The world EXPECTS healthy cops!
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… to learn new ways to take care of themselves, be at their best, and support each other in that endeavor. These solutions require effective leaders at every level of every organization.
Current news reports are increasingly rife with stories about communities clashing with their police departments who are accused of wrongful deaths, excessive force and police misconduct. At the same time, law enforcement agencies are concerned with staffing shortages, officer PTSD, compassion fatigue, moral injury,police officer suicides, increased incidence of chronic illnesses amongst police officers, lower than normal life expectancy, depression, domestic violence, alcohol and drug abuse as well as ethical compromise.
All these problems stem from the same root causes: A career in modern policing presents challenges to its people physically, mentally, emotionally as well as spiritually in a way that is unique to law enforcement. Every officer experiences endless exposure to danger, stress and tragedy, which depletes their reserves of idealism, motivation and personal resilience. Without effective ways to replenish themselves, build resilience and maintain ethical clarity, it is possible for officers to make poor decisions or leave the career. These effects impact all employees, both sworn and civilian in an agency and can overflow, causing distress to their family members as well.
Wellness Focused Policing Solutions
We need to be teaching our law enforcement professionals comprehensive solutions about how to strengthen and condition themselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually to endure all the rigors of this profession so that they are stronger, more resilient and make better decisions. We need to change the policing culture with more of a focus on human well-being and build support systems that sustain the health and wellness of our policing professionals. This isn’t about just another training program, we need to show them processes that help them get there, and agencies need to take responsibility for systems that nurture and sustain the wellness of their people while they in turn, support the people in the communities they serve!
Wellness Focused Policing is not training program, nor is it a “quick fix” repair, a “flavor of the month” concept or a band-aid remedy but rather it is a long-term commitment to focusing on developing the comprehensive health and well-being of both law enforcement professionals AND the people they serve.
Wellness Focused Policing is a comprehensive wellness and resilience building process which incorporates nine critical focus areas of wellness under one strategy: First, by clarifying why wellness is important, then by building individual resilience, building agency support systems, building a positive wellness oriented organizational culture, and promoting organizational health with wellness leadership as well as building wellness support systems for leaders too. It expands outwardly to promote community engagement, building trust between the law enforcement agency and its community and by building internal trust within the agency. The focus starts within the policing organization but it’s about promoting the wellness of an entire community.
The Wellness Focused Policing Process
It would be a mistake to call Wellness Focused Policing a training program, because many police agencies have misused the concept of training as a quick fix, “check a box” type of solution to problems rather than actually doing the work to comprehensively adjust their entire organization and its value system toward one that supports the people who protect and serve their communities.
Wellness Focused Policing (WFP) is a long-term commitment that begins with a focus on people and works outwardly from the law enforcement agency by finding new and innovative ways to provide services and resources to improve the health, well-being and lives of all the people within our communities. Law enforcement is the only branch of government that is in every neighborhood of a community twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year. This is not to say that cops need to become social workers, but law enforcement agencies have connections to hundreds of resources, provided by other organizations that are only a radio call away in asking dispatchers to provide phone numbers or by having officers use their mobile terminals to find those links themselves. These aren’t solutions for life-threatening situations but rather casual contacts where the local police officer of sheriff’s deputy can engage with a citizen, victim, or even minor offender and direct them to someplace that might be able to help them. These interactions build trust and contribute to a “social capital” account that will be remembered, as a sound investment, when those same citizens may be in conflict with the police.
What We Are Doing
The Law Enforcement Survival Institute has developed an eight-step proprietary Process Improvement Planning (P.I.P.) system to help agencies and communities work through all of the nine WFP focus areas in order to build a comprehensive wellness project. The focus area modules each examine an important component of comprehensive wellness including resilience, support systems, organizational culture, leadership, trust and community engagement. Some of this work is facilitation, some planning, some training and education but all of it is part of a continuous flow that will have each part build upon each other piece to culminate with an effective organizational and community-wide system to bolster wellness as a necessity of life.
These are our ideas and suggestions and now we invite you to learn more and join us in this process.
Please visit our website at www.WellnessFocusedPolicing.com where you can take a quick, free, online assessment of your agency’s systems to see where you may need to put your energies, and you will also find a Special Report on Wellness Focused Policing along with these additional free downloads:
The 12 Guiding Principles of Wellness Focused Policing
The Wellness Focused Policing Credo
The Wellness Focused Policing Agency Pledge
The Wellness Focused Policing Chief’s Pledge
The Wellness Focused Policing Sheriff’s Pledge
Community Leaders Action Planning Packet
Join us in this movement toward Wellness Focused Policing!
We Ask: What Will You Do?
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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” is a resilience building textbook, a do-it-yourself curriculum and a training program that can be presented live, on-site, virtually or through pre-recorded learning modules. These programs help police officers and other law enforcement professionals armor themselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually to build Tactical Resilience™ and survive their careers in police work. To learn more CLICK HERE. To learn about and buy the book CLICK HERE.
The Tactical Resilience™ and Ethical Policing Project (TREPP) is our international initiative to promote the health and resiliency of law enforcement professionals by conditioning our people physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, as well as paying attention to strengthening their mindset, level of personal mastery, depth of their social support system sand their financial fitness. It also provides a set of tools and techniques that, replenish their spiritual health and, restores their inner peace and clarity. TREPP is expandable to meet the needs of your community and your budget and can use training, assessments and consulting to assist you where you need it. We build human resilience, create processes to enhance agency support systems, promote a culture of wellness, and most importantly initiate community lead projects thru our Law enforcement officers as Community Action Leaders (LoCAL) initiative.
CLICK HERE to download our InfoSheet on TREPP.
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
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I’m John Marx, Founder of The Law Enforcement Survival Institute and the Editor of CopsAlive.com. Connect with me on Facebook, LinkedIn Twitter. and Instagram.
CopsAlive.com was founded to provide information and strategies to help police officers successfully survive their careers and improve their heathy, wellness and effectiveness. We help law enforcement officers and their agencies prepare for the risks that threaten their existence. Thank you for reading!