We Need To Get Serious About Dealing With Addictions in Law Enforcement

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. Continue reading

PTSD Awareness Day 2013

PTSDaware2013-200x200Today 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?

They invite you to Take the STEP and Raise Awareness about PTSD

  • Learn about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Challenge Beliefs
  • Explore Options
  • Reach Out

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… Continue reading

Glorious Grains Can Improve Your Health

brownricebydanoAccording to the US Department of Agriculture “Eating grains, especially whole grains, provides health benefits. People who eat whole grains as part of a healthy diet have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Grains provide many nutrients that are vital for the health and maintenance of our bodies”.

Things like wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or another cereal grains are all included in the grains category. For the purposes of this article we are going to focus on one of the more beneficial grains: brown rice.

I want you to consider adding brown rice to your diet to improve… Continue reading

Fitness Monday – The Power of Proper Nutrition

soccer-kiddoI’m Shaping Up; Week 12

What happened to Week 11 you may be asking? Well, more travel equals less time to write, but well needed rest from most activities.

I have also decided to stop obsessing over the scale for a few weeks. My low-end weigh-in of 208 was so welcomed, but it made the slight bounce during travel too stressful.

It’s funny that after monitoring your caloric intake and physical output, you can tell where your body falls along the numeric tell-all.

Week 12

Here’s to holding each other accountable when the couch looks inviting and the snacks endless. Continue reading

Train Like a U.S. Navy SEAL

Mentally Prepare Yourself Like a U.S. Navy SEAL

Navy SEAL photo downloadsThe United States Navy SEALs are arguably one of the most highly trained and competent military forces in the world. Do you think that as a police officer or other law enforcement professional you could learn something from how they prepare themselves for the stresses and rigors of their duties?

I had a chance to interview Commander Eric Potterat, Ph.D. of the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command. Dr. Potterat is the Force Psychologist for the U.S. Navy SEALs. In our interview he describes the 7 primary techniques he uses to train the SEALs for Mental Toughness and to improve their Operational Readiness.

Dr. Potterat suggested that many of the techniques used to train the U.S. Navy SEALs have been adapted from the specialized training given to elite athletes to enhance their performance and allow them to successfully compete in the most competitive international events.

He said that he feels that law enforcement and military training can be very similar and that both can learn many things from the advanced psychological conditioning used by Olympic, and other elite, athletes.

The goals of this kind of Mental Preparedness training can be… Continue reading

Is it Time to Check Under Your Hood?

Recently, I had my biennial physical check up with my primary care physician. For me, it is like the scheduled maintenance on our vehicles. It something we should look forward to doing every year or as my HMO offers: every other year. The check-up is to ensure our bodies are running smoothly.

As I admitted in previous articles, I reached the Golden anniversary of my birth recently so my physician was very thorough with his check list of my body parts, equipment and the engine (my heart). Everything appears in order and we always have a great conversation about diets, exercise and my job performance as a law enforcement officer. I’ve been very… Continue reading

1st Responder Treatment

Our law enforcement profession is very slow to embrace the need for early intervention and support of those who need help before they turn to self-medication with alcohol and prescription medications. There is a new treatment program available that is geared specifically for Police, Fire and EMS first responders and it’s called 1st Responder Treatment.

I had a chance to interview Mark Lamplugh the Founder and Program Coordinator of 1st Responder Treatment a partner with Transformations Treatment Center in Delray Beach Florida.

Mark founded 1st Responder Treatment to help first responders get drug and alcohol treatment nationwide. First Responders have special needs when it comes to treatment. Mark was a fire captain who struggled with addiction himself, so he understands the needs that must be met.

The mission of 1st Responder Treatment is to assist every first responder to get the help they need for their addiction issues while also protecting their privacy.

Contact 1st Responder Treatment at:

In our interview we discussed the challenges in getting police officers or any first responders to ask for help when they have a problem with alcohol, drugs or stress.

Our discussion was directed at two audiences. One audience includes the first responders that have an alcohol or drug problem and the other audience was the peer, friend or family member of the police officer or other first responder that knows someone who needs help.

In our interview… Continue reading

Police Primary and Secondary Danger

A finalized report of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund website shows a total of 129 police officer fatalities in 2012. Of these, 52 are specified as “traffic-related”. This is in contrast to 49 officer deaths specified as “firearms-related”. The remaining 28 officer deaths are attributed to “other causes.” This is a reported decline of 22% compared to 2011, when 165 officers died in the line of duty (72 firearms-related, 60 traffic-related, 33 other causes).

These fatalities are representative of the primary danger of policing. The primary danger of policing is comprised of the inherent risks of the job, such as working in motor vehicle traffic, confronting violent persons, and exposure to traumatic incidents.

Sadly, there is an insidious and lesser known secondary danger in policing. This danger is often… Continue reading

Be Happy and Healthy in 2013

So, now it’s February, what are you waiting for?

Right after the New Year many of us as police officers and other law enforcement professionals take this time to self-access our fitness, our lives and our well being. Sometimes, however we procrastinate, so I want to give you a little kick start to get you going with positive commitments for this coming year.

Law enforcement career survival takes a plan and a concerted effort. Let’s discuss some ideas to help you put together your wellness plan for 2013.

Over the last year we have witnessed many good things and many tragedies. Some things are beyond our immediate control but you and I have the ability to take control of our own fitness, our own emotional and spiritual well being. This balance is the key to a productive and more positive lifestyle both on and off duty as a law enforcement professional.

As a Law Enforcement Officer and there are many of us with different titles and responsibilities who are tasked with maintaining public order, public safety and enforcing the laws and regulations of our jurisdictions. We also uphold the public’s rights and freedoms under the U.S. Constitution. We are the Honorable Profession, one that the public entrusts us to uphold our justice system and provide assistance to many in need every day.

As members of this honorable profession we need to be emotionally and physically fit.

We must uphold our professional behavior within difficult situations and with the challenging… Continue reading

How is Your Body Mass Index or BMI?

Law enforcement officers need to monitor and maintain their bodies just as they would care for any other piece of tactical equipment like their vehicle or weapon.

Tracking your body mass index is one part of that process.  BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women.

You can CLICK HERE to use a quick BMI calculator from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services lists the categories for BMI as:

Underweight = <18.5
Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
Overweight = 25–29.9
Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

Use their quick online calculator to find out where you are by CLICKING HERE to see what your BMI is.

If you work in law enforcement you should know, and monitor your body mass index.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control “Body Mass Index (BMI) is a number… Continue reading