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Mississippi Law Enforcement Alliance for Peer Support www.msleaps.org
The life of a law enforcement officer:WHO’S REALLY KILLING US? • Life expectancy of 59 years (78.56 average U.S. male) • #1 in suicide, 312 police suicides in 2009 (54 felonious LODD) Now 1 police suicide every 17 hours. 5-6 to 1 ratio • divorce rate about doubles the national average • 300% increase in chance of heart attack death in 19 year veterans compared to civilian population. • High in Domestic Abuse: What? • Alcoholism twice that of national average • Sub-culture of society is little known outside of the job. • Low pay, long hours, no “normal” life on holidays and weekends. (We’re never “off”.) • Critical Incident Stress: life on the street • Cumulative Stress: all the critical incidents adding up • Life Stress: what everyone else has plus all of the above
Know why you are here, and who you are working for: • Romans 13:1-4; “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority that God has not established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authorities is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those that do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right but for those that do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear from the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God’s Servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.”
Other Religions and Law Enforcement Muslims and the Quran Humanist Believe that the human spirit is basically good. Law Enforcement Officers and the law are guards of this good. Law was created by man for the common human good. It must be enforced. • Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God…Qu’ran 4:135 • “The Quran regards the taking of someone life or property as a criminal behavior and great sin.” Law Enforcement Officials Guide to the Muslim Community
Other Religions • Judaism • Daniel 2:21 • “He Deposes kings and raises others up… • Nationalism • Loyalty to leader/nation thru the law Kim Jong Un
So Why Are We Here? Good Evil Satan Wrong Unlawful Self-Centered Decides “Bad” Wolves • God • Right • Lawful • Concern for Others • Decides “Good” • Sheep and Sheepdogs When this “Spiritual Warfare” manifests itself physically, WE are God’s front-line troops.
Our survival includes: physical survival, legal survival, administrative survival, psychological survival political survival, financial survival, marriage survival, and spiritual survival.
What is Stress • Forget the Eustress vs. Distress crap. Stress is simply the price of the everyday wear and tear. It’s our reaction to what we live, see, hear, eat, dream, and what we are. • WE are stressed so others don’t have to be. • This is not all negative, remember, we volunteered for this job and we love it. • Some stress is good. It causes us to do a press check and put the seatbelt on!
Good and Bad of stress • Like a guitar string, some stress is good: • We wear our seatbelt, press check our gun, wear our vest • Good stress can make us better in relationships, it can make us communicate, make us change for the good • Bad stress can be turned to something good if you allow it • Is a roller coaster good? Ballgames?
Dr. Hans Selye: The father of stress research(pronounced ‘Zel-yeh’) • 3 “Stages” of stress ARE: • 1. Alarm- actual reactions to a threat • 2. Resistance- Our body’s reaction to the Alarm stage • 3. Exhaustion- the long term effect of untreated stress Dr. Selye also researched stress in regards to all occupations. The most stressful occupation: law enforcement!
Alarm Stage: • Adrenalin, physical changes covered later • Fear is real or perceived but effect is same • Triggers physical/chemical changes that willHARM the body in the long run, if not dealt with.
Resistance Stage • Stress Response is triggered constantly, we experience stress overload, anxiety, depression, grief, bitterness, and we stay “negative” • Then comes hopelessness, anger, bitterness • Body dumps cortisol (weight gain, bone loss) into body constantly, • Hypothalmus constantly stimulated which cause adrenal glands to overact. • Results are: Memory loss, sleep loss, physical problems
Exhaustion Stage • Immune System depletion: allergies, bacteria, viruses, now are more successful in their attacks • Loss of sex hormones (and drive), unless stimulated in temporary excitement (alarm stage). PMS, perimenopause, no period, constant period in women • Long term memory loss, weight gain especially in the mid section and neck/jaw, low blood sugar, high blood sugar (belly) • Final stage: Autoimmune diseases: the body attacks itself: diabetes, lupus, thyroiditus, MS, We stop doing the fun things!
Reality Check • Life includes PAIN. • Life includes trauma. • Life includes surprises. • Life includes disappointments. • Life includes Ups and Downs. • And yes, life ALWAYS includes death. • We can’t make life perfect, but we can make these easier to deal with.
“CONTROL” “Emotional Capture” occurs when we allow our desire for “control” to overcome our judgment. Instead of looking for the unexpected, reading the conditions of the scene, prioritizing our response, and placing ourselves in a position of advantage; we respond with, “No, *&^%*()#$%^&, I am in control here!” Your training must include high stress that causes emotions during the training event; and the activation of emotion reducers (we’ll cover later)
So what can we “Control”? • 1.We control our attitude. How we think and what we think about other people, situations, and our reactions to stimuli are self controlled. You are king of your thoughts. • 2. We control our bodies. Our exercise, our eating habits, vitamin intake, breathing and relaxation techniques are all choices we make. • 3. We control our personal relationships. More specifically, how much time we invest in our relationships with family, friends, God. • 4. We control our decisions.With every action we take, there is a decision we make! MAKE THE DECISION TO CONSTANTLY TRAIN!
People React Differently! Why? • 1/3 experience little or no trauma • 1/3 experience moderate trauma • 1/3 experience severe trauma • Any of the three is normal • Personal coping style • Prior exposure to critical incidents • Degree of intensity of loss • Additional learned information after • Balance of life Every situation is different every time to every person!!!
Major Physical Change 1: • The brain dumps (shifts) massive amounts of epinephrine and dopamine causing adrenalin dumps and blood flow changes.
Major Physical Change 2 • The heart pumps much faster to get the chemical changes throughout the body.
Major Physical Change 3: • The lungs expand so that more oxygen is pumped through the blood. • The brain, heart, and lung changes lead to Physical, Emotional, Cognitive, Behavioral, Family, Social, and Spiritual changes:
During the Incident: Physical Changes • time distortion, slow motion • auditory distortion, auditory exclusion • visual distortion, tunnel vision • tremors/shakes, • rapid pulse, may last for several days • Hyperventilation • muscle aches, • non-specific body complaints
What MIGHT happen: • Most shootings occur with 7 yard ranges: • You may see suspects face and his/her reactions • You may see suspects’ friends’ faces and their reactions, particularly screams • You may see his/her body flinch/react • You may hear screams, or nothing at all You may not feel your recoil You may not hear your own commands (or even be aware you gave them
Physical Changes, continued • Lightheadedness • nausea, • teeth grinding • sweats, chills • sleeplessness, • digestive problems, 20% report defecation during event • High blood pressure, • headaches, • Fatigue, fainting,
Fight, Flight, Freeze, Fetal, F’it • Adrenalin forces blood to major muscle groups; biceps, triceps, femoral so you can fight better, or run better • Freezing occurs if brain is “searching” for appropriate response • Fetal is not fighting, flighting or freezing, Its is the body’s way of protecting itself • Conservation Withdrawal occurs when brain gives up the fight-you want to die
Avoiding Conservation Withdrawal • You must program your brain not to quit thru physical and mental exertion. • All survival training must be dynamic and strenuous • Never be satisfied with mediocre • You must train the brain to RECALL not REACT • Questions to ask BEFORE your response: to help avoid sensory overload: • Does his behavior fit the situation? • Do his answers fit my question?
911 emergency symptoms • Chest pain • Difficulty breathing • Shock symptoms • Stroke symptoms • Panic attacks • Any of these require an IMMEDIATE 911 call
Emotional Changes • Heightened sense of danger, • 2nd guessing yourself • nightmares, • isolation • numbing, • Depression • Bible belt guilt, • sorrow, remorse • anger
Emotional Changes, 2 • Mark of Cain, • loss of control over emotions, • preoccupation with event, • family problems, • sexual difficulties, • Self blame, self blame, self blame
Emotional changes: (continued) • Soul searching • 2nd guessing yourself (I should have, I could have, If I had) • We are taught (improperly) not to say we shoot to kill, but we shoot to stop. This causes hesitation at time of crisis and more guilt afterwards.
Cognitive Changes • Difficulty making decisions • Disorientation • Poor concentration • Unable to perform simple tasks • Flashbacks (can be visual and /or auditory) • Confusion
Cognitive changes, continued • Dissociation (detachment) • Intrusive thoughts, sounds, images • Memory loss- worst case scenario: • you may only have 1% of memory recall of the event for every hour that passes
Behavioral Changes: • Decreased job performance • Withdrawal from friends/colleagues/family • Outburst (crying or laughing) • Inappropriate responses to situations • Changes to normal humor patterns • Excessive talkativeness or silence • Hyperactive behavior
Steps to Take • If you are in a shooting, an accident, a fight, or any HIGH STRESS EVENT:
1. Stop the threat!!! • You must focus on the KNOWN IMMEDIATE threat until you KNOW it is not a threat. • Never assume!! Don’t approach unless you have help.
3. Look for other threats! • Odds are pretty good there will be multiple suspects. • Look for others that may need shooting! • SCAN. Make your head turn. • You will likely have narrowed vision. • BREATHE !!!! Breathe deeply. Breathe deeply again.
2. Move!! BREATHE!!! • Move to cover if you are not already there. • If you are behind good cover, stay there if you possibly can. • Deep Tactical Breathing is now warranted. • Inflate stomach thru mouth • Hold 1 full second • Exhale deeply
4. Call for help in Plain English • PLEASE GET RID OF THIS “SHOTS FIRED” THING IN YOUR HEAD. • It tells dispatch and all officers “I think I’m supposed to panic now.” • State WHO is shot. If you are injured. If suspect is injured. Get an ambulance in route if anyone is hurt
5. Handcuff the Suspect.AND RENDER AID • All suspects are a threat to you until they are handcuffed. • If only one arm, handcuff to something. • Render Aid: Call Ambulance for bad guy
6. Secure the Evidence • Weapons, brass, bodies • If all by yourself, secure it!! • If many other officers there, photograph it. • Judgment call on your part but you MUST have the evidence a year later in court!!
7. Show backup where evidence is • This will include weapons, brass, and bodies but also includes witnesses. Point out who was there. • Point to where you were standing. Remember, distance is difficult to measure during a crisis • 10 second rule. Give a brief synopsis of what happened to back-up officers
8. Leave the scene/Call your family • Leave the Scene: • This is one of the hardest for bosses. They want you on scene to answer questions. • If nothing else, sit in a car out of sight of the scene WITH OTHER OFFICERS. • `Never sit behind a cage, unless under arrest • Call your family: • Use plain English. Let them know you are OK. Remember, privilege only applies to husband/wife. It does NOT apply to parents, siblings, paramours. • Make this call in private if at all possible.
10. Do not give in-depth interviews. • It is not smart to interview when there may only be 2-3% of memory of the event. • Same is true for written statement • Stay off the phone!! • Miranda/Garrity applies • Peer Counselors should not give legal advice. • 10-3 RULE: 10 seconds on scene; wait 3 hours; 10 minutes; wait 3 days. After 3 days: good
9. Get to a safe place: • The PD or the SO is likely where you need to go. • I have used schools (nobody there at night), churches, and officer’s homes. Remember, there may be other’s there. • No calls • The officer is NOT escorted in the building • He is NOT to be put in the interview room!!!
9 b. Take a 3 hour break: • Do not discuss the incident during this time. • Replenish fluids, get candy bars and gatorade. • No calls except family. The phone remains off. • Screen visitors. Remember judgmental statements may be made. • Keep the officer informed of significant events during this break
10 b. Call Peer Support • Have SHOOTING pre programmed in your phone (and everyone else’s) for peer support in your area: Print out defusing sheets (msleaps.org) • Get there asap! • Text me: Tim: 601-955-0055
If you are NOT the shooterand no cop is hurt: • Step 1: Provide a compassionate response to the officer at the scene. • Get the officer’s cell phone and turn it OFF! • Assign a companion to the officer of the officer’s choosing (this should be pre-chosen by each officer) This companion is not to judge, pry, or advise, only console and give mental first aid. (stay positive, state you will be with him/her for support, protect from judgmental responses, touch) Make/take all calls for the officer.
Step 2 • Give mental and physical first aid. • Part of your preparation should be treating wounds. Now you realize the significance of mental wounds as well as physical. • You know physical first aid, call someone who knows mental first aid if you don’t. • Tourniquets are a first option, not a last!
What is mental first aid? • Be Positive with all your comments. Never say a sentence with a negative word and “you” in it. • Give reassurance that you will be there for the officer. Let him know you’ll be making sure nobody abuses him. • The human touch does amazing things. • All steps on the card are a part of mental first aid.
Step 3 • Do not make judgmental responses. • Any statement that starts with “I would have…”, “You should have…” is a stupid one and can cause much damage. • This damage is multiplied if you are in a superior role (a supervisor, the investigator).
Step 4 • Do not take the officer’s gun. Record the serial numbers of the barrel and the frame AND LET HIM/HER KEEP IT!!! • The shooter should never be unarmed. • Call the crime lab to arrange a test fire while the officer waits for it at the lab. • If someone has already taken the gun, get him/her one.