Father’s Day Wish List

The minions asked me what I want for Father’s Day. It’s simple:

I want to spray Roundup on the driveway weeds. Since my first born, the cracks have come to life. I want to deforest.

Without anyone bothering me.

I want to do a full forensic analysis – a genuine crime scene – and figure out which of my spawn put their mits all over the LED flat screen.

Without anyone bothering me.

I want to cut wood things with saws. Even if for no reason. Tree limbs and boards. Then nail and screw them back together.

Without anyone bothering me.

I want to patch the hole in the wall. Hahahahahaha I have three kids – I mean patch the holeS in the wallS.

Without anyone bothering me.

I want to have a beer. Just to kill some time until my second beer.

Without anyone bothering me.

I want to mow the lawn. Mow the lawn? Yup, mow the lawn.

Without anyone bothering me.

And I want to poop. And remain upon the perch in pooping position for an extended period of time even after pooping.

And without anyone bothering me.

New Report on Officer Wellness – The things you don’t know that you don’t know

During a week of emergency management training in Texas last year I was reminded of a key principle of preparedness: In all aspects of life there are things that you know, things you simply don’t know, and there are things that you don’t yet know that you don’t know. 

The below report and interview with  Redding, Connecticut Police Chief Doug Fuchs reminds us that we struggle most with the things we don’t know that we don’t know. 

New Report on Officer Wellness: What it Means for Your Agency

By IACP Guest Blogger Laura Usher, Manager, Criminal Justice and Advocacy, The National Alliance on Mental Illness, Arlington, Virginia

This week, the COPS Office and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) released a major report on officer mental health after mass casualty incidents. The report, which draws on the experiences of chiefs involved in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting (Newtown, Connecticut), the Aurora Theater shooting (Aurora, Colorado), the Sikh Temple shooting (Oak Creek, Wisconsin) and many others, provides guidance for chiefs on the unique role they play in safeguarding officer wellness while managing the aftermath of these incidents.

To help us understand the importance of this report, I talked to Redding, Connecticut, Police Chief Doug Fuchs. Chief Fuchs is a resident of Newtown, Connecticut, site of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting and was on-scene shortly after the incident supporting Newtown Police Chief Michael Kehoe. He saw and felt firsthand the impact of the event on officers and the wider community.

Laura Usher: After the Sandy Hook incident, you and other Connecticut chiefs called for a guide to dealing with these incidents. Why?

Chief Doug Fuchs: We did not know what we did not know. And we know that there are so many other chiefs, especially in medium-to-smaller agencies who also do not know what they do not know. For example, it was so important to have one person to stand up and become the incident commander for all first responders’ mental well-being, and it was challenging to make that happen in short order.

Very early on, we received many offers of help from around the country. People just showed up and said, “We are law enforcement mental health providers and we are here to help.” We dismissed them because we had no way of knowing what their background was, whether they were legitimate, and what their expertise was. It took us a few days to identify someone for that role – someone we knew and trusted to tell us what we didn’t know.

Those of us who have experienced this want to make sure people are able to learn from our experiences. Even though you might be impacted by an event, maybe you won’t be impacted in the same way in which we have been.

Usher:Can you tell me about some of the negative impact on officers who responded to the Sandy Hook shooting?

Fuchs: It was unfathomable. Going in, many responders had no idea of the impact the event to which they were responding was having on the outside world. Once that was realized, the impact it had on individual responders was exacerbated. It never goes way. When you deal with one of the smaller and not heavily covered events, it impacts the officer or the agency, but there’s not constant media attention. The fact that this guidebook is coming out three years later – like so many other triggers ─ means these emotions will come back. Don’t get me wrong – everything about this guide is positive – but know that those of us who have contributed to it will feel differently than most every time we look at it. Each time there’s a mass shooting, the two words “Sandy Hook” get mentioned as a benchmark and it brings it all back again. It’s hard to explain, it’s difficult to imagine, and tough to figure out exactly where to “put” it. But we all do – and we do it to keep it a part of our world and not a part of those whom we serve. And for that, we should all be extremely proud.

Usher: What is the most important message chiefs should take from this guide?

Fuchs: So many things! Understand the importance of caring for your officers and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Know your neighboring chiefs and know them well enough to be able to show up without thinking you need to ask. Identify who in a crisis is going to be your point person for mental health. You can’t be building relationships during the incident; you need to be building them beforehand.

Usher: If the likelihood of these incidents is rare, why should chiefs focus on officer wellness?

Fuchs: Unfortunately, the likelihood of these incidents is not so rare anymore. And it doesn’t need to be a big event that gets media attention to have an impact on your officers. Officers are dealing with difficult calls and other peoples’ sorrow that impact them every day. As we now know, those types of calls build up and weigh on officers. Learning how to deal with that on a daily basis will help you if you are ever confronted with your own mass casualty event – you’ll have figured this out already.

Usher: Do you think chiefs have a special role to play when a neighboring agency experiences a mass shooting?

Fuchs: We have a huge role because we control resources outside of that community. It’s our job to make sure that the affected police department has what they need, manpower-wise, equipment-wise and that officer-to-officer, supervisor-to-supervisor, chief-to-chief, everyone has what they need emotionally to get them through to the other side. I think in part it is because of our role in society; we are not the most trusting of others who are not also law enforcement. So having a brother or sister law enforcement officer show up and say “I got this” is far more significant than one could ever imagine.

Credit: IACP Blog / Laura Usher

New Report on Officer Wellness: What it Means for Your Agency

A New Effort to Bring Care to First Responders in Need

http://calibrepress.com/2016/05/a-new-effort-to-bring-care-to-first-responders-in-need

1stAlliance seeks to ensure those who need care get they care they need

By Karen Solomon

More than 240 million calls are placed to 911 each year in the United States alone: 240 million instances in which a first responder can be emotionally and/or physically injured. It happens more often than people realize. Once a first responder is traumatized by what he or she experiences, where do they turn to heal their wounds? Should they be burned in a fire or struck by a bullet or knife, what happens next? It’s a question they often ask themselves.

In my experience too many of injured and traumatized first responders will sit alone in front of a computer looking for someone to help them. They will seek someone who understands and won’t look upon them as if they are weak, who knows how to get them what they need without broadcasting it over the radio. It’s not an easy task. When they are in crisis, it becomes frustrating to the point that some will give up. Some will commit suicide.

Firefighters, peace officers, emergency medical technicians, corrections officers and dispatchers too often find themselves standing over an abyss of turmoil from which they can’t walk away. We’re going to change that. We’re going to find them the help they need. It’s a simple concept: A central database that doesn’t store any of their information and can point each and every one in the right direction.

What We’re Doing

Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Deputies Steven Hough and Jeffrey McGill know what it’s like to experience a critical incident and find themselves without the proper assistance to recover. They longed for a collaboration of the first responder resources scattered around their country, and a way to reach the people who need those resources. I joined them to form 1stAlliance, and from there a database was born.

Thanks to a collaboration with another injured officer, Bourne Massachusetts Officer Jared P. MacDonald, 1stAlliance is a 501(c)3 charitable organization whose sole mission is to provide a way for first responders to find their way out of the darkness.

On June 1 of this year 1stHelp.net will be launched: a free, confidential way for first responders to find emotional, financial and spiritual assistance. If they’re in immediate crisis, they’ll be provided with a 24/7 resource to call. If they’re not in immediate crisis, they’ll be able to enter some basic criteria and be matched with resources that match their needs. They can take their time selecting the best fit. But, most importantly, they’ll have a starting point.

This endeavor is not a short-term bandage. We have partnered with Avatar Computing and plan to develop this into a free, downloadable app over the next six months. Avatar has been incredibly generous and will be redesigning both sites, logos and assisting with the long-term development of the organization. We’re also collecting suicide statistics, and we have a five-year plan to provide baseline data that can tell us a story about what’s happening to our first responders.

We also want to hear about the PTSD experiences of first responders. Those stories help us understand where we should focus our efforts. Our goal is to find out what first responders need most, identify those resources, and present them in a simple, confidential manner. No judgement. No fear of reprisal.

Conclusion

It’s important to note that we aren’t competing with the established organizations. We are instead providing a vehicle for more people to find them. We have nearly 100 vetted resources in the United States, Canada, and Australia that are trained to assist first responders. What became a quiet national project is blossoming into a global endeavor. Through the chat forums that will be installed this summer, providers can collaborate best practices and ideas on a global scale, all with an eye to improving the quality of life of those that serve us.

If you’d like more information, please feel free to visit our website http://www.1alliance.org or contact me at karen@1alliance.org. This project has been funded to date through private donations and we continue to seek long-term corporate partners.

We are also providing free informational cards to any individual or department that would like to hand them out to their members. These cards bear our logo and the website and are a handy reminder that you are never alone. Simply visit our website and we’ll find you a safer outlook.

Do you provide services to first responders? Register for inclusion in the database here. If you’re a first responder, bookmark our site, share your PTSD story with us or let us know when someone completes suicide. Our success is your success.

Meet Your Police, Community Engagement in an Urban Transit System

How do you build a relationship with a community made up of millions on the move? For the past two years some of the members of the New York City Police Department’s Transit Bureau have set upon answering this question. Recognizing a community engagement opportunity, they responded creatively.

I’m talking about the millions throughout the country who use our urban transportation systems. Here in New York City, some 5.6 million people rely on the subway each day to get them where they need to be. Policing metropolitan railways and buses is no small task in itself – but as we have recognized in our traditional neighborhoods for years, the citizens who take to the rails deserve to have a worthwhile relationship with the women and men who help to see them safely on their way.

There are no well-defined communities in the hurried world that exists between point A and point B. The subways are a conveyance, with lines that traverse the neighborhoods that they carry riders through. For practical police response, our transit district borders are built around train lines and stations, not around the better known residential areas above or below the rails. Within minutes, our officers can find themselves working from Bayside to Bensonhurst, the Upper West Side to the Lower East Side, and between Brooklyn and The Bronx. This means the mission of engaging residents and commuters can be difficult.

But not impossible.

The fact is, we have no shortage of highly capable and engaging officers. A “hello” or polite nod of acknowledgement for a passing rider. Offering directions to a lost passenger. Sharing some restaurant recommendations with a tourist. Helping a mother bring a stroller up the stairs.

Nevertheless, there still exists a visible gap between subway riders and transit police. Our district station-houses, like many police facilities, are centrally located – most of them within subway stations. But as Lewiston, Maine, Police Officer Joe Philippon noted in a recent blog post, there are actual and perceived barriers at police facilities that too often prevent citizens from entering. An ingrained public apprehensiveness means few will visit unless they must.

So we brought the officers in our districts outside into the stations. Literally. From the commanding officer, to the community affairs, crime prevention, and patrol teams – setting up shop in the middle of a busy subway hub for a day. We invited not only other city agencies to introduce themselves and share what they have to offer, but other community partners as well, including youth organizations, local clergy members, non-profit organizations, and social services agencies.

  The initiative, dubbed “Meet Your Police,” has attracted a lot of attention. Each of our twelve transit districts hosts several of these events each year – with district commanders often lightheartedly trying to out-do each other in producing highly visible events that bring their officers in contact with as many subway riders as possible. Few limitations are put on their approach, making each of the events unique to the particular district, its officers, and the neighborhoods they serve. They play music, have activities for the kids, serve food, provide information and giveaways, and most importantly they allow officers’ personalities to shine through. The hope is to show that our officers are approachable and that our police facilities are welcoming – staffed by real people. People who have kids. People who listen. People who chose careers of service.

The hope is that we garner trust, encourage crime reporting, and gain the public’s help in intelligence gathering and identifying crime conditions.

One such event recently, which took on the moniker “Function at the Junction,” was centered on several murals created by young artists whose seek to reduce gun violence in their neighborhoods by drawing grassroots attention to the cause. Joining together with this young talent provided a powerful platform, in the middle of a busy Brooklyn subway station, to feature a campaign that promotes safer neighborhoods for police and residents alike. What better way to build partnerships than to demonstrate that we each have a good number of common goals?

Hardly a cure-all, this initiative is just one of the many approaches that we have found to be worth advancing. By effectively turning a transit police district inside out and planting it squarely in the middle of a metropolitan rail station we hope to showcase the resources we provide, humanize our incredibly capable men and women, and build trust through mutual understanding. 

   

Written by Paul Grattan, Jr., this post originally appeared on the iacpblog | March 24, 2016 at 9:13 am 

IACP Blog Meet Your Police

When worlds collide

So, I guess at some point, a meerkat expert, a monkey handler, and a llama keeper all walked into a bar…

LONDON (AP) — A former meerkat expert at London Zoo was cleared Tuesday of assaulting a monkey handler in a love spat over a llama-keeper.

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/92de080b3140426d8f303d56be21165e/meerkat-expert-cleared-assault-zoo-love-triangle-spat

Letter: Recent editorial cartoon fuels divisive agenda

You lost all credibility in choosing to publish the editorial cartoon on Sunday, Nov. 8. Pushing the black lives matter vitriol only serves to further an agenda of racial divide on which people like Singer make their living. The cartoon not only suggests, wrongly, that the police target blacks, but that the officers who keep our communities safe are not themselves a diverse group of all backgrounds. In fact, so is the group of officers who have been killed while serving the neighborhoods that need every hand they can get to curb violence: largely neighborhoods of color.

The cartoonist and others would do well to take a post in these very communities where there are pervasive problems with crime and violence. Where black lives seem not to matter to other black lives. How cute that you include a graphic that lists a handful of alleged victims of police brutality and deaths in police custody which race-baiters have used to create a picture of a police-led war on minority communities. The upsetting reality is that the names of young minority lives lost at the hands of members of their very own neighborhoods and the names of police officers murdered by people of all colors are far too many for me to list with any chance of seeing this letter published. You should be ashamed.

Paul Grattan Jr.

Letter as published in the Times Herald Record, November 14, 2015

Letter: Recent editorial cartoon fuels divisive agenda

This Story Has Got Some Cajones…

Attention gentlemen friends and colleagues: If you need to discontinue any direct connection with your nads, I know a guy.

So, today was V-day. A time to turn my actual family of five and my dream of a family of five into a permanent reality of a family of five.  The bilateral vasectomy they call it- as if a unilateral vasectomy is another option.

Before I begin with the nuances of outpatient male sterilization, let me take you back to the eve of my voluntary nut-sack assault. I had what I would call a ball-bag breakdown. I saw this coming – after all, external though they may be, I feel pretty close to mi cajones. So after work yesterday I took my giggleberries and sat them down on a barstool for a little reflection. Funny as it seems, I didn’t reflect on my inability to have more kids – I was well past any regret there – rather I waxed philosophically on the theoretical detachment. I’m not sure I really cared, but it made for a splendid excuse with the Mrs. to disappear for a beer and some alone time with my bollocks. I think I made up the reflective part to buy sympathy and understanding – I knew it would work.

So today I awoke and performed my usual morning routine. An athletic supporter would be in order I was told, so I ventured to the sporting goods store where I also picked up some wiffle balls (no pun intended) to replace the ones I cut up with the mower (damn, the unintended puns get better and better). Then, on to the doctor’s office where I spent 45 minutes in the waiting room trying to figure out which fellas leaving had just had their gonads snipped. In good time I was brought in and asked several times if I was sure I wanted to go through with this. A no-brainer in my book, but I appreciated their concern.

The procedure itself was a breeze, less for a needle being somewhere you wouldn’t want it to be. I quickly realized that if not for the needle, I would not have been able to laugh and joke with the doc and the nurse as they clipped vital guy-tubes. We talked about favorite beers, and I verified that I could imbibe post-surgery with no issues – good for me. In less than ten minutes I was dressed and on my way out the door – barely aware that my nuggets had been worked over. You leave there like any other doctor’s appointment – apparently no worse for wear.

That is, until about 45 minutes later while stuck in traffic on the way home. The local anesthetic wears off and you begin to wonder at what point a mixed martial arts fighter attacked your knackers.

With the huevo-pain-clock ticking, I quickly stopped by the beer distributor and picked up some of the doctor’s suggested remedies. Then me and my bruised avocados made our way home. Of course, with three little ones this is where things can get interesting. Thankfully the Mrs. was able to prevent substantial damage with a pretty good “daddy has a boo-boo” campaign, and the climbing, jumping, and “hold me!” was put off for a spell  Plenty of time for that after the yam bag is at 100 percent.

The only other thing I have for you is this: stay away from the beers in my fridge – I’m not sure what’s wrong with them, but I’ve been drinking them all day and my balls are KILLING me!