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 had the privilege to attend an excellent seminar last week hosted by the Denver Police Department on “Spirituality, Wellness & Vitality Issues in Law Enforcement Practices”. Our presenters were FBI Supervisory Special Agent Samuel L. Feemster, J.D. and Sergeant Ginger L. Charles, Ph.D. of the Arvada Police Department. They asked some interesting questions and offered some unique perspectives on modern law enforcement practices. Some examples include: “Is Law Enforcement a calling for you?” and “What courses were you trained in at the police academy?”, then “What courses should you have been trained in at the academy?”
This seminar was not about just religion but about any spiritual influence that gives police officers the kind of character that allows them to endure the toxic nature of police work and maintain their sanity over the years of a demanding police career. There was information presented that many, many more officers die from suicide, cancer and heart attacks than ever are killed in the line of duty and we discussed what leads police officers, true leaders of our communities, to chose suicide over life.
The question was asked how do you become a well rounded police officer?