Can A Career In Law Enforcement Be More Than Just Dangerous, Can It Be Toxic?
The importance of developing resilient law enforcement officers is something that we all must work toward. Many in law enforcement suffer in silence from the hidden dangers and toxic nature of this career. Many allow the negative effects of this profession to undermine their abilities to maintain their composure, control anger, fear and frustration and offset the sadness and depression all influenced by the tragedy and trauma they endure. They struggle to maintain their physical, emotional and spiritual health as all the negative things they see every day slowly erode their ability to perform their jobs at the required high level of performance.
We want to help you or partner with you to fix this problem. The Law Enforcement Survival Institute is ready to help you build individual and agency resilience and we are here to partner with you to build a strong and positive law enforcement wellness culture. We have initiated several excellent training programs and research projects and we are looking several strong partners to begin long-term law enforcement training and research relationships.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM:
Current news reports are rife with stories about issues of police officer suicides, PTSD, depression, alcohol problems, citizen complaints, excessive force, police misconduct and “cultures of aggression”. The problems are serious and the solutions all require strategies of building integrity, professionalism along with mental and emotional strength.
The challenge facing the future of our law enforcement profession centers not around the question of how our officers are dying but, rather more importantly, how they are suffering?
Challenges like police officer suicide, fatigue, depression and PTSD are serious problems. A growing body of research on law enforcement professionals seems to indicate that this profession is very toxic with side-effects causing an increase in heart disease, diabetes and cancer and even a lower than normal life expectancy. If you include other worries like alcohol and drug abuse, depression, relationship problems, domestic violence, anger management, financial mismanagement, and other issues that affect officers, on and off duty, then you might even see signs of a crisis.
We should also be asking how effective and professional our law enforcement officers can be while… they are suffering from these many toxic, and hidden, dangers of the profession.
Most of the negative side effects of this job come from those hidden threats and cause things like un-managed anger, depression, irritability and loss of compassion also referred to as “compassion fatigue”. These are not the emotional states we want our law enforcers to possess.
It is becoming more and more clear each year that the state of our law enforcement personnel’s mental and emotional health is just as, if not more, important than their physical health. If we are truly trying to improve the professionalism, sensitivity, effectiveness and compassion of our law enforcers then it only seems logical that we should be caring for their mental and emotional health just was much, and just as often, as we do their medical health. But we don’t.
We think it’s important to create a common & neutral terminology in order to stay focused on the real goal: Healthy, Effective and Productive Law Enforcement Professionals. In order to do that please consider these ideas:
“Blue Trauma Syndrome”
Negative Stress has become the catchall for all that ails law enforcement. We think that may be inaccurate or misleading so we suggest some new language. We at the Law Enforcement Survival Institute propose the concept of a “Blue Trauma Syndrome” that manifests as a spectrum of negative physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual side effects manifested by a career in law enforcement. Using this terminology may make it easier to discuss training and research solutions to this problem.
What is resilience?
For the purposes of this discussion let’s define resilience as being emotionally flexible and physically elastic with the ability to bounce back from adversity because of a capability to endure trauma, tragedy, stress, strain and hardship.
At the Law Enforcement Survival Institute we go further to define what we call Tactical Resilience™ as a human quality of strength and fitness, that can be developed, and is exhibited through the mind, body, brain and spirit of a police officer or other law enforcement or military professional that allows them to withstand the rigors and hidden emotional, physical, spiritual and physiological dangers of continuous high threat, high stress situations. We coined the term Tactical Resilience™ not to make things more complicated but rather to create a laser focus onto what we are talking about and more specifically what we are trying to protect against.
We really have three distinct challenges:
1. The fact that we have major, unresolved, emotional and physical health risks to law enforcement personnel.
2. The fact that there are no substantial statistics maintained on these problematic issues.
3. The fact that there is not enough tangible research on potential solutions to these problems.
Build Individual Officer Resilience
Foster Best Practices in Agency Wellness & Support Programs
Foster Best Practices in Personal & Agency Wellness
Create a Supportive Law Enforcement Wellness Culture
Research to Validate Resilience Training
Promote the Collection of Officer Wellness Protective Factor and Risk Factor Data
Promote more Law Enforcement Research Collaboration
Promote Police and Community Collaboration
OUR RECOMMENDED SOLUTIONS:
We believe that men and women behind the badge as well as the personnel that support them deserve happy and health lives. We believe that many in law enforcement suffer in silence from the hidden dangers and toxic nature of this career. We want to help you or partner with you to fix this problem.
The Law Enforcement Survival Institute is ready to help you build individual and agency resilience and we are here to partner with you to build a strong and positive law enforcement wellness culture.
Our primary set of courses include three programs as the structural pillars of our Tactical Resilience™ curriculum: Armor Your Self™, Armor Your Agency™ and True Blue Valor™. These can be presented individually or can be combined together with our other programs to create an effective and comprehensive resilience and emotional inoculation course for law enforcement professionals.
To build Individual Resilience we suggest you Armor Your Self™
The “Armor Your Self™ training program is a “How to” seminar that helps police officers and other law enforcement professionals armor themselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually to foster good health and build resilience for long term career survival. We use Armor Your Self™ as a process to strengthening and conditioning the mind, body, brain and spirit of a police officer or other law enforcement or military professional to build Tactical Resilience™ in order to withstand the rigors and hidden emotional, physical, spiritual and physiological dangers of continuous high threat, high stress situations.
To build Agency Resilience we suggest you Armor Your Agency™
The Armor Your Agency™ program is designed to build a comprehensive law enforcement agency wellness system, and focuses on a group of best practice concepts that promote a healthy and resilient workforce. Healthy law enforcement professionals can only be successful if they are supported by agency systems that promote health and resilience. This program fosters best practices in personal and agency wellness.
To build a Supportive Wellness Culture we suggest you practice True Blue Valor™
The True Blue Valor™ program focuses on trying to change our law enforcement culture to one that actually walks the talk of “No one is left behind” and “We take care of our own”. True Blue Valor™ is where one law enforcement officer has the courage to the right things even if that means confronting a peer who is slipping professionally and endangering themselves, their peers and the public. It takes a system of organizational support and professional leadership to support and foster the concept of True Blue Valor™. This course can be presented live on-site at an agency or licensed as a twelve part facilitated roll call training program presented by your agency’s trainers with each session building upon the last one. The program can be taught in 10 days or 10 weeks or 10 months based upon the agency instructor’s objectives.
We have many programs available, and a host of expert instructors in many areas of law enforcement wellness and survival. We would be more than happy to create a program tailored to any organizations specific needs. Visit www.LawEnforcementSurvivalInstitute.org to learn more.
We at the Law Enforcement Survival Institute are looking partners to begin long-term training and research relationships.
We believe that in order to make a significant change in how we strengthen and condition our law enforcement professionals to maintain their resilience and be effective in every situation we need to establish:
On-Going Research on the Qualities of Resilience
On-Going Research on the Effectiveness of Our Armor Your Self™ Resilience Training
On-Going Research on Our Proposed Armor Your Agency™ Best Practices
On-Going Research on Our Armor Your Agency™ Organizational Development Project
On-Going Research on Effective Treatments for Law Enforcement PTSD
On-Going Research on Promoting a Positive Law Enforcement Culture through True Blue Valor™
Long-Term and On-Going Research on Blue Trauma Syndrome
We all need to establish on-going procedures and research that provide better statistics and record keeping on: law enforcement suicides including police officers, corrections officers, dispatchers and other law enforcement professionals.
OUR PLAN OF ACTION:
We believe that everyone who enters a law enforcement career deserves to have a long and successful life and career, and the ability to retire at an appropriate age and live out the rest of their lives in peace. They should experience success, happiness and good health for many more years. The Law Enforcement Survival Institute program of training focuses on three areas for officer and agency wellness and resilience. We recommend combining our three primary programs into a week-long seminar and then couple that with an on-going follow-up and a long-term, university sponsored research project to measure the outcomes and effectiveness of our Tactical Resilience™ training.
We propose a three-part initiative that includes: Training, Research and on-going Follow-up. If funding allows we would propose twelve regional 5-day training sessions to be held around the U.S. once a month for one year with an accompanying research project. If a more limited budget would require a more limited project we would propose hosting six regional training sessions to be held around the U.S. once every two months for one year with an accompanying research project.
Would you like to partner with us?
WHO WE ARE:
We are the Law Enforcement Survival Institute (LESI) and we publish CopsAlive.com. We at LESI work with individuals and their organizations to help them create and sustain success in their careers and lives as law enforcement professionals and to promote healthy organizations. We have assembled a faculty of some of the best minds in the country on these issues. We use our on-site and online training programs to teach stress management, Tactical Resilience™ and how to Armor Your Self™ and Armor Your Agency™ against the stresses that undermine our health and welfare in the law enforcement profession. We teach how to build a strong and positive law enforcement wellness culture through our True Blue Valor™ program, which we can present, or you can license to have your own training officers present. Our mission of “Saving the Lives of the People Who Save Lives” extends from our “Armor Your Self™” training seminar to the Information, strategies and tools available on our website to help cops plan for happy, healthy and successful careers, relationships and lives. The Armor Your Self™ on-site training program is an eight hour, hands-on, “How to” seminar that helps police officers and other law enforcement professionals armor themselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We also teach how to Armor Your Agency™ against the stresses and traumas inherent in careers in law enforcement.
LESI Faculty 2014:
John Marx, CPP – Founder and Executive Director of the Law Enforcement Survival Institute
Cmdr. Eric Potterat, Ph.D. – U.S. Naval SWC – Force Psychologist for the U.S. Navy SEALs.
Chaplain Cary A. Friedman – Author of Spiritual Survival for Law Enforcement
Prof. Christian Dobratz – Asst Professor of Law Enforcement at Minnesota State University Mankato
Lisa Wimberger – Founder of the Neurosculpting® Institute.
Captain Joseph Padilla – Denver Police Department
Mary Kelly, PhD – U.S. Air Force Academy Instructor
Col. (ret.) Bob “Coach” Lindsey – Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, LA, ILEETA Board
Julie Zielinski – Author of “Matt’s Last Call” about her sheriff deputy son who committed suicide
Elaine Dumler- Author, speaker and expert in creating police and military family support networks
Christie Ward, CSP – Leadership and Communication Expert on Building LE Mentoring programs
Sgt. (ret.) Clarke Paris – Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Dept. on The Pain Behind The Badge
Tracie Paris, RN – 29 years as a Trauma/ER Nurse and Law Enforcement wife
Sean Riley – Founder and Executive Director of Safe Call Now crisis hotline for first responders
Sgt. Mark St. Hilaire – Natick Police Department Massachusetts on Emotional & Physical Wellness
Sgt. (ret.) Mark Sherwood – Tulsa Police Department on Physical Fitness and Nutrition
Visit the Law Enforcement Survival Institute’s Website at: www.LawEnforcementSurvivalInstitute.org
WHAT WE NEED:
Partners for both Research and Training Coordination
Funding for our Training and Research programs
Research Program Host Organizations
Law Enforcement Agency Hosts for Training Seminars
Individual Law Enforcement Research Volunteers for Long-Term Research
Law Enforcement Agencies to be involved in Long-Term Resilience Research
Eventually, we hope to make these and other courses available at the police academy level and for law enforcement professionals at all stages of their career. We are exploring methods of delivery including printed materials, online training and mobile app utilizations to reach as broad an audience as possible, as quickly as possible.
If you would like to partner with us or provide funding or research support please contact us by:
Here are some resources for you from CopsAlive.com and The Law Enforcement Survival Institute:
CLICK HERE to download our CopsAlive.com 10 Minute Roll Call Discussion Guide “Law Enforcement Suicide Prevention – Take Charge”.
CLICK HERE to download “Signs Of Excessive Stress & Warning Signs” excerpted from Jack Digliani’s Police & Sheriff Peer Support Team Training Manual.
CLICK HERE to download Information on “How To Recover From Traumatic Stress” excerpted from Jack Digliani’s Police & Sheriff Peer Support Team Training Manual.
If you are in crisis or need help call “Safe Call Now” 1-206-459-3020 or visit: www.safecallnow.org/ to learn more.
CLICK HERE to download our CopsAlive.com 10 Minute Roll Call Discussion Key “The Police PTSD Paradox“.
Read the Story of The Police PTSD Paradox on CopsAlive.com by CLICKING HERE.
CLICK HERE to download our CopsAlive.com 10 Minute Roll Call Discussion Key “Rx3x” 3x Prescription for Stress Management in Law Enforcement“.
Read the Story of Rx3x A Prescription for Stress Management in Law Enforcement on CopsAlive.com by CLICKING HERE.
For our CopsAlive.com “Peer Support Infosheet” CLICK HERE to download.
For our CopsAlive.com “Life and Career Planning” Worksheet CLICK HERE to download.
For suggestions from CopsAlive on starting a “Family Support Program” CLICK HERE to download.
For our Total Policing Wellness Project “We Need Your Ideas“ Infosheet CLICK HERE to download.
For our “Total Policing Wellness Project” Submission Form in MS Word CLICK HERE to download.
For our “Total Policing Wellness Project” Submission Form in PDF CLICK HERE to download.
To download our 10 Minute Roll Call (Rc10m) Discussion Guide Sample Packet CLICK HERE to download.
For Information about our Armor Your Self™ Training Program CLICK HERE to download.
For our Armor Your Agency™ Training Program Info CLICK HERE to download.
If you are in crisis or need help call “Safe Call Now” 1-206-459-3020 or visit: www.safecallnow.org to learn more.
Please remember that CopsAlive is written to prompt discussions within our profession about the issues of law enforcement career survival. We invite you to share your opinions, ask questions and suggest topics for us in the Comment Box that is at the bottom of this article.
At The Law Enforcement Survival Institute (LESI) we train law enforcement officers to cope with stress and manage all the toxic effects and hidden dangers of a career in law enforcement.
Our “Armor Your Self™: How to Survive a Career in Law Enforcement” on-site training program is an eight hour, hands-on, “How to” seminar that helps police officers and other law enforcement professionals armor themselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually to survive their careers in police work. To learn more CLICK HERE
The concept of “True Blue Valor™” is where one law enforcement officer has to muster the courage to confront a peer who is slipping both professionally and personally and endangering themselves, their peers and the public. It takes a system of organizational support and professional leadership to support and foster the concept of courage and intervention. We will train your trainers to deliver this program to your agency.
To learn more CLICK HERE
Our “Armor Your Agency™: How to Create a Healthy and Supportive Law Enforcement Agency” Program includes critical strategies that you will need to build a system of support and encouragement for a healthy and productive agency. To learn more CLICK HERE
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.
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. Thank you for reading!