Cop Stress

Police Officers are eight times more likely to die by their own hand than by homicide, a study by University of Buffalo epidemiologists has shown. The study suggests that the biggest reason for the high rate is because officers think they have nowhere to go for confidential help when personal problems or job stress overwhelm them. In an effort to encourage suicide awareness training and stress management for law enforcers, PPF provides the following services and educational resources:

COP STRESS ARTICLES:
A&E’S “COP COUNSELORS” COURTESY OF BILL KURTIS PRODUCTIONS PAGE 42 BILL KURTIS INTERVIEW PAGE 43 SURVIVING STREET PATROL BY VETERAN POLICE OFFICER STEVE ALBRECHT PAGE 44 COPSHOCK BY ALLEN R. KATES PAGE 45

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Cop Stress

A&E’S BILL KURTIS
ONCE AGAIN LENDS HIS SUPPORT TO OUR ANNUAL LAW ENFORCER SAFETY INITIATIVE
In an effort to combat the debilitating effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder among law enforcers, the Police Protective Fund, in conjunction with Bill Kurtis and Kurtis Productions, is proud to offer "Cop Counselors" from the popular A&E series "Investigative Reports". This timely documentary examines how police officers are exposed to more traumatic experiences in a few months on the job than most people experience in a lifetime. Yet despite the stress, relatively few seek the professional help of therapists, counselors or psychologists. And sometimes, as with the rash of police suicides in New York City in the late 1990's, the consequences can be tragic.

“Cop Counselors” from A&E’s Investigative Reports.

“YOUR INTEREST IN AND SUPPORT OF THIS DOCUMENTARY IS THE HIGHEST COMPLIMENT. WE SINCERELY HOPE THAT THIS SHOW MIGHT HELP OTHERS BY SUGGESTING WAYS IN WHICH OFFICERS CAN Bill Kurtis P R O T E C T THEMSELVES ON THE STREETS. I KNOW YOUR ORGANIZATION IS WORKING TOWARD THE SAME GOAL. I APPLAUD YOUR EFFORTS!” BILL KURTIS

“Cop Counselors” Request Form Below...

"Cop Counselors" introduces three extraordinary individuals who are working to change the stigma of cops seeking help. By telling their stories, this remarkable video has already helped thousands of officers find the help they need. It is the Police Protective Fund’s and Bill Kurtis’ hope that by sharing this video with officers nationwide, we will help spread the message that when you are suffering, the strong thing to do, the smart thing to do, is to get help!

YES, I WISH TO RECEIVE A FREE VHS COPY OF “COP COUNSELORS”.
This important new educational resource provides critical information that is essential to law enforcement professionals. Chiefs and Sheriff’s may request a free copy using this form. Supplies are limited.

Chief/Sheriff Department Address City/State/Zip e-mail

_________________________________________ _________________________________________ _________________________________________ _________________________________________ _________________________________________

FAX request to: 1-800-227-1042.

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Bill Kurtis Interview

The following is an interview with Bill Kurtis regarding Cop Counselors and the Police Protective Fund’s efforts to distribute this video nationwide. By Joshua Meeks There must be thousands of possible topics for a show like yours. Why did you choose cops and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? Because it was such an overriding problem among police. They called it combat fatigue during WWII. Then they came up with PTSD to apply to men who were traumatized by their wartime experiences. The VA arranged group therapy sessions where soldiers came together to share. Our show is a way to short circuit that process. It brings people together without bringing them together, if you know what I mean. It sounds funny, television is often criticized, but it really is a great way to learn. You can see what someone else is going through. Television can communicate from one unit to another, one city to another. Police Officers with PTSD can get counseling, but frankly the healing power is in listening to other officers tell their story. When an officer hears one of his colleagues expressing feelings similar to his own, it helps to relieve the pressure. We wanted this project to speak to those officers who might not recognize their illness.

Bill Kurtis

What prompted you to address

this issue?

We recently got back from Columbine where we did the third year anniversary episode. What we found was that everyone in the community is suffering from a form of PTSD, from the Supreme Court justice who was running the investigation to the families of those killed. It just doesn’t go away.

The message of “Cop Counselors” is that like those civilians at Columbine, police officers have to realize that they too are vulnerable. You said “problem solvers,” before. Police officers are expected to be heroes. They are expected to save others by running into It’s incredibly important that every police fire. It’s terribly We look for problem frustrating when it department in the country show this tape solvers to fill the role doesn’t happen that because too many officers are unable to of Police Officer. way, when they can’t Problem solvers are solve every problem. accept their limitations. Providing this not always They see the worst of tape to department’s is as valuable as comfortable going to the worst. It’s someone else and bulletproof vests. incredibly important saying that they have that every police unit in a problem. the country show this tape because too many officers are unable to accept their limitations. Did you attempt to direct the message of Cop Counselors to the families and friends of cops What do you think of NAVPO’s effort to -- people who may be able to encourage them distribute Cop Counselors to police officers? to share their feelings? Yes, you described it nicely. My definition of journalism is to communicate problems to intelligent people who are going to solve those problems. So what is “Cop Counselors’” message for law enforcers? Look, you’re not invincible and you don’t have to be. You don’t have to take it home with you. I have a son who is schizophrenic and the most comforting thing that the doctors say to me is, ‘you’re not to blame. You didn’t cause the problem. ’ That’s the message for me that got through. It’s as valuable as bulletproof vests. Efforts like this will help to shield the psychology of police officers. When officers see this program, they will learn to recognize the PTSD warning signs in themselves and others. If you know the signs and are willing to speak up when you see them, you may save an officer’s life. Watching this video and learning more about PTSD is just as important as learning techniques of selfdefense. If an officer doesn’t find ways to deal with the frustrating ills of society, he and his family will suffer when he carries his troubles home at the end of the day.

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Cop Stress
SURVIVING STREET PATROL
AUTHOR AND VETERAN POLICE OFFICER STEVE ALBRECHT DISCUSSES HIS BOOKS, NAVPO AND THE FUTURE OF LAW ENFORCEMENT TRAINING by Joshua Meeks Police officers are a tight knit group and if you plan to tell them something they don’t want to hear, you’d better send a police officer to do it. Steve Albrecht, a veteran of the San Diego Police Department and a talented writer, has been filling that role for nearly twenty years. He has written extensively about the kind of practical, no-nonsense law enforcement tactics that keep officers alive and on the streets. Unfortunately, there are a lot of officers out there who don’t want to be told that they need to change their ways. But Steve’s advice isn’t the same stale, technical style found in many law enforcement manuals. In fact, he writes in such a loose, stand-around-after-your-shift way, that even stubborn fourth and fifth year officers can learn from it.
Steve Albrecht

During his time with the SDPD, Albrecht wrote a column for his union paper, The Informant. Entitled, “Street Work” his column addressed the types of issues that experienced officers might overlook. From the simple act of buckling your safety belt to dangerous dealings with methamphetamine “Officers often have no idea what support is available to them.” addicts, his advice is directed at those simple, no-brainer mistakes that get officers killed. When publications like Police Magazine, Police and Security News and Law and Order Magazine recognized the benefits of Albrecht’s work, his advice found a national stage. “It’s the small details that will save your life,” Albrecht replies when asked what piece of advice seems the most relevant for today’s police officers. Along with John Morrison (a man that Albrecht describes as a tactical genius), Albrecht wrote “Contact and Cover” a book that analyzes law enforcement tactics and is still used at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. “John’s idea was a simple one but it works. When two officers are working together, one talks to the suspect while the other watches his partner.” This type of pairing seems simple Supplement Your Training: Albrecht’s enough, but when done with books “Streetwork” and “Surviving Street a rigid attention to protocol, a bad decision is half as likely Patrol” are available on Amazon.com. to be made. The result is a Also look to find his courses at greater level of safety for the community, the officers and ONLINEPOLICEACADEMY.org the suspect. Since retiring from the force in 1999, Albrecht has been president of a threat management firm that specializes in workplace violence. “There were 675 homicides attributed to workplace violence last year. Although that may not sound like many, the dark numbers are the unreported cases of threats, vandalism and sabotage.” One of Albrecht’s responsibilities with the firm is to teach a four-hour class in which police officers learn how to deal with workplace violence issues. “People who hate their jobs will fight to the death to keep them even though they are miserable. What officers have to realize is that when they walk into a workplace violence situation, the suspect knows the environment better than the responding officer. He knows the hiding places, the weapons and the escape routes.” When asked about NAVPO’s efforts to distribute the Bill Kurtis production, “Cop Counselors,” Albrecht was fully supportive. “Spreading the word about cop counseling helps prevent suicides by officers who have no idea what resources are available to them.” Citing as an example, SDPD’s confidential counseling program F.O.C.U.S., Albrecht says the program allows officers to take personal responsibility for their mental health. “Before FOCUS, we lost a lot of cops after tragic events, including a 1978 airline crash, killing about 170 people. Eight cops retired due to stress over that incident. But in 1984, after James Huberty killed 21 people at a nearby McDonalds, mostly little kids, we didn’t lose a single officer to stress. FOCUS was instrumental after that tragedy in providing counseling and retaining officers.”

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“COPSHOCK” BY ALLEN R. KATES
By Joshua Meeks When there is trouble, police officers are called first. They respond because that’s their job, because that’s what they do. But the things they see, the messes they clean up before anyone else sees them, those aren’t always so easy to forget. Of the hundreds of officers and rescue personnel who first responded to the Oklahoma City bombing, eight have already committed suicide. Experts are predicting that 1 in 29 of the first responders to the World Trade Center attacks will commit suicide. The numbers are tragic and they can be blamed, almost without exception, on an illness called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Available at www.CopShock.com.

Allen R. Kates

Truth, Honesty and Eye-Opening Emotion
Detective William H. Martin (Ret.) was the inspiration for “CopShock” and wrote the Foreword for the book. In part, here is what he says: “For most of my police years, I was addicted to Det. William H. Martin alcohol and prescription drugs. I often had suicidal thoughts and once tried to kill myself. I didn’t realize that my exposure to frequent trauma was causing PTSD. Fortunately, I have benefited from counseling and am now in recovery. But maybe if I had this book when I was a rookie cop the quality of my life would have been better. “I have never read a book with so much truth, honesty, eye-opening emotion and problem identification as “CopShock”. This book will begin the healing process for thousands of dedicated, active-duty officers. These officers have decades of service left to perform, yet do not know that the cumulative effects of PTSD have taken a heavy toll on them. Even retired officers, once they identify their symptoms, will begin to heal.” For over thirty-three years, Detective Martin served as an emergency services provider — two years in ambulance service, two years in volunteer fire service, four years in the United States Coast Guard, two years as an LAPD patrol officer and twenty-three years as a detective.

“PTSD is a greater cop killer than all the guns ever fired at police officers.” Those fifteen words sit astride the cover of Allen R. Kates book, “CopShock” and they bear all the power of a loaded weapon. While the violent nature of a police officer’s job is responsible for a number of cop deaths every year, a far greater number of cops take their own lives. “Police Officers who have experienced crisis situations try to medicate themselves to deal with the feelings,” Kates explains. “The traumatic images and horror get locked in their minds and it’s very difficult to deal with.” According to Kates, alcohol, drug use, gambling and eating disorders are a number of ways in which police officers attempt to self medicate. Unfortunately, these methods are never effective and many cops can’t handle the pain. To write “CopShock”, Kates conducted six years of research, consulted 200 psychological studies and performed hundreds of interviews with officers, therapists and hospital administrators. The resulting message that clearly resounds throughout the book is that police officers need to talk out their problems. They need to share their feelings and open a path through which their pain can be released. Allen’s belief in this therapy is so sincere and unwavering that he fired the publisher who wanted him to charge $35 for each copy of “CopShock”. “The cops I interviewed were really suffering and they trusted me to get their stories out to the public and other officers.” At great expense to himself, Kates self-published the book and keeps the price low so that any officer can afford it. Today, “CopShock” is recognized as the premier text on cops with PTSD. It is featured at the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington D.C. and a number of domestic and international agencies have cited Kates for his efforts to help stop one of the greatest killers of police officers. Kates and his book were recently featured prominently in the Bill Kurtis production, “Cop Counselors” (available free from PPF, see page 28). According to Kates there is a clear message in both the book and video. “It gives officers permission to seek help. It gives them permission to break down the wall of silence and say, ‘Hey, it’s not that I’m weak if I talk, it’s that I’m strong if I talk.”

“The traumatic images and horror get locked in their minds and it’s very difficult to deal with.”

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