We should care about our mental health and the effects of PTSD because law enforcement is a high-risk, high-stress career that exposes all of us to excessive amounts of trauma and tragedy and we ALL need to learn that we can’t cope with all that negative stuff just by surprising it. Good mental health, like good physical health doesn’t come automatically, you have to work to build strength in both areas and taking care of your emotional Self is as important as taking care of your physical Self. When you do become injured physically or emotionally it helps if you understand the issues surrounding your injury and know about your treatment options. Learning about PTSD and other issues that can challenge your mental health can be as important as learning about physical conditions like back injuries and the preventative strategies that can help mitigate those injuries.
In their section on PTSD Basics, the National Center for PTSD operated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says “After a trauma or life-threatening event, it is common to have reactions such as upsetting memories of the event, increased jumpiness, or trouble sleeping. If these reactions do not go away or if they get worse, you may have Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).”
Albert Einstein once said “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” Seems he was sure about human stupidity.
In light of recent events, it has become increasing difficult to argue against Einstein’s position. The human capacity for stupidity, especially when assessed through the observations of nearly incomprehensible human cruelty, certainly seems unlimited.
As a species, humans are an interesting lot. Collectively, we have developed sciences and created technologies that would have appeared magical just a century ago.
Modern medicine, space exploration, computer science, electronic communication, social media, and numerous other disciplines are reflective of advances that are unprecedented in the previous totality of human history. Our knowledge and accomplishments increase exponentially with every passing year. Maybe we are not so stupid after all.
But there is another side to the human equation. This side has less to do with science, technology, and achievement. This side has to… Continue reading
Editor’s Note: Joe is a faculty member of The Law Enforcement Survival Institute and recently published this article on CalibrePress.com. We are honored that he is sharing it with us as well.
Nobody leaves police work the same person as when they entered it. Moreover, being a law enforcement officer can either be the best or worse job you’ve ever had.
Like the rest of you, I’ve watched with interest the latest assaults and criticisms of police officers. After reflecting back on 38 years of police work, it now seems public sentiment is supportive of those who are seeking to restrict the ability of many police officers to protect society. The general public has little or no concept of the experiences or emotions that police officers contend with throughout their careers.
Excellent memory skills can be critical to a law enforcement officer’s daily activities and yet most of us have never had any training to improve those skills. There are a lot of simple ways you can work with your team or a partner to improve your skills. Consider using Kim’s Game at your next roll-call training session as a simple way to build your memory and observation skills.
Use Kim’s Game To Improve Your Memory Skills
The name Kim’s game comes from Rudyard Kipling’s book called Kim published in 1901. “Kim” is the story of an Irish orphan who grew up in India. Kim was being trained to be a spy by the government’s intelligence agency. This spy training involved many things but one was a way of improving his memory. To do this the trainers showed Kim a tray of gems and other stones and he was allowed to memorize them for one minute. After the minute had elapsed they… Continue reading
It’s the beginning of a new year and everyone in the world is thinking about improving their physical fitness. You on the other hand are a police professional and you know that you have to think of yourself as a professional police athlete who trains all the time, and will do so for the rest of your life. You do that because you know that this career is filled with hidden dangers that can be toxic to your physical and emotional health. You know that in order to adequately Armor Your Self™ against the negative side-effects of this career you must strengthen and condition your Self mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually every day.
Sure, you know all this, but it’s hard to do. So why don’t you use this new year to recharge your batteries and set some fresh goals to take care of yourself. Why don’t you create a positive mindset of comprehensive fitness for your Self and get started today.
EDITORS NOTE: This is a guest posting from Rev. Keith A. Evans who is a Police Chaplain with the Casper Police Department.
Experiencing a great quality of life involves a balance between your physical, your emotional and your spiritual selves. The well-used analogy of a “‘three-legged stool” can be used as a visual image of what happens when one or two legs of your physical-emotional-spiritual selves are not in balance, or maybe not even present. Many people usually give their physical self the majority of attention and the emotional self receives a very small minority of attention. Leaving, more often than not, the spiritual self totally abandoned and without any intentional nurturing.
As this triad of total holistic health becomes more balanced, each leg’s strength or sphere of influence begins to overlap the others. The greater the overlap, the stronger the triad and a person’s resilience to crisis and… Continue reading
National Partnership Launches Police Suicide Prevention Facilitation Guide
At its highest levels, the national law enforcement community acknowledges suicide prevention as a health and safety priority. In 2012 there were 126 documented suicides of police officers (versus 49 killed by gunfire in the line of duty). In 2013 the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) held a forum called “Breaking the Silence: A National Symposium on Law Enforcement Office Suicide and Mental Health,” and in 2014 the IACP helped develop a video in partnership with the Carson J Spencer Foundation, the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, and the American Association of Suicidology entitled Breaking the Silence: Suicide Prevention in Law Enforcement (access video here: https://youtu.be/fBJbo7mnnBs). In recognition of Suicide Prevention Month, and as part of an expanded collaborative effort, the partnership is releasing a video facilitation training guide for law enforcement agencies. The guide can be downloaded as a free PDF here: http://carsonjspencer.org/files/9214/4078/2987/20150817_LE_Video_Guide.pdf
“As a law enforcement officer for 30 plus years, the last eight as chief, I recognize the value of sustained, comprehensive and coordinated suicide prevention efforts for… law enforcement agencies. These tools can provide departments with an important first step in opening discussions around the sensitive issue of suicide and mental health,” said Kenosha Police Chief John Morrissey, member of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention’s Workplace Task Force. Continue reading
By: Jonathan Sheinberg, MD, FACC Cedar Park Police Department
EDITORS NOTE: Dr. Jon Sheinberg is Board Certified Cardiologist and he is a sworn officer in the State of Texas. He is working hard to learn more about and fight heart disease in law enforcement. We conducted an interview with Dr. Sheinberg and are honored to publish his article.
As a fellow Law Enforcement Officer and a physician I am trying to spread the word. We are missing the boat, and because of this, we are dying. There is a simple reason that law enforcement officers have some of the best pensions in the country – we do not live long enough after retirement to fully collect them. Several programs have been created to address premature officer death and officer safety is a primary concern for every agency whether on the local, state or federal level. Police officers and Special Agents are intimately aware of safety policy and procedure requirements: wear reflective vests, always use body armor, do not engage in high- speed pursuits for low-level crimes etc. Despite these efforts however, there is another cause of officer death and disability that is usually overlooked – cardiovascular disease.
Heart disease is a major problem for law enforcement!
Heart attacks are always in the top two or three categories of police line of duty deaths. However, if extrapolated to a full 24-hour day, heart attack likely becomes the number one killer of men and women in uniform. This is not new information. More than 20 years ago, International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) published some of their initial data (Violanti, 2013). The data are shocking. The life expectancy of a police officer is 20 years less than his or her civilian counterpart. Continue reading
Fueling the human body in extreme situations has become a science and law enforcement officers deserve to have the best nutritional knowledge and high-energy food products available to them.
Whether you work the streets, corrections, long duration investigations or emergency call-outs you deserve to have the best possible nutritional information and high energy food available to you to keep you performing at your peak capacity. You deserve it and so does your public.
Law enforcement officers should be fueling their bodies properly with fresh, nutritious foods and have the best possible high-energy substitutes available for emergency or long duration situations.
To that end we would like to gather as much information as we can to help. We want recommendations from law enforcement officers and nutritional professionals on what you should eat and what you should carry with you during your work shift to fuel you during an emergency or long duration call.
We want your input.
1. What do you pack in your power lunch?
2. What do you keep with you for emergency food in case you don’t get a meal break?
3. What do you keep long-term in your car or go-bag for emergency food
Eating the right things and knowing what to eat has long been a challenge for law enforcement officers. Some of us do this well and many do not. Obesity is becoming Continue reading
I had the honor of recently being interviewed by LESI Faculty member Lisa Wimberger for a new video series she produced called: Critical Conversations With Law Enforcement. In the video series Lisa talked with eight past and present law enforcement officers about the stresses in law enforcement particularly as it is being heightened by public unrest in many U.S. cities.
Lisa did an excellent job with the interviews and you can watch them for free until May 31, 2015 at this… Continue reading
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