Team Leader for 19 years and served his department as the administrator of their community policing project called Community Oriented Governance. Because of his strong beliefs in community policing practices, he started a movement called Wellness Focused Policing which includes the concept of Wellness Driven Community Policing. In 2008 John founded The Law Enforcement Survival Institute (LESI) and started publishing on CopsAlive.com after one of his friends, a former sheriff’s sergeant, completed suicide. The mission of both LESI and CopsAlive is “to save the lives of the people who save lives!”. John is a Certified Protection Professional thru ASIS and also works as a Policing Innovation Consultant helping agency leaders build wellness oriented, high performance and effective organizations. Now as well as working with law enforcement agencies John also works as a private consultant providing training, facilitation and coaching in the leadership development programs of Fortune 100 corporations like Johnson & Johnson, Chevron and General Electric.

REMEMBER: Police Wellness should be a SYSTEM, not a program!
visit: https://wellnessfocusedpolicing.com/info/ to learn more!

At LESI we believe that an effective police wellness system should be strategic, comprehensive, specific, measurable and sustainable. The LESI faculty is always available to help you build the wellness system your agency needs whether that includes building individual resilience for your people; assessing and enhancing agency support systems; developing a positive wellness culture; promoting wellness leadership practices; or all of the above, we’re available to help you so please reach out by clicking here to email or by giving us a call.

#PoliceWellness, #WellnessSystems, #ArmorYourAgency

© Copyright 2024 – The Law Enforcement Survival Institute, LLC and CopsAlive.com – All Rights Reserved

Leave your comments in the box below

CopsAlive is written to prompt discussions within our profession about the issues of law enforcement career survival, health and wellness. We invite you to share your opinions, ask questions and suggest topics for us in the Comment Box that is at the bottom of this article.

At The Law Enforcement Survival Institute (LESI) we train law enforcement officers to cope with stress and manage all the toxic effects and hidden dangers of a career in law enforcement.

Our “Armor Your Self™: How to Survive a Career in Law Enforcement” is a resilience building textbook, a do-it-yourself curriculum and a training program that can be presented live, on-site, virtually or through pre-recorded learning modules. These programs help police officers and other law enforcement professionals armor themselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually to build Tactical Resilience™ and survive their careers in police work. To learn more CLICK HERE. To learn about and buy the book CLICK HERE.

Our “Wellness Focused Policing Initiative” is a people focused policing strategy to promote wellness within law-enforcement first, and then to spread that sense of care, and focus on well-being, outwardly to the people served by the police. This is not a quick fix, “flavor of the month” or a band-aid solution but rather a long-term commitment to developing the comprehensive health and well-being of both law enforcement professionals AND the people they serve. To learn more CLICK HERE. To take our quick and free online survey to see where you stand now CLICK HERE.

The Tactical Resilience™ and Ethical Policing Project (TREPP) is our international initiative to promote the health and resiliency of law enforcement professionals by conditioning our people physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, as well as paying attention to strengthening their mindset, level of personal mastery, depth of their social support system sand their financial fitness. It also provides a set of tools and techniques that, replenish their spiritual health and, restores their inner peace and clarity.  TREPP is expandable to meet the needs of your community and your budget and can use training, assessments and consulting to assist you where you need it. We build human resilience, create processes to enhance agency support systems, promote a culture of wellness, and most importantly initiate community lead projects thru our Law enforcement officers as Community Action Leaders (LoCAL) initiative.
CLICK HERE to download our InfoSheet on TREPP.

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

CLICK HERE to read more about The Law Enforcement Survival Institute.

CLICK HERE if you would like to contact us to learn more about training for your organization.

I’m John Marx, Founder of The Law Enforcement Survival Institute and the Editor of CopsAlive.com. Connect with me on Facebook, LinkedIn Twitter. and Instagram.

CopsAlive.com was founded to provide information and strategies to help police officers successfully survive their careers and improve their heathy, wellness and effectiveness. We help law enforcement officers and their agencies prepare for the risks that threaten their existence. Thank you for reading!

About Editor

John Marx was a Police Officer for twenty-three years and served as a Hostage Negotiator for nineteen of those years. He worked as a patrol officer, media liaison officer, crime prevention officer and burglary detective. Also during his career he served as administrator of his city's Community Oriented Governance initiative through the police department's Community Policing project. Today John combines his skills to consult with businesses about improving both their security and their customer service programs. John retired from law enforcement in 2002. When one of his friends, also a former police officer, committed suicide at age 38, John was devastated and began researching the problems that stress creates for police officers. He decided he needed to do something to help change those problems and he wanted to give something back to the profession that gave him so much. He started a project that has evolved into CopsAlive.com. Put simply, the mission of CopsAlive is to save the lives of those who save lives! CopsAlive.com gathers information, strategies and tools to help law enforcement professionals plan for happy, healthy and successful careers, relationships and lives.
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