STRESS MANAGEMENT FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT AND EMERGENCY SERVICES
First, I want to thank you and commend you all for your services to your communities. I have gained great respect for the acts of bravery, kindness and commitment you have for your fellow man. Setting up a separate page on my website for the police, fire and emergency services was appropriate because you have an uncommon career in which you are exposed to things that most of the population would have no idea. In other words, "you see things" and "it can hit the fan" pretty quickly on any given day, right?
One young police officer told me that an instructor in the academy stated, "You've got a front row seat to the greatest show on earth!", and you do. Sometimes you see things and you just shake your head because the person was just plain stupid and you can laugh about it. Other times you see things and your chin starts to quiver, but you don't want anyone to see or know. You don't share those things with the spouse or kids. Maybe not even your buddies. It sucks. And to top it all off, if you're a cop, you don't trust anybody. Everybody lies and is always trying to present themselves in the best light possible, even when you saw the incident.
If you're a fireman, you've seen "it" too. You're on a call and you see the strange fire and you think, "How the "frick" did that happen? Thank God we got out." How many close calls? Or, you're with emergency services and you're on a run to an incident and you see the destruction to humanity and are astounded by man's resilency when wondering how someone survived the devastation. Or, they die. Do you think back about the number of lives?
All of this takes a toll. And if its not the actual job, its dealing with the "you know what" that goes along with being a public servant and it seems no one cares about you, not even other members of the brotherhood.
What I'm talking about is the cummulative stress of the job. The seeing of too much of this and that, the boredom, the jerks that are everywhere, the "what could I have done differently", the guilt of not spending enough time with the family, the shift work, the lack of respect and wondering if the administration really does care and "the secrets". I have some experience with all of that.
I spent 10 years as a police department "shrink" back East. I spent shifts on the street with officers and did a lot of "stress management" in the patrol car with the officers. If you're a cop, you know how your patrol vehicle is a sanctuary. Cops can talk a lot on a shift with a guy they trust. It can get pretty boring, so what do you do? You talk. I'm familiar with the job. I know the frick'n vest is hot and somebody ought to invent a cooling system, right? I know that a .357mag round doesn't always have to exit the back of the skull. No frick'n way? Yeah! I also had two uncles who were cops and we've had our share of conversations about the job.
As far as fire and emergency services, I've spent many a defusings and debriefings at the station after an incident chugging coffee, soda and stuffing my face with pizza. A line of duty death is gut wrenching, the death of a child is too. I've found that on most occasions, the fire station is great place to go for good food. There's something about the lieutenant frying those greasy burgers!
So, hopefully I've shared enough to secure with you that I'm not a "cop want-a-be", or a "I get off on seeing and riding the fire truck",or get into "the gore" after a MVA. I truly enjoy your presence and I admire what you do. I can assist in helping to deal with the cummulative stress and I know safety is first and you would not do what you do unless you wanted to help others. Here's to a long, safe and successful career.
Give me a call and we can set something up and talk over a cup of coffee.