Treatment for Cops and Dispatchers in Crisis

I had the opportunity last week to interview Richard Worthy the president of both the Summer Sky and the soon to open Eagle Force Academy at Serenity Ranch, a unique facility exclusively dedicated to the treatment of local, state and federal commissioned peace officers and dispatchers suffering from the career endangering and often deadly disease of alcohol and/or drug dependency and co-occurring disorders like PTSD. We were both participating in the first Safe Call Now Public Safety Conference and had a chance to sit down afterward and talk about what Eagle Force Academy at Serenity Ranch can do for those in need of treatment.

You can listen to our 39 minute interview which was recorded in the church where the conference was held by clicking here:

Eagle Force Academy at Serenity Ranch (EFA), is a 32 -bed inpatient facility located on a secluded 147 acre ranch in the Hills of Central Texas near the Town of Evant, and is scheduled to open in January of 2011. It will be a working ranch replete with longhorn steers, horses, goats and sheep that greet one as they enter the serenity of the ranch.

Their affiliated facility, Summer Sky in Stephenville Texas, is a 72-bed facility which has treated thousands of patients (adults and adolescents, males and females) for alcohol/drug dependency/abuse and co-occurring disorders since 1985. Summer Sky is available for the treatrment of officer’s spouses and children who may be suffering with addiction issues.

When it opens Eagle Force Academy (EFA) Treatment Center will treat only police officers and dispatchers and they will use Summer Sky for treatment of police family members if needed. As Richard told me this is for police officers and dispatchers if you are “Hired, Fired or Retired” and is meant to be a focused facility working only with these two groups when it opens in January.

Most importantly Eagle Force Academy will be a reasonably priced “for profit” business, but will work with you so that money is not a barrier to treatment. They will accept private pay and most major insurance and can facilitate 3rd party financing for qualified patients.

Further, distance is not an issue as EFA will offer FREE NATIONWIDE PATIENT TRANSPORT VIA GROUND AND/OR AIR to and from the Killeen/Ft. Hood Regional Airport which is just 1 hour away with… Continue reading

Police Officer Health and the “Type D” Personality

There has been a lot of discussion in the media lately about the increased heart attack risk of people with “Type -D” personalities.  An article about a recent study (actually a compilation of 19 studies) was published in the September 2010 issue of the journal “Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes” published by the American Heart Association.

Type D stands for “Distressed” and from what I have found it is characterized by traits like: “a tendency to experience negative emotions,’ including depressed mood, anxiety, anger, and hostile feelings.” which sounds to me like most cops.

“Type D patients tend to experience increased levels of anxiety, irritation, and depressed mood across situations and time, while not sharing these emotions with others because of fear of disapproval,” researcher Viola Spek, PhD, of Tilburg University in the Netherlands, said in a news release.

“The analysis revealed that heart patients with a Type D personality had a three-fold increased risk for future cardiovascular problems, such as peripheral artery disease, angioplasty or bypass procedures, heart failure, heart transplantation, heart attack or death.”

Does that sound like you?  It does sound like me and most of the cops I know.

Reported By Jennifer Warner and Reviewed by Elizabeth Klodas, MD, FACC of WebMD Health News found”
“Although the reasons for higher risk among Type D patients are not clear, the researchers note that Type D personalities appear to respond differently to stress. This may increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the blood  and may be related to higher levels of inflammation. Type D personalities may also be less likely to get regular checkups or communicate well with their doctors.”

Again, does that sound like you?  Type D or not cops are at a higher risk of heart attack than the general population and we need to start doing something about it.

You may have heard about the research that John D. Violanti, PhD reported on last year while working with the Officers of the Buffalo, New York, Police Department.

Dr. Violanti is… Continue reading

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… Continue reading

The Pain Behind The Badge

I recently had a chance to interview Sgt. Clarke Paris of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department about his work to reduce police suicides and help police officers deal with the stresses of their jobs.

Clarke is the creator of the website: www.ThePainBehindTheBadge.com and the one documentary film of that same name.

“The Pain Behind The Badge” is a one-hour documentary film about Police Suicide created and produced by Clarke Paris in conjunction with 100 Watt Productions.

The hour long film was the winner for Best Documentary Film in 2009 at the Las Vegas International Film Festival and won Honorable Mention at the 2008 Accolade Film Festival features three real police officers from different agencies who share with the viewers their battles with job-related stress, marriage, and PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). Two of these officers explain… Continue reading

What Can Police Officers Do To Avoid Burnout?

Hello everyone, it’s Lisa Wimberger from TPCG, and I wanted to share this post I read on a professional database, and found to be insightful, direct, and a much needed inside-perspective on the topic of stress management.  Jeff was gracious enough to give me permission to reprint his blog post with my readers and now I’m sharing it with you as the readers of CopsAlive.

“Let me begin with a disclaimer. Unlike many of my readers, I AM NOT a mental health professional, or for that matter uniquely qualified to provide specific advice regarding such matters. I AM a public safety professional with first hand experience dealing with individuals who were experiencing burnout.

Besides working as an advisor to private businesses, I work in a sworn capacity, for a police agency in Southern California. The agency I work for has just over 100 sworn employees. During the time I have worked there, my co-workers and I have experienced fellow employee suicides, on-duty deaths, deaths of officer’s children, deaths of officer’s spouses and other family members, several officer involved shootings, as well as a myriad of other stressors. Continue reading

A Worldwide Discussion Must Be Started on Police Health Issues

I recently had a chance to travel through Europe and Northern Africa and speak with police officers in eight different countries.  One thing that I encountered was a language barrier and some mistrust and perhaps misunderstanding that we are all connected by a profession that in one of the most challenging on earth.

Because of this we will be translating this short article into 11 other languages in order to gather more officers input from around the world.  Then in future articles we will attempt to address the issues you tell us are most important to you.

One thing we have learned is that Police officers themselves must discuss the health issues that challenge… Continue reading

What are Superfoods and Why Should You Eat Them as a Police Officer?

Superfoods are a group of natural (unprocessed), ultra-nutritious foods that provide many essential health benefits. They’re powerful enough to help lower your cholesterol, reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, and may even put you in a better mood. Do they sound too good to be true? Nope. Superfoods are readily available at your local grocer.

Dietary experts have flagged the following foods as being superfoods: berries, citrus, cruciferous vegetables, eggs, green foods, green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, oats, olives and olive oil, fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, orange vegetables, sea vegetables, seeds, soy, tea, tomatoes, turkey, whole grains, yogurt and kefir.

The language of superfoods can also be confusing, because many of the terms for nutrients overlap. Here is… Continue reading

A Healthy Combination of Diet and Exercise for Cops

My friend and fitness author Jon Benson sent me this email. I have his permission to share it with all of my friends who are in law enforcement or are police officers, sheriff’s deputies or work in corrections.  Despite the really personal details what he shares has a lot to do with people who work in law enforcement.  It turns out that he had a near-fatal event in the gym and wanted to share the story with my readers. I was blown away by what he did in the name of “preventative medicine”… so read this. It may just save your life.

John

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My Medical Emergency; This Happened Today
by Jon Benson

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Sometimes you have to nearly lose it all to realize what you truly have.

I can honestly say that I have come close to death several times in my life. I’ve had my share of accidents, medical emergencies, and a near-fatal accident while driving.

But there was something about just laying on the gym floor today with two doctors hovering over me that gave me serious pause.

Time for some major reflection.

Now, before you get too alarmed (for those who know me, or just think I’m a pretty good guy… ; )… fear not. I did not have a stroke or anything like that, thank goodness.

What I did have was a major drop in blood pressure… so much that I came dangerously close… Continue reading

The Future of Stress Management for Law Enforcement

Teams of LE field professionals conducted hundreds of interviews prior to creating the US Department of Justice’s 222 page proposal to create Law Enforcement Stress Management Training in 1996.  The results can by synopsized as follows: EAP services, CI training, and city/county-wide services are necessary, but not enough.  The government’s top noted benefits of a preventative stress management program are:
•    to provide a confidential, specialized approach to treating and reducing stress for officers and their families, and to improve their ability to cope with stress on their own (most officers do not trust–or use–city or county programs)
•    to increase officer morale and productivity
•    to increase the agency’s overall efficiency and effectiveness Continue reading

Police Officers Need to Learn to Manage Stress Before it Ruins their Lives and Careers

Here we tell the story of Chris Prochut (pronounced “Pro-Hut”) who was a Commander for the Bolingbrook Police Department at the height of the Drew Peterson investigation, who nearly lost his life, but instead lost his career.  Watch this Fox News video then Page down to listen to our interview with Chris.

From age 10, Chris Prochut knew he wanted to be a police officer.
Upon graduation from High School in 1991, he was hired as a part-time animal control officer for the Bolingbrook Police Department.
He advanced to full-time status as a Police Cadet in 1993.
In 1995, Chris was selected to serve the Village of Bolingbrook as a 911 Police & Fire Dispatcher.
After graduating with a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice Chris was hired as a Bolingbrook Police Officer in April 1996.
In August 2002, Chris was promoted to the rank of Sergeant where he supervised the C.O.P.S. (where he had worked) Unit, Animal Control, and Code Enforcement Unit.
He attended the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command in January 2005 where he was chosen as Class President and was selected to receive the Kreml Leadership Award… Continue reading