FBINAA Sept/Oct Magazine.2018
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that positives do surround me. The funny thing is, this stuff was always there I just did not realize what I needed to do to keep it in front of me. I blame the career and prior theories of what public safety was supposed to be. This education must start early in a public safety person’s ca- reer. We also must reach out to our EAP and make sure they have the knowledge and training when it comes to understanding what public safety needs, thinks, and challenges they face every day. You never know when a breaking point will occur. It could take just one incident like Officer Dibona , mentioned earlier. He had one tragic event that caused him issues, and when he went for help he was told, “toughen up,” (Thomas, T. S., TCR Staff, & Crime and Justice News. (2018, March 22). This is another example of why we need to change our thought process and philosophy when it comes to critical events or personal events. CONCLUSION While attending the FBI National Academy, I have made great strides in moving towards a better philosophy on how we deal with both on duty and personal events. I had the pleasure of talking with Retired State Trooper Heidi Marshall about just one event that drove her to the darkness. Heidi was fired from her job on a Friday. Heidi told me she had plans to kill herself because she was embar- rassed and ashamed. Luckily, Heidi had enough light to detour her from that decision and made it to Monday. Heidi received a call on Monday from her department offering her job back with a demo- tion. Heidi took the job and went on to have a successful career, but never talked about her weekend thoughts. It was not until she attended the FBI National Academy that she realized she needed to release that darkness. She now is an advocate for training people on how to deal with situations like she went through. Another fit- ting example of taking positive strides forward to fix this problem. I understand we must be tough to take on this career, but we also must be able to release because you can only be tough so much before you break. I will leave you with Sheriff Whitcomb ’s quote, “Knowledge is power.” The only way we are going to win this battle is by passing on the knowledge. References Whitcomb, S. (2018, July 16). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Lecture presented at FBINA Session 273 in Virginia, Quantico. Thomas, T. S., TCR Staff, & Crime and Justice News. (2018, March 22). PTSD: 'The Dirty Little Secret of Law Enforcement'. Retrieved August 19, 2018, from https://thecrimereport.org/2018/03/21/ptsd- the-dirty-little-secret-of-law-enforcement/ Murphy, B. (2018, August 9). Case Study: Sikh Temple Shooting. Lecture presented FBINA Session 273 in Virginia, Quantico. Marshall, H. (2018, July 31). Personal Interview at the FBINA, Session 273, in Virginia, Quantico. About the Author My name is Scott Smallwood and I am currently a Lieutenant with the Gridley-Biggs Police Department. I have graduated from Ashford Uni- versity with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal and Social Justice and a Master’s in Public Administration. I have been in law enforcement for 22 years. I started my career graduating from the Butte College Police Acad- emy in 1996. Gridley Police Department hired me in March of 1997 as a level two reserve officer. Colusa County Sheriff’s Department hired me in May of 1998 as a full-time deputy sheriff. Gridley Police Department hired me in January 2001 when they took over the City of Biggs and became the Gridley-Biggs Police Department. Throughout my law enforcement career, I have worked patrol, school resource officer, gang detective, gang expert, patrol sergeant, and currently a lieutenant.
do. I turned around, returned to my home, grabbed my work gear, and worked patrol like nothing ever happened. GLIMMER OF LIGHT “Fate is truth,” (Whitcomb, S. (2018, July 16). God works in mysterious ways and I honestly believe he will only give you what you can handle. I reached my point and needed help. While work- ing that shift, I received a call from a friend asking to have lunch the following day. This is a friendwhowas also in law enforcement and had also seen the dark places. When we met for lunch the fol- lowing day he at once recognized I was not myself and suggested I needed to seek help. My daughter had called that morning prior to me meeting him for lunch and said the same thing. I called the Employee Assistant Program (EAP) and started my therapy, but this was just a glimmer of light. The darkness still lingered. The (EAP) system was not really on board for the type of is- sues I was dealing with. I had the opportunity to listen to Lieu- tenant Brian Murphy talk about the Sikh Temple Shooting. He made a bold statement I completely agree with. He said the EAP system was not good and needed to be more on board with what law enforcement deals with. This has such truth. I saw a psycholo- gist who did help, but really did not give me the tools to deal with my inner problems. The next three years I still struggled, but with the help of family and that friend who called me the night of my breaking point I was able to push through until I found my light. In 2011, I met my current wife, who has been my guide to the light and destruction of darkness. She has been the biggest part of the tool box to help me realize the importance of not shoving your inner problems down but getting them out. I found my light, but I feel I was lucky, unlike many who cannot understand something clearly and do not have the tools or knowledge to fight off the darkness to keep the light in front of them. PREVENTION The police academy gave me all the tools I needed to be a successful police officer. I knew how to deal with a domestic dis- turbance, drive a patrol car, shoot a gun, type a report, and even handle a scenario where I could lose my life. They talked about how you might see bad things, bad things might happen to you, and it was all just part of the job. Where they failed is in how to deal with these bad things mentally. “Knowledge is power,” (Whitcomb, S. (2018, July 16). Sheriff Whitcomb talked about how knowledge is power, and we must train our people on how to deal with inner problems. Lieutenant Murphy talked about how EAP was not effective because they do not have the knowledge. These two men are heroes in my eyes, not just because they have had amazing careers, saved many lives, and are amazing men. They are my heroes because they also fought off the darkness and have the knowledge to pass on to others. I do not have the solution to PTSD, but I can tell you what worked and continues to work for me. One, we must stop this theory that when bad things happen you just push it aside, tell a bad joke, and move on. We must recognize public safety is a job and those who work it are human. Not just police officers, but dis- patchers, correctional officers, and anyone who deals with public safety. We must give tools like talking about your problems and finding ways to destress to take out the darkness before it cov- ers your light. For me, my wife, taught me to talk about problems without fear of judgment, she introduced exercise, recreational activity like hiking, animals, and family “get away,” to remember
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