NEW Armor Your Self Study & Discussion Guides

Armor Your Self 5 book study package for small groups or book clubs.For those of you who loved the Armor Your Self book, but wanted to share that information with your peers, the Law Enforcement Survival Institute has just released several different Study & Discussion Guide Packages designed to assist individuals, small study groups and law enforcement book clubs.

The two study packages, built around the book Armor Your Self: How to Survive a Career in Law Enforcement, include either 5 or 10 copies of the Armor Your Self: How to Survive a Career in Law Enforcement resilience building textbooks. These collections are a Do-It-Yourself package for book clubs, small groups or academy classes that can’t afford more expensive training, but want to explore the Armor Your Self textbook more deeply. These two packages include… Continue reading

ATTACHED

I recently signed up for an online, zoom-style writing course.

I am attempting to learn more about how to write with purpose and structure.

This past session, which was an hour long, focused on letting go of an outcome or agenda. I did not really understand what that meant in its entirety when applying it to writing.

As students, we heard the topic from the moderator and then began writing, without stopping, for 10 minutes. The goal is to listen to our minds, keep the pen moving and not focusing on perfection. We were instructed to focus only on what our mind was saying. Then, she reads a second topic, and we repeat the process. Just keep moving the pen and listen.

So, that is what I did or so I thought.

After the first ten minutes, we took a minute or two to finish our thoughts and get ready for the second topic.

This time, the moderator repeated the first topic, word for word, and then said, “Go.”

I sat there for at LEAST 2 minutes. Did she forget she already read this topic? Do I type her error in the chat to let her know? There are over three hundred people on this Zoom, didn’t anyone else catch that? What the heck is going on?

And then…the AHA moment.

I already had it in my head, we were doing this session the same way we had done it before.

I was attached to the outcome.

I expected a second topic.

The moderator ignored the chat comments (from all the participants) and continued forward. After the second ten-minute writing session, the moderator told us she repeated the first topic on purpose.

She gave us a live experience of what it is like to be attached to an outcome. Man, That. Was. Good!

Looking back, I recalled several ways I had been “attached!” I thought for sure I would be married at least five years before I had a child. I was pregnant within six months of my wedding. I thought for sure I would work in the medical field my entire life. I changed careers at age 34 to law enforcement. I thought for sure I would work in law enforcement for at least 20 years. I retired after 13.5 years.

The change and flow of my life… Continue reading

First Responder Health – Thinking Outside the Box

EDITORS NOTE: Guest contributor Sean Peterson is a patrolman with the Taunton Police Department in Southeastern Massachusetts and a member of the regional Critical Incident Stress Management team. He is also the owner and performance director at Chaos Fitness.

I sat down to write this in the wake of New York City Police Department’s ninth suicide this year. The current Blue H.E.L.P. statistics stand at 131 suicides on the year, with four months to go. Protesters are literally begging police to commit suicide in Portland, Oregon. With what feels like everyone and everything against us, how do we rise above the darkness? Below I have outlined some thoughts and ideas surrounding mental and physical health we first responders can easily employ in such trying times.

A Physical and Mental Approach

“Combat” or “Square” Breathing
Here’s the simple process…
1. Intently breath in with strong focus- slowly counting 1, 2, 3, 4
2. hold that breath counting 1, 2, 3 ,4
3. slowly and consistently exhale that breath 1, 2, 3, 4
4. repeat

Simply put, combat/square breathing is an effective way to calm the nervous system. It is a very basic introduction to the world of mindfulness, creating space between ourselves and our reactions. It brings our focus to the present moment by concentrating our attention on our breathing, allowing us to slow things down for a while, so our bodies can catch up. Consider implementing this technique to offset the adrenaline spikes and stressors associated with hot calls, inter-department nonsense and the obstacles of everyday life. The beauty of this technique is… Continue reading

Prevent Law Enforcement Suicides!

It is National Suicide Prevention Week and Month. There are lots of resources out there to help you. Now is a time to act!

Last year was the first year that the number of reported law enforcement suicides exceeded the number of Line of Duty Deaths. It’s happening again this year.

As of September 9, 2019 Blue H.E.L.P. has verified 142 suicides while the NLEOMF has only reported 83 Line of Duty Deaths.

So what are you willing to do to stop this problem from happening at your agency?

Do you have a suicide prevention program in your agency?

Well, you no longer have an excuse for not having a program. With a video produced by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the Working Minds Program and the Carson J Spencer Foundation, and our CopsAlive.com roll call discussion guide you can create a ready made program the moment you finish reading this page.

Create your own police suicide prevention training… Continue reading

The Silent Assailant

The Silent Assailant by Julie Zielinski

EDITORS NOTE: Julie Zielinski is a Law Enforcement Survival Institute faculty member and lost her law enforcement deputy son to suicide. You can read her story in her book: Matt’s Last Call and you can read more here on CopsAlive – Here: My Journey by Julie Zielinski and Here: Matt’s Last Call or listen to our interview with Julie on the CopsAlive Podcast Here: “Matt’s Last Call: Surviving Our Protectors

Recently, we were in Washington D.C. attending a banquet called Honoring the Service of Law Enforcement Officers Who Died by Suicide. This first time banquet was held in conjunction with National Police Week and was sponsored by BLUE H.E.L.P. Its purpose was to honor and recognize the service of offices who made that fateful decision and their survivors. It is Blue HELP’s mission to put names and faces to the men and women of Law Enforcement whose emotional injuries become too much to bear. Although the number of Law Enforcement personnel who take their own lives typically exceeds… Continue reading

Is Our Police Culture Causing Suicides?

It’s National Suicide Prevention Week again (September 9th – 15th, 2018) in the United States which is a week-long campaign to inform and engage health professionals and the general public about suicide prevention and warning signs of suicide.

I lost one of my law enforcement friends to suicide in 2007 and that’s what prompted me to start CopsAlive.com.

In my opinion, law enforcement suicide is a symptom of what ails our profession, and it should be an priority issue to resolve — but it hasn’t been.

This year, I thought I would follow suit with some other enlightened thinkers on this issue and challenge you to think about how our law enforcement culture contributes to suicide, and how we can fix that… Continue reading

The Visitor That Would Not Leave

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

We Need a RE-evolution in Law Enforcement

I believe that law enforcement is the most noble of all professions.

I believe that the people who take a job or take an oath to protect and to serve their community in law enforcement should be honored and celebrated for that decision.

I believe we should be held to a higher standard.

I believe we should be nurtured, supported, encouraged and esteemed for that higher standard.

I believe that higher standard is a colossal commitment that should not be accepted lightly.

I believe many, many law enforcement professionals are suffering in silence because the burden of service in this profession is substantial and the expectations are monumental.

We are the Guardians of the Peace – we are the thin blue line between a peaceful society and anarchy.

We have promised… Continue reading

My Journey by Julie Zielinski

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 new edition 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.

It is essential that… Continue reading

Hows Your Spirit?

So, How’s Your Spirit?

We talk a lot in law enforcement about having a strong will or inner spirit. We discuss being warriors or being brave and true, but do we really ever take time to analyze or decide if those things are true? Do we ever spend any time cultivating a true, written code of our behavior?

A lot of global history talks about the Way of the Warrior and the Code of Chivalry. If we are indeed modern Warriors should we not be driven by those same kinds of codes?

My question for you is that if you don’t have one of those kinds of doctrines in writing then the best person to write it is you! I’ll give you a head start here but… Continue reading