Do you want to start or enhance a police wellness program in your small law enforcement agency?
What do you say when the public and media ask: how do police officers stay healthy and fit for the job?
Small law enforcement agencies deserve the best possible wellness initiatives to keep their people physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually fit.
For small agencies, usually with less than twenty-five employees, paying for training, both in time and money, can be daunting. It’s hard to get everyone together for a class and then sometimes that information is lost without regular reinforcement.
What would you say if I told you that for less than $300 you can harness the makings of a full wellness system and get started immediately. The scheduling, implementation and reinforcement are totally within your control and it will create the foundation for a life-long learning experience for your people.
The Law Enforcement Survival Institute is proposing a new policing initiative we call Wellness Focused Policing.
Wellness Focused Policing is a people focused policing strategy to promote wellness within law-enforcement first, and then to spread that sense of care, and focus on well-being, outwardly to the people served by the police.
When we are appalled by police officers doing things that are abhorrent and we want to fix the entire profession with new legislative initiatives, I think our society is focusing on the wrong solutions and those solutions might actually hurt the first responders who are doing everything right.
First, I believe that in order to be effective, change in policing practices must come from within the policing profession itself, and secondly, I believe the solutions lie in leading the people working within the profession to be their best, then supporting and sustaining exceptional performance. We must challenge everyone within the profession… Continue reading
How do you handle that one guest that just will not leave? I recently heard a definition for what trauma is. Trauma was defined as: when you leave the scene, but the scene does not leave you. That definition resonated with me. How many calls did I leave that did not leave me?
I know we all have scenes and calls that have not left us. Some are years old. Some are obvious. The larger scenes and the obviously tragic calls stay with us. It is expected. In my department, certain calls are expected to cause trauma such as an officer involved shooting or a line of duty death.
When something like that happens, peer support is automatically activated and… Continue reading
The second as an article posted by the National Center for PTSD entitled Help Someone You Love on PTSD Awareness Day. (Today is National PTSD Awareness Day – see below for links and resources).
I’d like you to read both and then share your comments here about how we can better serve our brothers and sisters behind the badge.
We should not have to Suffer In Silence!
When I read the Diary of a Suicidal Cop, I am saddened, I am moved and I can readily identify with lots of the feelings, but that still doesn’t mean we can’t help those who need it most… Continue reading
A just-released White Paper on Mental Health and Suicide among First Responders commissioned by the Ruderman Family Foundation examines mental illness among police officers and firefighters, who commit suicide at a higher rate, and have PTSD and depression as much as 5 times higher… Continue reading
EDITORS NOTE: This time of year can be tough for cops and other emergency responders just like everyone in society. It’s hard to think about suicides, but maybe this is the best time for us to look after our health as well as that of our peers. Julie Zielinski is a Law Enforcement Survival Institute faculty member who lost her Sheriff’s Deputy son to a completed suicide. Julie now writes and teaches about suicide prevention for law enforcement professionals. As the newedition of her book Matt’s Last Call: Surviving Our Protectors is released she reflects upon her journey. Read to the end of the article to find our free CopsAlive suicide prevention resources that you can activate in your agency TODAY!
My Journey 2017
On June 1, 2005, my 27 year old son, Matthew Zielinski, took his life due to a failed relationship. At the time he was a Chelan County Sheriff Deputy in Washington State, who had achieved this dream job eleven months earlier. Obviously, it was devastating to my family and I but more about my journey later.
This tragic event has birthed in me a passion to learn everything I can about suicide prevention in law enforcement. Through research, attending conferences, and contact with experts in the field it appears that deaths by suicide in law enforcement are 2-3 times greater than line of duty deaths (LOD) nationwide. This is astounding yet little is being done by law enforcement agencies to spend more time with mental health issues including suicide prevention. In fact, cover-up is common.
Excellent memory skills can be critical to a law enforcement officer’s daily activities and yet most of us have never had any training to improve those skills. There are a lot of simple ways you can work with your team or a partner to improve your skills. Consider using Kim’s Game at your next roll-call training session as a simple way to build your memory and observation skills.
Use Kim’s Game To Improve Your Memory Skills
The name Kim’s game comes from Rudyard Kipling’s book called Kim published in 1901. “Kim” is the story of an Irish orphan who grew up in India. Kim was being trained to be a spy by the government’s intelligence agency. This spy training involved many things but one was a way of improving his memory. To do this the trainers showed Kim a tray of gems and other stones and he was allowed to memorize them for one minute. After the minute had elapsed they… Continue reading
I had the honor of recently being interviewed by LESI Faculty member Lisa Wimberger for a new video series she produced called: Critical Conversations With Law Enforcement. In the video series Lisa talked with eight past and present law enforcement officers about the stresses in law enforcement particularly as it is being heightened by public unrest in many U.S. cities.
Lisa did an excellent job with the interviews and you can watch them for free until May 31, 2015 at this… Continue reading
In 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”.
In May we published an article written by Carolyn Whiting the co-author of “The Crazy Lives of Police Wives” and I asked her if she would sit down and speak with CopsAlive.com about the book and her experiences as a former police officer and police wife.
Carolyn Whiting was a police officer for six years and she met Bob, her husband of twenty five years, while working in the same Police department. Carolyn retired due to a back injury and has been a housewife for the past twenty two years while her husband continues to work at the same department where they met. He has over thirty six years in law enforcement. Carolyn has a BA in Geography and was halfway through her MBA when she left graduate school to pursue her life-long dream of being a Police Officer, a decision she has not regretted.
The book is available at Amazon.com in both a paperback and Kindle version as well as at Barnes & Noble in paperback and for the nook.
Carolyn told me that the idea for the book came about after a discussion she had 3 or 4 years ago with… Continue reading
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