Law Enforcement Is A Family Commitment

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 12.30.27 PMEDITORS NOTE: Law enforcement cannot function effectively without the support of the family members who stand behind our professionals, and our police families might be the best “early warning system” for when our officers are suffering in silence. This article was provided by guest contributor Dea Bridge who has been married to a Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) for over 25 years, worked in Corrections, served as a volunteer Reserve Police Officer.

Law Enforcement is truly a family affair!

Society is routinely exposed to the mass media’s version of law enforcement via movies, cop shows, or news reports.  These Hollywood depictions are the only frames of reference the general public has for how individuals in this line of work should behave or how they think.  It’s no wonder many civilians (non-LEOs) have a skewed perception of the challenges faced by LEOs and their families.  While some have a more tailored glimpse of “cop life” based on personal relationships or past experiences, the majority has no realistic basis for their interpretations.  For simplicity sake in this article, Law Enforcement Officers will be collectively referred to as LEOs and also include Corrections Officers.  It should be noted that agency support staff, Dispatchers in particular, and other types of emergency service workers (Firefighters, EMTs, and Paramedics) face many of the same challenges as LEOs.  This grouping is not meant to minimize the trials faced by any one category, but rather to highlight the commonalities among people who strive to make our communities a better place to live.

Resources aimed at helping LEOs cope with the unique rigors of their professions are more abundant now than at any other time in history.  To a lesser degree, but increasing, is information specifically designed to aid family member’s with their own set of challenges.  Organizational attitudes of… 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

Fitness Monday – Have Backup

gymLast week was the most consistent training I’ve had in the last two years. Combinations of running, weights and cycling are benefits for committing to regaining holistic health. Being held accountable and supporting friends in their efforts also helps. It does require a lifestyle change to change your lifestyle.

While the exercise has returned to being enjoyable and I am doing better at scheduling my time more wisely, I’ve not had the same success in dieting. Continue reading

CopsAlive.com Fitness Monday

trail-bikingsmEDITORS NOTE: This is fitness week three as CopsAlive.com follows Police Chief Scott Silverii, Ph.D. on his quest to lose weight and get into better shape. We are also keeping track of Warden Rae Timme with the Colorado Department of Corrections, a member of the CNN Fit Nation Team, as she prepares for the Nautica Malibu Triathlon on September 8. We all know that fitness is critical in law enforcement, but we don’t always do what we know is right. Over the next couple of months you can follow Scott, a Police Chief, and Rae a Department of Corrections Warden, as they open up their lives to you. We invite you to also participate in any way that you choose to improve, your fitness and, your ability to survive a career in law enforcement. We also encourage you to support Scott and Rae with your comments, emails, Tweets and Facebook entries.

Last Monday I announced my partnership with CopsAlive.com. It also meant the added pressure of extra accountability and less breaking my diet and exercise commitments. Unfortunately, pressure does not lock the freezer from late night ice cream binges.

I did however, use the BMI link and measure everything spreadsheet to set goals and monitor my intake and activities. John Marx has included more great information and we all encourage you to join us in setting goals for regaining a physical, emotional and spiritual level of health.

Here’s to holding each other accountable… Continue reading

New Fitness Partnership for Cops

scottwithbike

2010 @ 180 lbs

EDITORS NOTE: CopsAlive.com is proud to announce a new partnership with Police Chief Scott Silverii, Ph.D. This week we are posting the first in a series of fitness blogs written by Scott as he works to improve his personal fitness. We invite you to participate yourself in any way that you want to improve your fitness and ability to survive a career in law enforcement and we encourage to support Scott with your comments and emails. Scott started his journey on his blog last week and we are partnering with him from now on.

I started posting this on my blog just 2 weeks ago to motivate myself to regain healthy habits, encourage others to join in by setting their own goals for holistic health, and creating a forum for sensible information and accountability.

Last week, I spoke with John Marx at CopsAlive.com who offered to partner. They provide fantastic practical information ranging from health to spiritual survival. Our plan is to post every Monday. I will give you a brief update of my progress, CopsAlive.com will provide awesome information, and you guys will share your thoughts, progress, and challenges in the comments.

To catch the readers up at CopsAlive.com, I posted my first week’s goals and status below.

Nothing overly scientific, just common sense and sensible. I’m looking forward to a healthy partnership with John and his staff at CopsAlive.com.

Week 2 Update is also included below. Thanks and please join us by sharing your goals, challenged and updates.

My Original Post
I weighed a super healthy 180 lbs the day I was sworn in as the Chief of Police. One year later, I was at 225 lbs. Sound familiar? Granted, that first year as Chief also included my last year of a PhD program. Still, having dropped from a 260lbs powerlifter to a 180lbs triathlete (very recreational) showed I had the ability.

Christmas morning 2011, I hit the scale, and it hit back with a reading of… Continue reading

A New Credo for Law Enforcement

New Police Credo

I think its time we created a new credo for law enforcement. My suggestion based upon my strong beliefs about officer safety and wellness is: “Work H.A.R.D.; Live H.A.R.D.; Die H.A.R.D.”.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary a Credo is defined as” an idea or set of beliefs that guides the actions of a person or group”

So what do I mean by:
Work H.A.R.D.
Live H.A.R.D.
Die H.A.R.D.

I think the key to a good motto or credo is the deeper meaning that we take out of it that gives us guidance when we need it. In this case I have defined the acronym of H.A.R.D. as:
H = Healthy
A = Altruistic
R = Resilient
D= Dedicated

I believe that a truly skilled and proficient law enforcement professional should… Continue reading

CopsAlive.com Needs Your Ideas and Input!

CopsAlive needs your help. Our mission is to create a forum for cops to help other cops by engaging in discussions and sharing ideas and information to help each other plan for happy, healthy and successful lives on the job and beyond the job.

Most of all we need readers. If you like what you are reading here please pass it on. Send a link or a note to all of your law enforcement friends online or tell them to check out Continue reading