Resilience in Law Enforcement

One of your peers is suffering; maybe you are too! They want to be good at their job and actually make the world a better place. However, one too many dead baby calls, and too many months on the night shift with all the drunks and people shoving their cell phones in your face and your partner has had enough. Of course all of this comes on top of the increased violence in your area and the unending tide of gang members plying their drug trade in your neighborhood and your peers are telling you to “suck it up” and “shake it off” — but you can’t. It’s bad enough that work is unending trauma and tragedy, but your spouse is nagging you about not being able to cover the bills this month and why you can’t make your kids recital tomorrow afternoon. Maybe you have experienced some of this too? So what do you tell your partner about why it’s important to take care of yourself? How do you endure this job until retirement and not eat your gun first?

The recent surge of police officer suicides should be a red flag to what is happening within our profession. We need to deal with law enforcement suicide as a symptom of something much more complex and insidious that is eroding our people from within. We spend lots and lots of money on technology to improve policing while at the same time forgetting that law enforcement is a people business. If we don’t take care of our people, they won’t be able to take care of THE PEOPLE!

Police resilience is about making sure… we condition the strength necessary to withstand the rigors and hidden emotional and spiritual dangers of a career in law enforcement. These dangers impact the resilience for all police employees and our families. Building police employee resilience and resilience in police families requires a comprehensive wellness project.

At the Law Enforcement Survival Institute we believe in building resilience in law enforcement employees and our family members. This is not an easy, nor a simple process. It requires comprehensive systems that involve individual police employees, their families, agency support systems and community-wide policing projects. We also believe that we as a profession need to address issues of negativity in our law enforcement culture.

In my book Armor Your Self: How To Survive A Career In Law Enforcement I detailed a comprehensive plan. It’s daunting. Most people won’t read through all 458 pages of what was meant to be a companion book to Kevin Gilmartin’s revolutionary Emotional Survival For Law Enforcement, and instead became a road-map textbook for building resilience individually, organizationally and even within your community. Resilience and well-being are symbiotic. I don’t believe you can have a healthy law enforcement professional working effectively in an unhealthy agency. Nor do I believe that you can have an effective law enforcement agency thriving within an unhealthy community. Finally, you can’t have any of these things if you have an unhealthy law enforcement culture that fights emotional health and well being with stigma and unhealthy dogma.

The Armor Your Self™ concept suggests that in order to thrive in life, and our careers, we must strengthen and condition ourselves emotionally, cognitively, spiritually as well as physically. The true goal then is not just to survive, as in officer survival training, but to thrive to become happier, healthier and more effective, efficient and professional in our work.

Within our Armor Your Self™ concept are also the initiatives to build a healthy agency support system as we Armor Your Agency™; and to improve the wellness culture as we learn to walk our talk and take care of each other through a system of True Blue Valor™.

Most research in law enforcement focuses on the problems we face, rather than identifying protective factors that we can develop to manage those problems. We promote the initiation of positive wellness habits while weeding out unhealthy ones.

A huge problem we face in undertaking resilience building projects is that there are many different definitions of resilience and most researchers focus on the problems associated with the lack of resilience rather than studying factors that might improve your life and job performance while developing resilience.

The Law Enforcement Survival Institute is made up of experts in all the areas that we feel contribute to the development of health and wellbeing for the individual, the organization and the community as a whole. We believe that it is critical to make a commitment to being comprehensive in our strategies otherwise we are just promoting another “flavor of the month”.

Pay it forward! We urge you to build resilience in your law enforcement officers and employees and to build resilience in your law enforcement families. We recommend building health and social capital within your community now, through community policing and neighborhood problem solving projects, so that your can reap the benefits of that work when you need it later.

We are here to help you with courses, consulting and technical assistance. Ask us!

Building health, wellbeing and resilience is not easy – but in a profession like law enforcement it is a necessity. Pay now or pay later – you choose.

Learn more about us. Why don’t you start by serving as an agency host to one of our regional Armor Your Self™ Resilience Building Workshops. We handle registrations and you can earn free seats for your agency. Learn more HERE or contact us HERE.

The book Armor Your Self: How To Survive A Career In Law Enforcement is available worldwide on Amazon and our website at:

Leave your comments in the box below

© Copyright 2019 – The Law Enforcement Survival Institute, LLC and – All Rights Reserved

CopsAlive is written to prompt discussions within our profession about the issues of law enforcement career survival, health and wellness. We invite you to share your opinions, ask questions and suggest topics for us in the Comment Box that is at the bottom of this article.

At The Law Enforcement Survival Institute (LESI) we train law enforcement officers to cope with stress and manage all the toxic effects and hidden dangers of a career in law enforcement.

Our “Armor Your Self™: How to Survive a Career in Law Enforcement” on-site training program is an eight hour, hands-on, “How to” seminar based upon John Marx’ book of the same name. This seminar helps police officers and other law enforcement professionals armor themselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually to build Tactical Resilience™ and survive their careers in police work. To learn more CLICK HERE. To learn about and buy the book CLICK HERE.

The concept of “True Blue Valor™” is where one law enforcement officer has to muster the courage to confront a peer who is slipping both professionally and personally and endangering themselves, their peers and the public. It takes a system of organizational support and professional leadership to support and foster the concept of courage and intervention. We will train your trainers to deliver this program to your agency.
To learn more CLICK HERE

Our “Armor Your Agency™: How to Create a Healthy and Supportive Law Enforcement Agency” Program includes critical strategies that you will need to build a system of support and encouragement for a healthy and productive agency. To learn more CLICK HERE

CLICK HERE to read more about The Law Enforcement Survival Institute.

CLICK HERE if you would like to contact us to learn more about training for your organization.

I’m John Marx, Founder of The Law Enforcement Survival Institute and the Editor of Connect with me on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. was founded to provide information and strategies to help police officers successfully survive their careers and improve their heathy, wellness and effectiveness. We help law enforcement officers and their agencies prepare for the risks that threaten their existence. Thank you for reading!

About Editor

John Marx was a Police Officer for twenty-three years and served as a Hostage Negotiator for nineteen of those years. He worked as a patrol officer, media liaison officer, crime prevention officer and burglary detective. Also during his career he served as administrator of his city's Community Oriented Governance initiative through the police department's Community Policing project. Today John combines his skills to consult with businesses about improving both their security and their customer service programs. John retired from law enforcement in 2002. When one of his friends, also a former police officer, committed suicide at age 38, John was devastated and began researching the problems that stress creates for police officers. He decided he needed to do something to help change those problems and he wanted to give something back to the profession that gave him so much. He started a project that has evolved into Put simply, the mission of CopsAlive is to save the lives of those who save lives! gathers information, strategies and tools to help law enforcement professionals plan for happy, healthy and successful careers, relationships and lives.
Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *