Today is PTSD Awareness Day in the United States. Please visit the website for the National Center for PTSD to learn more about this terrible disorder that affects many law enforcement officers around the world.
“Heroes Behind the Badge” is a new documentary film being created to honor America’s heroes in law enforcement. This inspiring documentary will change the way we look at the men and women of law enforcement and highlight the unselfish acts of bravery… Continue reading
Do you have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? It’s alarming how many people in law enforcement may be suffering with it. I know that when I took a PTSD indicator survey two years after I retired I scored a lot higher than I had expected. I’ve read lots of conflicting statistics about how many police officers have or could have the symptoms of PTSD, but statistics can be misleading just as much as ignorance of the issues of mental wellness. Some of you may not meet the criteria for the diagnosis but are still suffering from the effects of excessive or un-managed stress.
The important question is how many of us in law enforcement have the symptoms of PTSD or other types of distress and those symptoms are causing problems with our work or home life. More importantly how many of us are not working to manage these problems because of fear of losing a job or being rejected as weak by our peers.
The other night, my wife and I were enjoying our dinner together at home. We were discussing the results of a study that was recently published that confirmed a link between fast food and depression. As we interacted about the subject, my wife who has been my best helper and supporter during my 25+ years in law enforcement, and who has been researching wellness issues in the public safety profession made this statement:
“It is a vicious cycle, when people are depressed they don’t have… Continue reading
Our mission at Cops Alive is “Saving the lives of the people who save lives.” I’ve shared many times about the many hidden dangers of law enforcement. We’re reminded of the 73 officers murdered each year, but we rarely acknowledge the 400 plus officers who take their own lives each year by suicide.
The list of stressors that lead cops to commit suicide is long, but one that certainly plagues a great number of us is stress and worry about money. Financial mismanagement does not always lead to suicide, but it’s definitely a contributor.
We train hard and allocate resources to shooting and unarmed tactics, yet ignore the more probable risk factors like alcohol abuse, marital problems and personal finance issues. Stress at home distracts cops from doing their job effectively, opening them up to greater risks on the streets.
We ought to use the same strategies to manage the hidden risks that we do to plan tactical situations. For example, imagine how… Continue reading
Many of my peers have an annual ritual of poking fun at me in the late fall when I break out the “light” long johns or undergarments as they are referred to today. Many of the younger and inexperienced officers give me a grin when I explain the benefits of dressing appropriately when we are on duty outside or in the cruiser. They learn the hard way like I did years ago. Many sections of our town have open spaces along the roadways and state highway which comes though and nothing is more of an attention getter than freezing your tail off while working a vehicle crash, backing up another L.E.O. and other duties and you are exposed to the elements and the wind.
When you dress for duty, do you dress for the outdoors?
What if you get stuck in a situation you are outdoors like a crowd control situation, a building fire, a traffic control post, chasing a suspect or looking for a lost person?
Dressing for duty is vital for your health and well-being. Along with our ballistic vest and the issued equipment that we must wear, please consider wearing… Continue reading
As we finish the first couple of months of the New Year, many of us are adjusting to our committed changes we have made for a healthier 2012.
One area which can make a huge difference in our wellness program is our eating when on duty.
• Do you have a plan for your meals at work?
• Do you succumb to the quick and easy fix of fast food or easy to grab snack foods when we are ravenous?
• Do you constantly pick at food that people offer?
I used to be one of the officers who would spend quite a bit of money on junk food and eating crap while on duty. I felt like crap and it was no secret as I weighed over 350 pounds trying to do this job. My body ached, my demeanor was not nice and I was miserable. I was fortunate many years ago when I slowly decided to change the way I was eating and start exercising. I indicated several weeks ago, I am in the best shape of my life today as I slowly approach the age of 50.
A great part of my success keeping the weight off has been planning out my meals when I have to work. It sounds complicated but it is simple when… Continue reading
Thank you to all of our readers and congratulations to Deborah Louise Ortiz and everyone involved in the “Code 9 Officer Needs Assistance” film project. The producers have reached their $25,000 fund raising goal five days early. This will allow them to move forward with the completion of the film.
The film is being produced to help law enforcement officers survive the rigors of their very stressful careers. This powerful documentary explores the darker side… Continue reading
In December 2011, a study was released by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston which reported that about 40% of police officers in the U.S. have a sleep disorder. From my experience over the past 27 years as a cop, my thought is this: “TELL ME SOMETHING, I DON’T ALREADY KNOW”. Seriously, I am thrilled with this study as we are once again getting scientific facts which will help our profession advocate for better working conditions.
Dr. Bryan Vila in his book: TIRED COPS has already been educating us on this serious issue.
As law enforcement officers know most of our duty time is during the night hours. I worked midnights for many years and I can tell anyone first hand that it was tough especially during those shift hours between 0300 to 0600 when we as human beings have a natural dip to fade physically as our human biological clock tell us we should be sleeping. We have other cops who work swing shifts, rotating shifts, 10-12 and some 16 hour shifts. Unbelievable!
The conflict is the public we serve and police administrators expect us to be bright eyed and bushy tailed during these hours. Put on top of this expectation: rotating shift schedules, forced overtime shifts, court appearances and training are some of the professional conflicts that police officers face. This contributes to the problem. I mean let’s face it; there are very few court sessions or in-service training being held during the night time hours with an exception of the large communities or agencies.
I recently had the pleasure to talk with Chris Allen the President of Hunting For Heroes a unique organization that is helping disabled police officers connect with other officers in similar situations and give back to them some hope, some joy and even in some cases a sense of purpose again.
Founded in 2010 by two active duty law enforcement officers, Hunting For Heroes (H4H) reaches out to officers across the country to connect them with other officers who have sustained life altering injuries. H4H provides a hunting camp environment where officers and their families are able to step away from daily struggles and enjoy time outdoors.
Hunting for Heroes actually began as hunting television show. The founders, Chris Allen and Chuck Bowles, were police officers in the St. Louis, Missouri area and were both avid hunters. They were working on a hunting television show working with both the law enforcement and police angles. As the show concept was being developed, the talk of hosting a charity hunt was presented.
We then began to search out those organizations that were taking care of our disabled law enforcement officers. Only to find out there were NONE. We could not find one organization that was providing services specifically… Continue reading
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