For those of you who loved the Armor Your Self book, but wanted to share that information with your peers, the Law Enforcement Survival Institute has just released several different Study & Discussion Guide Packages designed to assist individuals, small study groups and law enforcement book clubs.
The two study packages, built around the book Armor Your Self: How to Survive a Career in Law Enforcement, include either 5 or 10 copies of the Armor Your Self: How to Survive a Career in Law Enforcement resilience building textbooks. These collections are a Do-It-Yourself package for book clubs, small groups or academy classes that can’t afford more expensive training, but want to explore the Armor Your Self textbook more deeply. These two packages include… Continue reading
I recently signed up for an online, zoom-style writing course.
I am attempting to learn more about how to write with purpose and structure.
This past session, which was an hour long, focused on letting go of an outcome or agenda. I did not really understand what that meant in its entirety when applying it to writing.
As students, we heard the topic from the moderator and then began writing, without stopping, for 10 minutes. The goal is to listen to our minds, keep the pen moving and not focusing on perfection. We were instructed to focus only on what our mind was saying. Then, she reads a second topic, and we repeat the process. Just keep moving the pen and listen.
So, that is what I did or so I thought.
After the first ten minutes, we took a minute or two to finish our thoughts and get ready for the second topic.
This time, the moderator repeated the first topic, word for word, and then said, “Go.”
I sat there for at LEAST 2 minutes. Did she forget she already read this topic? Do I type her error in the chat to let her know? There are over three hundred people on this Zoom, didn’t anyone else catch that? What the heck is going on?
And then…the AHA moment.
I already had it in my head, we were doing this session the same way we had done it before.
I was attached to the outcome.
I expected a second topic.
The moderator ignored the chat comments (from all the participants) and continued forward. After the second ten-minute writing session, the moderator told us she repeated the first topic on purpose.
She gave us a live experience of what it is like to be attached to an outcome. Man, That. Was. Good!
Looking back, I recalled several ways I had been “attached!” I thought for sure I would be married at least five years before I had a child. I was pregnant within six months of my wedding. I thought for sure I would work in the medical field my entire life. I changed careers at age 34 to law enforcement. I thought for sure I would work in law enforcement for at least 20 years. I retired after 13.5 years.
EDITORS NOTE:The Law Enforcement Survival Institute was approached by The University of Colorado Colorado Springs School of Public Affairs about promoting a new research project investigating the concept of moral injury within law enforcement. The findings from this project entitled: Advancing Officer Wellness: A Study of On-Duty Experiences and their Impacts among Law Enforcement Professionals, can be used to raise awareness of officer’s experiences and to develop programming that supports officer wellness. The Law Enforcement Survival Institute wholeheartedly supports this very interesting research and we encourage you to investigate further, join the project, and help us spread the word to others.
Here’s some information to get you started and you can connect with the links below:
Purpose Statement: In light of the stresses of police work, recent years have brought heightened attention to the tolls of the job on individual officers. These can include illness, mental and behavioral health challenges, and even suicide. There is thus a strong push for proactive efforts to advance health, wellness, and resilience among officers. This study seeks to support and advance those efforts.
Background: Policing professionals face traumatic and morally injurious events in the line of duty. the effects of trauma and moral injury can include posttraumatic stress, depression, anxiety, suicidality, substance misuse, spiritual and religious struggle, and more. This study is an important step in bolstering resilience among those working in the policing profession. Findings can be used to raise awareness of officer’s experiences and to develop programming that supports officer wellness…
Choosing and Change by new CopsAlive Contributor
Tammy Featherstone, Sgt. (retired)
Growing up in a strict, conservative, Southern Baptist home came with many challenges. In addition, I was not a conventional girl. I loved being outdoors, playing sports and “rough housing”. I realized early on I didn’t view things the same way my parents did. My father was misogynistic and reminded my sister and I, more frequently than I care to remember, that he was the “head of the house”. I challenged my father quite a bit growing up. It didn’t work out so well for me. I can’t explain the feeling of being a small child and being hit by a grown man.
I received very sad news today that my friend, retired NYPD Detective First Grade, Mordecai Dzikansky has died suddenly of a heart attack. Morty was my friend, my colleague, my hero and a damn good cop.
Morty served in the NYPD for twenty-five years and he was a Hero, an NYPD Detective First Grade, a Husband, a Father, an Author, a Teacher, a Cop’s cop and my Friend.
He is survived by his wife Meryl and their three children Zachary, Jake, Talia
We were supposed to be teaching together at the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA) conference this week but other priorities had pulled both of us apart and in different directions, so that neither of us were able to attend the conference.
He was together with his family celebrating the sacred Jewish holiday of Purim when he died.
He worked with us at The Law Enforcement Survival Institute and was very active in trying to help other law enforcement professionals avoid, or mitigate, the traumas and hidden dangers of our profession. He suffered from many of these himself.
As a NYPD Manhattan South Homicide Detective on September 11, 2001, when terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center in New York City, Morty’s team of detectives were immediately dispatched to what would eventually be called Ground Zero to begin investigations. Continue reading
Affecting Social Change In The Way We Train Police Officers
Current news reports are increasingly rife with stories about communities clashing with their police departments as a result of excessive force and police misconduct. At the same time, law enforcement agencies are concerned with PTSD, police officer suicides, increased incidence of illnesses amongst police officers, lower than normal life expectancy, depression, domestic violence, alcohol and drug abuse and ethical compromise.
All these problems stem from the same root causes: A career in law enforcement presents challenges to the human spirit, and the pressures of the career deplete officers in a way that is unique to law enforcement.
Officers experiences endless exposure to danger, stress and tragedy, which depletes their reserves of idealism, motivation and personal resilience. Without effective ways to replenish the human spirit, build resilience and restore ethical clarity, it is possible to reach a state of personal “overdraft” or,… Continue reading
Over the last several months we have seen protests, gun violence and anti-police sentiments break out in cities around the country it has made national headlines. Unfortunately, the news doesn’t report the toll these circumstances take on officers across the country. If we truly want them to work at their best there needs to be a constant spotlight on the unique stressors those working in law enforcement face.
Our goal is to go home at the end of the night. If you are blessed to work your entire career without getting physically injured, consider yourself lucky. But, as we know, countless officers, and civilian staff members, go home daily with an emotional toll that few could possibly understand… Continue reading
On the last day of National Suicide Prevention month it is time again for us to reevaluate our work to prevent law enforcement suicides and rededicate ourselves to the work that must be done.
This has been a busy month with lots of new information resources offered about suicide prevention for law enforcement.
What is really important is that we are starting to realize that we must think comprehensively when it comes to officer safety, wellness and suicide prevention. Most of the problems we see are just signs and symptoms of underlying problems that we have to address is many ways.
This wellness and resilience information is suitable for all first responders and your family members. We will have a live audience and will record it for others to watch, later for free, on the CopsAlive.com YouTube channel.
With all that is happening in the world today maintaining your health and wellness is of paramount importance. Law enforcement professionals, other first responders and members of the military are normally faced with the most challenging situations in the world and now with a new global pandemic to face your personal wellness is mission critical.
John Marx, CPP
Law Enforcement Chaplain Cary Friedman
NYPD Detective First Grade (Ret.) Mordecai Z. Dzikansky
Sgt. Clarke Paris, LVMPD (ret.)
Tracie Paris, RN, BSN
Lois James, Ph.D.
Stephen James, Ph.D.
Christie Ward, CSP
Time: Duration 129 minutes
Who: All First Responders and Your Family Members
What: Online discussion of everyday wellness challenges and resilience strategies
EDITORS NOTE: Guest contributor Sean Peterson is a patrolman with the Taunton Police Department in Southeastern Massachusetts and a member of the regional Critical Incident Stress Management team. He is also the owner and performance director at Chaos Fitness.
I sat down to write this in the wake of New York City Police Department’s ninth suicide this year. The current Blue H.E.L.P. statistics stand at 131 suicides on the year, with four months to go. Protesters are literally begging police to commit suicide in Portland, Oregon. With what feels like everyone and everything against us, how do we rise above the darkness? Below I have outlined some thoughts and ideas surrounding mental and physical health we first responders can easily employ in such trying times.
A Physical and Mental Approach
“Combat” or “Square” Breathing
Here’s the simple process…
1. Intently breath in with strong focus- slowly counting 1, 2, 3, 4
2. hold that breath counting 1, 2, 3 ,4
3. slowly and consistently exhale that breath 1, 2, 3, 4
Simply put, combat/square breathing is an effective way to calm the nervous system. It is a very basic introduction to the world of mindfulness, creating space between ourselves and our reactions. It brings our focus to the present moment by concentrating our attention on our breathing, allowing us to slow things down for a while, so our bodies can catch up. Consider implementing this technique to offset the adrenaline spikes and stressors associated with hot calls, inter-department nonsense and the obstacles of everyday life. The beauty of this technique is… Continue reading
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