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
Catchy title eh? Well if you started to read this looking for answers you might be disappointed because this discussion is more about the questions. At this point in our profession asking the right questions may be more important than arguing about the correct answers.
Questions like: “What is the brotherhood and sisterhood of law enforcement”? and “if it existed, is it dead”?
Our profession has been under a tremendous amount of pressure and scrutiny lately, in fact the worst pressure I’ve seen in my lifetime, and I have to say that I think it will be for the best. Horrible things have happened under the watchful eyes of the cell phone camera and law enforcement officers around the country, and around the globe, are being examined like never before. Split second decisions are being captured on video so that they can be examined for years to come in all their slow motion, stop action, glory.
This is a discussion about the culture of law enforcement and if it is serving us, and our communities, or is it hindering us.
Robert “Coach” Lindsey a retired Colonel from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana, and I, will be presenting this topic next week at the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA) Conference in Chicago. We will be challenging law enforcement educators and trainers from around the globe to consider this question and all it’s ramifications. We will be challenging them to take this discussion back to their respective agencies and… Continue reading
I recently had a chance to interview Captain (ret.) Dan Willis formerly of the La Mesa Police Department in California about his new book Bulletproof Spirit: The First Responder’s Essential Resource For Protecting and Healing Mind and Spirit. Dan spent 26 years working in law enforcement and retired as a Captain from La Mesa PD. Dan worked as a crimes of violence, child molest, homicide and cold case detective, a SWAT Commander, and as the agency’s Wellness Program Coordinator. He is a graduate of San Diego State University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Criminal Justice. He has taught for 10 years at the San Diego Police Academy, and has been Officer of the Year twice with nominations for Detective of the Year for the State of California.
Dan is a graduate of the F.B.I. National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, where he studied emotional survival issues for first responders. While he was attending the FBI National Academy he took a class that changed his life and set him on a path to help the people who worked for him and ultimately to write this book for others. Dan now takes his four hour training class to anyone that needs him, and feels he is really making a difference. I know he is.
Dan said that when he was in the Emotional Survival class at the FBI National Academy one of the other participants described himself as a “victim of my profession” and that got Dan’s attention as a classic example of how many people in our law enforcement profession feel victimized by all the… Continue reading
EDITORS NOTE: This article was written by guest contributor Michael Pittaro, assistant professor, criminal justice at American Military University and was originally published on InPublicSafety.com.
During my undergraduate education and on-the-job training as a young corrections officer starting in 1989, I was exposed to a plethora of research that focused on the various causes of and responses to prisoner suicides. Yet throughout my 20-year career in corrections, very little (if any) attention was paid to the issue of correctional officer suicides. Discussion of suicide within the profession was a taboo topic because corrections employees were not supposed to appear emotionally vulnerable or fragile. After all, emotional vulnerability often equates to emotional instability, which is perceived to be a weakness within the profession.
PTSD Can Attack Years Later
Even With No Previous Symptoms
EDITORS NOTE:This article has been graciously provided by Allen R. Kates, BCECR, MFAW the Author of CopShock, Second Edition: Surviving Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
“I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, I can’t think,
I feel sick. I can’t do this anymore.”
Can you develop Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) months or even years after a traumatic event like 9/11? Without showing any previous symptoms?
There are studies of World War II veterans and victims of motor vehicle accidents that say Yes.
This phenomenon is called “delayed onset PTSD,” according to the therapist’s diagnostic bible known as the DSM-IV-TR. It states that symptoms first appear at least six months after the traumatic event. That could mean months or even years later.
Yet some mental health professionals argue that the individual must have had symptoms early on, but didn’t recognize them. They also suggest that the PTSD sufferer delayed getting help for months or years, not that the PTSD itself was delayed.
Nevertheless, many law enforcement officers with no obvious previous symptoms do develop PTSD months or even years after a traumatic event.
As an example of delayed onset PTSD, here is the story of a police officer that developed the disorder five years after 9/11 and what he did about it… Continue reading
Please give us your input on this law enforcement suicide prevention video
We want to know what you think!
The Carson J Spencer Foundation is conducting an exploratory survey to get a better sense of law enforcement’s thoughts and opinions about the “Breaking the Silence: Suicide Prevention in Law Enforcement” video and to give us some ideas about what might be useful in a facilitation guide.
EDITORS NOTE: Law enforcement cannot function effectively without the support of the family members who stand behind our professionals, and our police families might be the best “early warning system” for when our officers are suffering in silence. This article was provided by guest contributor Dea Bridge who has been married to a Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) for over 25 years, worked in Corrections, served as a volunteer Reserve Police Officer.
Law Enforcement is truly a family affair!
Society is routinely exposed to the mass media’s version of law enforcement via movies, cop shows, or news reports. These Hollywood depictions are the only frames of reference the general public has for how individuals in this line of work should behave or how they think. It’s no wonder many civilians (non-LEOs) have a skewed perception of the challenges faced by LEOs and their families. While some have a more tailored glimpse of “cop life” based on personal relationships or past experiences, the majority has no realistic basis for their interpretations. For simplicity sake in this article, Law Enforcement Officers will be collectively referred to as LEOs and also include Corrections Officers. It should be noted that agency support staff, Dispatchers in particular, and other types of emergency service workers (Firefighters, EMTs, and Paramedics) face many of the same challenges as LEOs. This grouping is not meant to minimize the trials faced by any one category, but rather to highlight the commonalities among people who strive to make our communities a better place to live.
Resources aimed at helping LEOs cope with the unique rigors of their professions are more abundant now than at any other time in history. To a lesser degree, but increasing, is information specifically designed to aid family member’s with their own set of challenges. Organizational attitudes of… Continue reading
Now is the time to rededicate ourselves to this profession of law enforcement.
There has been a lot of turmoil in the media about law enforcement lately, and much of it is based on lack of information, misinformation and ignorance. This is the perfect time for those in law enforcement to rededicate ourselves to our profession.
It’s easy for people to misunderstand issues about the police and law enforcement when they are uninformed and under educated. It’s our job to inform them.
The vast majority of the citizens in our communities support law enforcement and understand the complexities we face, but they are the quiet majority.
We must work with our community groups to properly educate them about law enforcement training and operations. Then when we need their support for more personnel, more equipment or more… Continue reading
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