Vote CopsAlive to be THE Top LE Blog

Your vote can make us THE Top Blog. CopsAlive has been awarded as a Top Blog for Law Enforcement by California Casualty and a Top 20 Criminal Justice Blog by Excite Education.

Help CopsAlive become THE Top Law Enforcement Blog in 2012 VOTE HERE.

CopsAlive.com has received two noteworthy awards recently as a top… Continue reading

Support FallenBlue as they Support our Families

I I I We had a chance to speak with A.J. Pero the drummer for the rock band Twisted Sister and spokesman for the organization Fallen Blue about how their organization is helping the families of law enforcement officers that have lost their lives outside of the line of duty. We had a great discussion about what they are doing and how they are supporting police officers, sheriff’s deputies and other members of law enforcement by raising funds and resources to help the families of our fallen comrades who have lost their lives while off-duty.

You can hear our interview by clicking the replay button below.

Fallen Blue is an organization created by a variety of music artists and sponsors to provide support, both emotional and financial, for the families of police officers who are killed outside the line of duty (i.e. car accidents, suicide). Visit their website at www.fallenblue.org to learn more about them and what they are doing.

John Guarnieri the President, Fallen Blue has said: “Like several people on Fallen Blue’s Board of Directors, I have dealt with the loss of a friend during an off-duty accident. Officer Pascal J. Hall lost his life in a motorcycle accident on August 26, 2009. One of the toughest things I have done was carry Officer Pascal’s casket, especially… Continue reading

Code 9 Officer Needs Assistance Meets Their Fund Raising Goal

Thank you to all of our readers and congratulations to Deborah Louise Ortiz and everyone involved in the “Code 9 Officer Needs Assistance” film project. The producers have reached their $25,000 fund raising goal five days early. This will allow them to move forward with the completion of the film.

The film is being produced to help law enforcement officers survive the rigors of their very stressful careers. This powerful documentary explores the darker side… Continue reading

Mental Health & Peer Support in Law Enforcement

Editors Note: In the following article Officer Jeff Watson discusses the need for integrated mental health services and appropriate peer support programs for all law enforcement officers.  Officer Watson has 12 years of civilian Law enforcement experience, and is currently working towards state licensure as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor specializing in P.T.S.D. and Trauma. He is also currently working towards a Doctorate in Organizational Leadership.

Since 1974, there have only been a handful of research studies in law enforcement about peer support. Most of the studies focused on one particular department and did not encompass additional data. Growing up, I didn’t value mental health services and had several slag terms for individuals employed in the mental health profession.

I always had a sense of wanderlust and I left home as soon as I graduated. I set off to find adventure in the military and as a military veteran I assumed I had all the tools I needed to survive a career in law enforcement. I was sorely mistaken. Several years into my law enforcement career I decided to go back to college, using my G.I. Bill. While sitting in the mandatory General Psychology class, everything started to make sense. I finally started to understand the criminals we came into contact with, my coworkers and more importantly myself. That was the start of my psychological journey.

I was determined to pursue psychology as a major and went on to graduate school, majoring in Mental Health Counseling, which will eventually lead to licensure. Like those before me, my goal is to open a mental health counseling practice to focus on law enforcement and first responders. As part of my internship, I trained at a local community mental health facility where I gained clinical experience. During my time at the facility, I gained valuable insight into how a civilian organization operated and their assumptions about what law enforcement can and can’t do.

I have dedicated the last 10 years of my life as an “agent of change” in hopes to “normalize” mental health in law enforcement. Since then, I have moved to a doctorate program in education. My dissertation is to design and implement a mental health counseling program which can be embedded into any law enforcement department.

Having said that the following are things I’ve learned during my time in law enforcement. The law enforcement profession does not hold mental health professionals in high regard. Historically speaking, mental health professionals were the last stop before a law enforcement officer was fired, suspended or had their firearm officially taken from them.

The law enforcement profession frowns upon showing any form of emotion. Law enforcement officers, collectively, do not have resources to turn to when they are in need of mental health services. Law Enforcement is a male dominated career field. Contemporary society has unwritten norms about men and emotions, especially crying. As with most men, law enforcement officers are no exception. Most male law enforcement officers do not show any visible signs of weakness, which is a way of maintaining credibility with their peers.

As with any population having difficulty with emotions, law enforcement officers frequently internalize their emotions and do not seek assistance, as seeking assistance can be viewed as a sign of weakness. Due to the lack of perceived mental health support systems, there is a higher rate of suicide… Continue reading

Take Care of Our Own

I recently had the pleasure to talk with Chris Allen the President of Hunting For Heroes a unique organization that is helping disabled police officers connect with other officers in similar situations and give back to them some hope, some joy and even in some cases a sense of purpose again.

Founded in 2010 by two active duty law enforcement officers, Hunting For Heroes (H4H) reaches out to officers across the country to connect them with other officers who have sustained life altering injuries. H4H provides a hunting camp environment where officers and their families are able to step away from daily struggles and enjoy time outdoors.

Hunting for Heroes actually began as hunting television show. The founders, Chris Allen and Chuck Bowles, were police officers in the St. Louis, Missouri area and were both avid hunters. They were working on a hunting television show working with both the law enforcement and police angles. As the show concept was being developed, the talk of hosting a charity hunt was presented.

We then began to search out those organizations that were taking care of our disabled law enforcement officers. Only to find out there were NONE. We could not find one organization that was providing services specifically… Continue reading

Can You See Me Now? Traffic Safety for Cops!

A shocking incident occurred here west of Boston last week. We had our first snow storm since Mother Nature threw us for a curve with the October snow storm. Snow storms on a Saturday morning within our community mean traffic crashes, lots of them.

As I was standing on our state highway assisting at a vehicle rollover, I am surprised how we as police officers become possible hazards during these times of reduced visibility. I wore my bright high visible safety rain jacket and I have noticed recently that the firefighters are now wearing a high visibility safety vest over their turnout jackets at motor vehicle crashes and roadway incidents.

We have heard of many tragedies over the years of public safety personnel being struck by vehicles while assisting at crashes, directing traffic or staffing a road detour.
Some of these are planned operations and there is time to prepare and deploy the… Continue reading

Code 9 Officer Needs Assistance

This is just the trailer for “Code 9 Officer Needs Assistance” a new film being produced to help law enforcement officers survive the rigors of their very stressful careers. This powerful documentary explores the darker side of law enforcement as it documents the stories of police officers and their families who are now suffering the mental anguish of the careers they chose, which has led some to suicide.

You can find the above trailer or make a donation to help them finish the film by CLICKING HERE Note: Their Kickstarter campaign is an ALL OR NOTHING campaign and what that means is if they do not reach their goal of raising $25,000 dollars by March 3rd then they will not receive any of the money pledged. And that any one who makes a pledge will not be charged for their pledge unless they meet their fundraising goal. If they don’t reach their goal, then you will never be charged

One of the film’s producers, Deborah Louise Ortiz, is the wife of a retired state trooper. When her husband retired from his 22 year law enforcement career all of their dreams of how his retirement would and should be turned into nightmares. Little did they know that his years on the job would transform into the demons he still battles today. Deborah says that she did not understand what was happening to him and watching his downward spiral was heart wrenching and it has torn their family apart. After much pain and family trauma they now know that he suffers from job related Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

His story has inspired… Continue reading

Two NIJ Studies on Shift Length, Sleep Disorders and Police Officer Wellness

U.S. NIJ STUDY SHOWS THAT 10-HOUR WORK SHIFTS OFFER BENEFITS
OVER THE TRADITIONALLY USED 8-HOUR SHIFT

Shift length most beneficial to officers may also save money

This week, the U.S. National Institute of Justice released findings from two new studies that have implications for improving police officer wellness and work life. The Shift Length Experiment showed that the length of an officer’s work shift has a significant impact on their wellness; a 10-hour work shift offers a number of benefits over the commonly used 8-hour shift, including that officers get more sleep. This report is released on the heels of Sleep Disorders, Health, and Safety in Police Officers finding that 40 percent of officers studied had at least one sleep disorder. Sleep disorders are associated with an increased risk… Continue reading

We Need This Phone Number

There have been too many stories in the news lately of cops gone bad.  Let’s create a better system to support and help them before this happens again.

Make a two-fold “True Blue” commitment in 2012.  One is to work diligently to reduce the number of officers killed in the line of duty, and secondly, to work to save the many officers that are suffering emotionally and faltering professionally.  Here is an excellent resource: The Safe Call Now hotline for first responders.  Let’s also Protect and Serve our own this year!

Memorize it and post it wherever you can: Safe Call Now 206-459-3020

Learn more from this KIRO TV Ch7 Story. CLICK HERE to watch the video.

CopsAlive is written to prompt discussions within our profession about the issues of law enforcement career survival. We invite you… Continue reading

May There Be Peace on Earth in the Last Days of 2011

To the peace officers serving their communities all around the world we salute you and say thank you!  May you experience Peace On Earth and stay safe to enjoy the holidays with your families.

For those of you who don’t find peace, steel yourselves as the world needs your courage and strength.

For those of you who are in law enforcement and are having a difficult holiday season, please know that there are a lot of people around the world that need you, and so do your brothers and sisters in law enforcement.

If things become too difficult please remember that you can always telephone “Safe Call Now” at 206-459-3020 where you can talk to someone who understands… Continue reading