At the Winning Mind Training 2009 Legacy of Excellence Conference we were honored to have Dr. Kevin Gilmartin as one of our presenters. Kevin is a former Marine, a retired officer from the Tucson Police Department and a psychologist. Kevin is the author of the book Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement. This book should be required reading for all law enforcement trainers, supervisors and officers. Kevin has a profound message on how the profession of law enforcement changes an officer’s world views and can lead to excessive degrees of cynicism. These effects are caused in part by the “biological roller coaster” law enforcement professions experience on a daily basis. While some degree of cynicism is helpful for us from an officer safety perspective, getting caught up in this roller coaster can destroy marriages, careers and officer’s health. Kevin does point out however, that because these things are predictable, they are preventable.
If you have not read this book, read it. If you have read it, read it again. If you have not seen Dr. Gilmatin speak then get to a presentation somewhere, get his videos or get him to come to your agency. This is a message we need to get to recruits and in-service personnel. Find a way to get the message to your people. Find a way to get the agency to buy everyone a copy of the book. Find a way to get the message to the officer’s families and significant others.
As Kevin says we spend a lot of time, money and energy recruiting good people. We then invest a lot of time and money in training them in the law, skills and tactics and that is important. Do we however, commit the same resources to ensuring that officers make it through a career with their emotional well being in tact or do we leave them to sort that out themselves? Some officers do a great job of that while others suffer needlessly.
Get the information and please get the message to your officers.
You can get the book through Warrior Spirit Books or through Dr. Gilmartin’s website.