Editors Note: The following is an article from Robert F. Rabe who has 38 years of Law enforcement experience, and has been involved in Critical Incident Stress Management for over 20 years.
A college professor once asked the class, “how heavy is a glass of water?” The professor received several answers but the professor replied, “the weight doesn’t matter, it depends on long you try to hold it…the longer you hold it the heavier it becomes…that is until you put it down and rest.” Stress is the same way. If we carry stress especially after a critical incident the stress can become increasingly heavy, if not dealt with properly. The stress may lead to a crisis. According to the Chinese symbol for crisis it is made up from two other symbols which are danger and opportunity (see graphic on this page). We can collapse under the weight of the crisis (danger) or we can learn to develop new skills (opportunity) to meet it head on. Dr. Jeffrey Mitchell is the founder of Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) and the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation. In the early 1980’s, Dr. Mitchell, who was a firefighter/paramedic, found that after a critical incident, his peers demonstrated difficulty coping with the stress. He studied their reactions and developed CISM, which is now a worldwide program. The purpose of this article is to provide to help law enforcement personnel, better understand and cope with reactions following involvement in critical incidents.
CRITICAL INCIDENT STRESS MANAGEMENT
CISM is a comprehensive, organized approach for the reduction… Continue reading
On New Year’s Day, I received a telephone call from a good friend who is one of New York’s Finest. I will refer to him as Officer X to protect his anonymity.
Officer X wanted to talk for a while. The N.Y.P.D. recently lost a well-known police officer Peter Figoski who was murdered on duty in December. The news broke on Saturday that A.T.F. Special Agent, John Capano died while stopping a pharmacy robbery on Long Island, N.Y. Officer X was really down and frustrated with the public. His frustration was people do not respect the police or the military like they used to. The increase in violence against cops over the last several years is really starting to hit home for Officer X. Add in the fact he is approaching the 10 year point as a cop, he works the day in-day out daily grind, the tragic events and people he… Continue reading
There have been too many stories in the news lately of cops gone bad. Let’s create a better system to support and help them before this happens again.
Make a two-fold “True Blue” commitment in 2012. One is to work diligently to reduce the number of officers killed in the line of duty, and secondly, to work to save the many officers that are suffering emotionally and faltering professionally. Here is an excellent resource: The Safe Call Now hotline for first responders. Let’s also Protect and Serve our own this year!
Memorize it and post it wherever you can: Safe Call Now206-459-3020
Learn more from this KIRO TV Ch7 Story. CLICK HERE to watch the video.
CopsAlive is written to prompt discussions within our profession about the issues of law enforcement career survival. We invite you… Continue reading
Editors Note: Please join me in welcoming our newest contributor Sgt. Mark St. Hilaire as he leads us off for a Happy, Healthy and Safe New Year!
The New Year’s Resolution: What Is YOUR Action Plan for 2012?
As I reflect back on 2011, I am a little overwhelmed thinking about the things that occurred over the past year in my life. I have experienced many changes in my agency, new commitments within my family and my community service, illnesses and the deaths of loved ones and friends, some physical changes as I approach the golden anniversary of my birth and most of all, observing and reading about law enforcement officers who self-destruct in their careers through their unusual behavior and actions on and off the job. It has been an emotionally exhausting time and I am grateful for the many training opportunities, the maintenance of my fitness-eating plan and especially my peers who helped prepare me to meet these challenges.
As this New Year begins, many people participate in the ritual of a New Year’s Resolution. Many people accept the challenge and yes, many of our resolutions succumb to an early death. I stopped making resolutions on the annual basis because I felt discouraged when I could not keep my resolutions.
In the New Year of 1996, I had been a police officer about 10 years. I weighed about 350 lbs.; I had a distorted view of my career, working nights, an adult beverage problem. I had come to the point that I was so frustrated and I was miserable… Continue reading
Rafael Navarro a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Deputy releases a new book on Tactical Casualty Care entitled: “A Police Officers Guide and Handbook to Tactical Casualty Care (Under Fire) First Aid and Self First Aid for Law Enforcement”.
After returning from his overseas tour, Rafael was given an assignment within the training unit at his agency. It didn’t take long before he realized that there were some shortfalls to the First Aid and Self First Aid program they were offering.
The most outstanding concern was the lack of training concerning the use and deployment of a tourniquet. After taking a good look at their existing program, he proposed a lesson plan, which included the purpose and use of the tourniquet. This was approved after a short review and the trend began. Slowly, he was able to affect the entire agency, by exposing them to tourniquet training.
This is when he realized the enormous communication gap between our military and law enforcement agencies. Rafael began a personal campaign to bring attention to the fact that our soldiers (young as they may be) are considered trainable in combat lifesaving skills by our government, whereas most of the law enforcement agencies in our country consider this type of training “out of the realm or scope” and perhaps too difficult.
The fact of the matter is, that the skills needed to become proficient in combat lifesaving skills can be taught to police… Continue reading
The Problems with Police PTSD – A Call for Comments
Editors Note: This is a very important topic to law enforcement officers all around the world. Please leave your comments in the box below so we can start a dialogue on this very important issue.
We have a Police PTSD Crisis: “Take care of our own” v.s. “Throwaway Cops”
We have a problem in our profession. It has to do with excessive stress caused by the job of law enforcement and, in it’s extreme form, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. We all know that the stress from this job can be toxic and at times debilitating. What we don’t seem to believe is that it can happen to us, or someone we work with, because when it does, we don’t know what to do about it. We seem to have created a paradox, which is a contradiction or a situation that seems to defy logic or intuition.
I was hooked from the very beginning. Rarely can I say that a book about personal finance is entertaining, but I just finished reading How to be Rich: The Couple’s Guide to a Rich Life Without Worrying About Money from our very own CopsAlive contributor, Chuck Rylant. Chuck is a retired detective from California and has written this very unique book on personal finance for couples.
“This book is amazing. Chuck blends an impressive ability as a storyteller with his extensive experience as a financial planner to draw the reader into a real-to-life story that subtly gives them financial education and guidance for their own lives.
The interesting thing about this book is that it is a story about a young couple and one of the characters in the book is a police officer.
In the story, the couple has many of the financial struggles common to those in law enforcement. Throughout the story, the reader learns a simple system of organizing their money through the financial ups and downs the characters go through.
I was surprised at how much I could relate to the characters in the book and if you’re a reader of this blog you likely will too. The book covers some of the basics of personal finances such as getting out of debt, getting a mortgage, and planning for retirement, but what is different is how this book changes interest rates and mutual funds into real world ideas and emotions that real families face with their money.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to improve their financial situation but doesn’t know where to start. The book is a quick read and you will learn a lot, and have fun doing it.”
CopsAlive is written to prompt discussions within our profession about the issues of law enforcement career survival. We invite you to share your opinions in the Comment Box that is at the bottom of this article.
CopsAlive.com was founded to provide information and strategies to help police officers successfully survive their careers. We help law enforcement officers and their agencies prepare for the risks that threaten their existence.
We will help your agency create the kind of place that supports and protects officers so that they can do their jobs better, safer, longer and survive to tell their grand kids all about it.
We do this by Helping Law Enforcement professionals plan for happy, healthy and successful lives on the job and beyond. We think the best strategy is for each officer to create a tactical plan for their own life and career. We call this Tactical Wellness planning.
The Law Enforcement Survival Institute (LESI) works with individuals and organizations to help them create and sustain success in their lives and careers as law enforcement professionals. It is the primary goal of The Law Enforcement Survival Institute to become the preeminent source for training, resources and information about how to create and sustain a happy, healthy and successful life and career while providing superior law enforcement service to your community.
At The Law Enforcement Survival Institute we train law enforcement officers to cope with stress and manage all the toxic effects and hidden dangers of a career in law enforcement.
We provide stress management and Tactical Wellness for police officers and other law enforcement professionals.
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 CopsAlive.com. Connect with me on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Recently I had a chance to interview Howard Jaquay a retired Police Chief from Colorado who had over 31 years experience in law enforcement and who has a distinct passion for helping other law enforcement professionals learn more about finance and economics. During his career he consulted with numerous agencies on pension design, administration & investment and testified before several state legislative committees on police & fire pension issues
Howard now teaches a class for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Denver entitled “Set Your Own Financial Course: How To Think About Money & Finance”. Howard thinks it’s very important for you as law enforcement professionals to take ownership of your financial future both to reduce your stress about money matters but also… Continue reading
Stress and all the physiological impacts it has upon a law enforcement officer’s body and mind are a major contributing factor to many of the ills that befall police officers and other law enforcement professionals. Even though this article is written using the term police officer, it isn’t meant to exclude other law enforcement professionals like deputy sheriffs, corrections officers, parole officers, probation officers, DA’s investigators, dispatchers, CSI’s, code enforcement officers, wildlife officers, park rangers, etc. The problems of stress seem inherent in the law enforcement profession in general and no one seems immune to its toxic effects.
The Law Enforcement Survival Institute offers a prescription for law enforcement stress management called “Rx3x”. The prescription (Rx) is for stress management activities three times (3x) a day. The Rx3x process calls for a combination of mind and body exercises to reduce and manage excessive stress on days when a law enforcement officer or other professional is working. The process calls for:
1. A Physical Fitness Workout of 30-45 min each day focused upon building strength and aerobic fitness;
2. A Buffer Workout for Stress Reduction (20-30 min) between the work and home transition; and
3. A Stress Management Session (20-30 min) later in the day focused upon reducing mental stress.