Suck it up.
It is a sign of weakness to ask for help.
Big boys don’t cry.
If you are involved in a deadly force encounter you are going to have these problems…….
Are you still proliferating these myths either directly or indirectly in training? If so, you are doing a disservice to your officers and may be setting them up for problems.
In your training programs you need to let officers know that it is ok to be ok. It is ok to take a life in the line of duty and be at peace with it.
You also need to let officers know that it is ok not to be ok. If something is bothering them then get the help they need to effectively deal with it. You need to tell them it is a sign of strength and courage to get the help they need, rather than suck it up and let it destroy them and their family.
As a profession we can not afford to set officers up for emotional and psychological problems by either telling them to suck it up, or telling them that if they take a life they will have problems x, y and z.
Educate officers about what they may experience. Educate officers about the signs and symptoms of PTSD. Educate officers about the resources available to them if they have problems. Tell stories of great cops and true warriors who sought help and as a result were able to have a successful career and a great life.
There is a powerful article in If I Knew Then: Life Lessons From Cops on the Street by Chris Butler about his personal journey through PTSD. Chris is a great cop, a great trainer, a great father and a great husband and his article has encouraged a number of officers to get the help they needed. Former New Jersey State Trooper Bob Delaney wrote a powerful book on the topic titled Surviving the Shadows: A Journey of Hope Through Post Traumatic Stress. Bob encourages cops and soldiers to deal with PTS before it becomes PTSD.
Your job as a trainer is to set officers up for success in the field. This includes addressing these issues up front with recruits and continually reinforcing it with in-service officers.
Excellence in Training is a philosophy. It is also a one day seminar and a four day professional development course designed specifically for law enforcement trainers. For a list of dates and locations for upcoming Excellence in Training Courses go to the Training Schedule Link.
To host an Excellence in Training presentation or course or book Brian Willis to deliver a Harnessing the Winning Mind and Warrior Spirit or Pursuit of Personal Excellence presentation at your agency, conference or event contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.