578 Known Suicides...
F rom January 1, 2016 through June 31, 2019, reported from data collected by Blue H.E.L.P. founded by Karen Solomon, a nonprofit organization that tracts law enforcement suicides. Nationwide, it is reported that suicides are up 24% this year over last. In 2018, there were more law enforcement suicides, for the third straight year, than line-of-duty deaths and over the same pe- riod in 2018, law enforcement suicides totaled 92. This year alone, New York City had seven officers who have died from suicide. This is not anyone’s favorite topic to read about and like most, are familiar with the Below 100 Project and its goal of re- ducing the number of police officer line-of-duty deaths (LODDS) to less than 100 with the mission focusing on five simple core officer-safety tenets: • Wear your vest (body armor and high-vis) • Watch your speed • Wear your (seat) belt Your FBI National Academy Associates fully supports the Below 100 Project, however, we are also committed to increase awareness and provide resources that law enforcement agencies can use to advance resiliency, and to develop solutions to the systemic concerns about the safety and wellness of our officers and their families. Why does an officer choose to take their own life? No one understands, but experts recommend implemen- tation of mental and physical wellness programs, employee assistance programs (EAP) and peer support systems. Your FBINAA provides a resource, the Comprehensive Of- ficer Resilience Program ℠ as another resource. The rest of this article is a detailed outline of the program. For those who are familiar with the program or who have reviewed it in the past, please take the time to reacquaint yourself with the program. For those who have been hearing conversations about the program but have not had an in-depth look, please take a few minutes to familiarize yourself. The program is there for you and your organization as a resource. We all want to make an impact on the wellness of our officers and their families. OFFICER RESILIENCY The FBINAA seeks to save lives, families, and careers of po- lice officers around the globe. To fulfill that goal, a select group of members of the FBINAA attended training in May 2017 at the Joint Services Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX, to become certi- fied Master Resiliency Trainers. These participants were trained in a model first developed by the United States Air Force and were charged to grow the program via train-the-trainer courses throughout the country. The program includes the fundamental principles of the USAF’s program and has been adapted for use for law enforcement and public safety agencies. FOUNDATION FOR THE TRAINING The Comprehensive Officer Resilience Program ℠ is made up of domains and tenets. The domains, the tenets, and the definitions were created by subject matter experts in academia, the USAF, and law enforcement. The four domains are the areas of a person’s life that capture the totality of how they experience and relate to others • WIN – What’s Important Now? • Remember: Complacency Kills!
and themselves and being fit across the four domains will lead to a more resilient individual. These tenets are the key characteristics in an individual that foster resilience. The tenets include: • Mental – the ability to effectively cope with unique mental stressors and challenges • Physical – the ability to adopt and sustain healthy behaviors needed to enhance health and wellbeing • Social – the ability to engage in healthy social networks that promote overall wellbeing and optimal performance • Spiritual – the ability to strengthen a set of beliefs, principles, or values that sustain an individual’s sense of wellbeing and purpose A key component to a comprehensively fit officer is resil- ience. People are not born resilient; they learn to be resilient through life experiences. Resilience training builds resilience and improves it in those that are already considered to be resilient. Research by the University of Pennsylvania and other academic forums have determined that resilient people are not as negatively impacted by adverse events, and when they do experience an ad- verse event, they recover faster and are more likely to experience post-event growth. Even without an adverse event, the positive effects of this training are a win-win: it’s just a matter of degree. This training helps reshape officer’s thinking. It helps them to look at the world, yourselves, and events they experience in a different way. Empha- sizing the positive and their strengths rather than their weaknesses. With the support of the Motorola Solutions Foundation , the FBINAA provides its Comprehensive Officer Resiliency Train-the- Trainer Program ℠ to law enforcement professionals around the country. The continued support of the Motorola Solutions Foun- dation has provided the support needed as the Comprehensive Officer Resiliency Train-the-Trainer Program ℠ continues to grow rapidly having certified over 370 trainers since 2017. To learn more about how the FBINAA’s Comprehensive Officer Resilience Program ℠ and upcoming Comprehensive Officer Resilience Train-the-Trainer Program℠ dates, please visit www.fbinaa.org.
Kevin Wingerson, President FBINAA Assistant Chief, Pasadena Police Deptartment
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