The Mathematics of Stress in Law Enforcement

Common wisdom always dictates that you must subtract things to make your life better.  If you are on a diet you must reduce calories, if you are on a budget you must reduce your debt, and if you are a cop you must learn to reduce the effects of negative stresses.

However, human nature really wants to add to our lives when we are stressed.  We drink more, smoke more or eat more.  Maybe as police officers we should take advantage of our human nature and find ways to add positive things instead of negative things that will only cause more stress and compound the problem. Continue reading

25 Questions Cops Should Ask Before They Get Married

CopsAlive asked relationship expert Janice Hoffman for some suggestions that police officers could consider before they become involved in a committed relationship or marriage and here is her article with some of our cop specific additions.

Falling in love is a beautiful thing. When we meet that special person, we want get to know them. We ask lots of questions, listen with curiosity and in the process fall deeper in love. If it feels right, we make the decision to share the rest of our lives together.

As a cop the desire to go from being single to married is a big step and should be taken very seriously. Sometimes the person we fall in love with has responsibilities they bring with them so it behooves us to learn as much as possible about this person we love and want to marry. Don’t forget also that inviting someone into the world of law enforcement also carries a lot of baggage and some people may not be ready so don’t withhold information from them thinking that you are helping them. It is always a good idea to fully inform your prospective mate of all that you think is important for them to know about your police career. Continue reading

Plan Your Life List

I first read about John Goddard when I read the original edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul several years ago.  At age 15 John set 127 goals he wanted to accomplish during his lifetime.  He wanted to accomplish great things and he wanted do lots of amazing stuff during his lifetime.  Now many years later he has done most of them and shares his experiences with others.  His list included things like exploring all the major rivers of the world and climbing the Matterhorn.  He rode elephants and camels, flew in jet fighters and lit a match with a .22 rifle.  He wanted to read the complete works of Shakespeare, Plato, Aristotle, Dickens, Thoreau to name a few and he was able to publish an article of his own in National Geographic.  He retraced the route of Marco Polo through all of the Middle East, Asia and China, and dove in a submarine.  Business World News called him the Real Indiana Jones CLICK HERE to read more.  I loved the story so much that I used to read it to my scout troop when I was a Scoutmaster and I would challenge all of them to write their own life list.  Do you have a Life List?  is it in writing? Continue reading

Cops and Relationships

Cops work and live in all kinds of relationships. We may have a car partner or a detective partner that we interact with or we might have a team that we work with. We certainly interact with many peers and supervisors all shift long for four or five days a week.  We work with the community, with the schools, with business leaders, religious leaders, social service and mental health providers and lots and lots of people.

Additionally we may also be involved in a romantic relationship or marriage in our private life that may or may not overlap with work.  For all of this human interaction you would think that we would be great at building and maintaining strong and lasting relationships, but I think most of us would agree that’s not always the case. Continue reading

Stress: Cause or Symptom

When you really examine the side-effects of a law enforcement career on the men and women who take the oath and don the badge it’s kind of scary.

First examine the rate 100 to 200 police officers who are killed in the line of duty in the U.S. alone each year.  Then if you dig deeper, the statistics show that things like suicide, cancer and other side effects of the police career that kill thousands more cops each year. Continue reading

Do YouTube?

As cops sometimes we just need to find the humor in things when everything around us is filled with crime and tragedy.  Maybe we should check out some  of the offerings on YouTube.  Here a some of my favorites:

This one was created by Tim and Kris O’Shea of The O’Shea Report.  Visit them at http://www.theosheareport.com

Continue reading

Moonlight or Start Your Own Business?

Are you moonlighting or working a second job?  I don’t know many cops who don’t.  It seems like we are always searching for something more.  Maybe we want to earn a little extra cash or socialize with the people or maybe we need that extra cash.  How much of your earnings from any side jobs you work are you actually investing or even saving?

Earning extra cash is nothing new in this world and with the economy in the U.S. the way it is, it seems like those extra earnings are the only way that many people are even getting by with their bills.  It seems that when your primary job is peace officer or law enforcement of any kind that it shouldn’t have to be that way but it is. Continue reading

Silent Tribute

It was cloudy, windy and a little chilly as officers and families from around the state of Colorado came together today at the Colorado Law Enforcement Memorial to Officers Killed in the Line of Duty.  As the crowd listened to Colorado Governor William Ritter and U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado Troy Eid praise the actions of this year’s additions to the memorial wall, a lone piper played amazing grace and 219 white doves were released into the sky in tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the people of Colorado since it became a state of the union.

The icy wind was a reminder of the harsh reality of the job of peace officer but the children, spouses and family members of those who gave their lives in service was an even more powerful testament to the legacy of sorrow that never leaves a when a peace officer it taken from this earth. Continue reading

Fun, Fun, Fun!

That sure describes our policing profession doesn’t it? How many of you really got into law enforcement just for the fun of it? I know, I know, you told the interview panel that all you really wanted to do was to “help people”, and when you became a cop, you did but admit it, you were looking for fun.

The big question might be “Is it still fun?” Did all the fun and excitement that got you into police work linger or has it passed? Are the thrills still there or are you having to create then now? Most importantly, what do you do for fun and relaxation off the job?

With stress probably being the culprit behind most police officer deaths, certainly after retirement, what are you doing to minimize that stress now and how are you relaxing? Also of importance is how healthy is your means of having fun? Continue reading

When Will You Retire from Your Police Career?

As a working cop have you thought about when you are going to retire? Maybe you have a fixed police retirement date that’s not within your control or maybe you can plan your own date but haven’t even started to plan for it yet. Maybe you are like many other police officers in that you feel that you will never be able to retire and that they will find you withering away in your patrol car at age 95.

I’d like to ask you to consider another factor and that is how long can you stay successful in the job? How long can you tolerate the stress and demands of the job and still perform it at a level that you know is acceptable? I don’t think the financial planning aspect and the personal health planning aspect of this decision need to be or even should be separate. Continue reading