Officers Need Your Prayers

During this season of sacred and religious holidays around the globe police officers everywhere need your prayers and support.

I attended a prayer vigil this morning outside Denver General Hospital in support of Denver Police Officer John Adsit. Officer Adsit, a nine year veteran of the department, along with three other Denver PD officers where injured while riding bicycle patrol to escort a group of Denver East High School students who wanted to protest the Grand Jury verdict on the police shooting in Ferguson Missouri that took the life of Michael Brown.

The four Denver officers were escorting a group of approx. 500 high school students who were marching down a busy Denver street in protest of the Ferguson Grand Jury’s acquittal of Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. All four bike officers were hit by a vehicle that went out of control after the driver suffered a medical emergency. Three of the officers were treated and released from the hospital but Officer Adsit is still in critical condition over two weeks after being hit by the vehicle. He has undergone numerous surgeries and has been battling infection and pneumonia.

adsitfamilyPlease support the men and women of the Denver Police Department and the Adsit family as they pray for the quick recovery of Officer John Adsit.

I raise this issue for two reasons. First, this officer and his family need your prayers and secondly the citizens of the United States need to recognize that this officer was injured protected the rights of people who were protesting against the police. I’m sure when he recovers Officer Adsit would do it all over again. That’s because he is just one of hundreds of thousands of heroes that serve their communities around the world in the role of law enforcement… Continue reading

Thank You Kevin Gilmartin

esflebookcoverIn the United States it’s time to celebrate our holiday of Thanksgiving whose tradition has roots to a feast of thanksgiving for a good harvest in Plymouth Colony Massachusetts in 1621, but now is utilized by many as a way to acknowledge all that we are grateful for in our modern lives.

By way of acknowledging what we in law enforcement should be grateful for, beyond the fact that we go home alive every day, I am, as you should be, truly grateful to Kevin Gilmartin, Ph.D. for all that he has done over the last several decades to bring to light all the issues about emotional survival in law enforcement. Without his lighting the path I don’t think any of us would be any closer to understanding what happens inside the psyche of this profession.

Gratitude should be an important concept in what we do today in law enforcement. If we seek it, we should be able to role-model it. Gratitude is an important building block of self-respect and community strength.

If you would like to consider what you are thankful for today CLICK HERE to download our CopsAlive Gratitude Worksheet.

Thanks are also due to Allen R. Kates, MFAW, BCECR for bringing the concept of “CopShock” and PTSD to the forefront of our minds as well as to Ellen Kirschman, Ph.D. for her loving and compassionate reminder that we are only as strong as the family that supports us in her book “I Love A Cop”.

Thanks are due to Joseph Wambaugh… Continue reading

Law Enforcement Officer Fatigue is a Critical Issue

EDITORS NOTE: The following article was brought to us by David Blake M.Sc and Edward Cumella PhD. about their research into law enforcement fatigue in relation to deadly force encounters. This subject if of vital importance to law enforcement officers and agencies around the world. We hope that you will engage in the conversation and bring the discussion back to your agencies.

Officer Fatigue and Officer Involved Shootings (OIS) – A deadly combination for error!

By: David Blake M.Sc and Edward Cumella PhD.

Law enforcement data indicate that officers frequently suffer from high levels of fatigue due to lack of sleep, unusual shift schedules, and long hours awake. Research confirms that fatigue impairs a person’s mental functioning, especially in areas such as decision making, reaction time, and memory. Yet little study has directly investigated fatigue’s impacts on officers’ performance in police specific tasks, particularly in deadly force situations.

A first of its kind study

A recent study conducted by me; David Blake, MSc., a retired police officer, and Edward Cumella, PhD, a professor of psychology at Kaplan University, has finally addressed this issue. Our ground breaking research examined fatigue’s effects on 53 officers’ decision making and reaction times when the officers were faced with deadly force situations. Officers completed online tasks both before and after each of their shifts, for one week. Records included a history of their sleep patterns, total hours slept, total hours awake, shifts worked, and sleep quality. Officers were then engaged in a series of simulated shoot/don’t shoot scenarios using pictures of potential targets, targets that use of force experts had previously classified as warranting either a shoot or don’t shoot response, or as ambiguous.

Dr. Cumella and I found that many fatigue measures correlated strongly with officers’ impaired decision making and slowed reaction times within the deadly force situations. In particular, poor sleep quality, greater total time awake, more days worked, and working night or swing shifts all decreased the accuracy of officers’ decisions to shoot or… Continue reading