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Life after law enforcement

Discussion in 'Military & Emergency Services' started by JamesW, Nov 27, 2017.

  1. Freida

    Freida Been There, Done That, Lived to Tell the Story Premium Member

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    Love that!!!!!!!

    It lessens with time.... But hey...there's always school resource officer of you can stand teenagers!
     
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  3. IceQueencop

    IceQueencop New Member

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    Your pain is my pain.

    Five years ago my partner left the PD on a PTSD disability a year after a shooting. It hit me then, that LE is not forever. I went back to school. Three days after graduation I got in a shooting and haven’t been the same since. The nervous system got stuck on high gear and I got diagnosed with PTSD.

    When I started school, one of the things I wanted was a network of cops who had gotten off the LE path, and could show me a different way, how to be a student again, how to be a civilian. I managed to find a few, and it helped me to feel more comfortable in my new role.

    I didn’t get to leave LE on my terms as I had planned, but more and more I am running into cops who are leaving the field, and having trouble adjusting. I would love to set up a network for retired LE. The active folks have their work to do, but retired cops (and dispatchers)...there is a lot of skill, a lot of knowledge in our collective brains.

    What if we could work together to encourage greater mental health for the active folks and to hold the door open for those who are leaving, either on their own terms or due to disability? We aren’t the first to leave and we won’t be the last. I would love to hear if you think something like that could work, how it could work, anything. I too, hate doing nothing.
     
  4. Freida

    Freida Been There, Done That, Lived to Tell the Story Premium Member

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    Love, love, love that idea!
     
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  5. BigLeuch

    BigLeuch Guest

    That is a great idea in it's intent, but there would have to be a very strong group at the core developing a way to make the group attractive to active personnel.

    Nobody wants or thinks they need help until they are way off track. When you are operational you think you are invincible or mental health is like the flu and NO ONE wants to get sick! "So get it away so it doesn't infect us all!"

    So about the time you felt something is wrong, then you notice things are wrong, you push it aside to figure out later because you have things to do. Also there is negative effects to your career but positive ones for your health. We all know what is more important but when you are working your values are different.

    My brother got out of eight years as a Green Beret and never wanted help at the time because he could overcome. We use to fight like junkyard dogs because of his Dr Jeckel/Mr Hide PTSD. He would say "there are guys who have been through worse than me, give them help, I can hang"......after enough episodes he finally went to get help 20 years after leaving the service.

    My ten years in law enforcement have been an incredible experience; plenty of good cases, death, saving lives. After my first shooting iwas fired up and wanting to go faster-harder, then the second kicked me hard. Seeing my partner get shot up six feet from me on my call hurt, I spent a bunch of my time caring for him after he got out of the hospital and not paying attention to those red flags in my health. As before: need to get back to it, don't have time for that, until you can't ignore it and need help.

    There is a bunch of resources for help after it is NEEDED in people's life. To get out there and help people before they are willing would be a huge challenge.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 29, 2018
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  6. IceQueencop

    IceQueencop New Member

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    You are absolutely right about how the system and the stigma works currently. I know that in my state, there is current legislation requiring cops to go to training on mental health issues, within the profession and among, ‘clients.’ So the awareness is happening, but I think we need retired cops on the outside, to mentor cops out. To reduce or kill the stigma of getting help.
    Think about a call you went to, you know the guy’s gotta go and you give him the option to walk out on his own or get dragged out. You know it’s gonna be worse for the guy if he gets dragged out, right?
    But, that’s what I see cops doing. They’ll carry a backup gun so they can fight for their lives, but they don’t have a backup plan for the rest of their lives. When partner retired after a shooting with a PTSD disability, I knew I needed a plan. I have a degree, I have a direction to look forward to, but I see so many cops struggling as they back out of the career they thought was for forever. I can’t say I’m not struggling with PTSD, but I feel more hope than I think others have expressed. I don’t think it’s because I’m unique, but I do think retired cops, especially guys like you, BIGLEUCH, are in a unique position to get the word out.
    I’m guessing there aren’t a lot of guys in your department that have done quite what you have...nobody gets PTSD from riding a desk, or having too much brass on their collar. Your work gives you a status. When you talk to cops, bring up the piece, “if I could have done it differently, I would have, (talked to someone earlier, not worked so much OT, paid attention to my body, had another plan in mind,...).
    Honestly, there were a couple years when I couldn’t process what my range instructors were saying. Turns out, I’m not alone, but I didn’t know that was a sign of PTSD. I don’t think the instructors realized that either. Would getting help then have had a better result, maybe.
    We look at all kinds of tactical situations and talk about how to handle things differently. We also know that cops who get into shootings are in the minority of all cops, and most leave law enforcement within a few years. Is it because of the shooting itself, or is it because we already have our heads full of so many other traumas, that the shootings are just one too many? Does time on before the shooting make a difference? If it does, then it really makes sense to get help before the shooting happens. But that’s where the stigma is the worst.
    Now, I’m not saying that I’m ready to canvas the globe spreading this gospel, but I want forward momentum, and I want to talk to other cops in this position and I want to know what your thoughts are. Since the day I put on a uniform, there hasn’t been a situation that I have walked into, thrown up my hands, said I don’t know what to do here, and walked out. When we worked the street we worked as a team, and when cops leave there is...nothing. There should be another team.
     
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  7. Freida

    Freida Been There, Done That, Lived to Tell the Story Premium Member

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  8. BigLeuch

    BigLeuch Guest

    IceQueencop,
    You're seeing things right about the environment because you now have the experience. Administrator's should seek experienced personnel to help with such tasks.......... nevermind, they are admin.
    I am not retired, battling with workman's comp as they didn't believe my claim because I went back to work after physical therapy for my shoulder. I worked for months and was noticing energy issues, mood swings and anxiety. Went to my primary care physician to get something started. First couple of meds made me lethargic and put on weight, second slowed my thyroid and glands, now I have swelling in my lower legs and have started seeing a cardiologist. All of this was my own time and money, trying to get fixed up. When the county psychologist told me the physiological problems are from stress and fill out workman's comp claim......no I'm an as****e to admin/county and risk management.
    And as you know, I'm out on stress so I have some strange disease and no one talks to me. I have about three guys that will check on me(one being my partner in the ambush). I was a Search And Rescue coordinator and one of our members talked to me in a store that the sergeant in charge told everyone to not contact me.
    I understand they are all focused on liability but I think if there would have been more team morale and admin wanting to learn from it I could have been working through those feelings before getting behind the wheel again.
     
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  9. IceQueencop

    IceQueencop New Member

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    Liability is a stupid reason to tell cops not to talk to one another. Do you have an attorney yet? You need one.

    I’m not sure what state you’re in, where I’m at, a psychologist’s diagnosis and the “unfit for duty,” designation gets you a year off, or so.

    Also, cops have weird ways of thinking about things. It may be that your Sgt. is jealous of you/your experiences and time on. It sounds weird, but...it’s how cops think.

    A friend of mine wrote a book about getting shot, PTSD and the politics, “10-88! Officer Down.” By Dustin Reichert it’s on Amazon if you have any interest, I have a hard time reading it, but, know that you’re not alone.
     
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  10. Peaceful Warrior

    Peaceful Warrior Member

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    I struggle with it. What we stood for is still inside us. It's what we stand for and how we are wired. On the other side of the coin, I'm in the process of accepting it was my time to pass the torch to the younger, healthier guys and gals. Whenever I start to miss the job, all I have to do is remind myself of the parts that stunk and be thankful I'm not in that environment any more.
     
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  11. Peaceful Warrior

    Peaceful Warrior Member

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    Same here. They toss you overboard and keep on sailing. Just glad I'm not there anymore.
     
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  12. CdnCopper

    CdnCopper Active Member

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    I'm retired form the force now. Diagnosed with PTSD early in my career of several "significant" events, never mind the usual crap. Back then treatment options were pretty much zero, recognition of it as being serious was zero soI prodded along two and a half decades longer than I should've stayed.

    Self medicating was the only viable option other than eating my gun.

    Things have fortunately changed, especially with the recognition of ptsd as being a "real" illness.

    Still there is a reluctance on the part of management to fully accept it. Unless you've walked in these shoes you can not have an appreciation or an understanding of how debilitating it can be.

    Everyone is different with how much crap they can take. My limit will be different than my Sergeants limit, and different than my Staff Sergeants limit and different than the rookie that just started limit. Therefore when someone reaches their limit on a call that by all appearances looks benign to others, it could be the nail in the coffin for another.

    That's where you get the "faker, "milking the system" attitude from management. It didnt affect everyone the same way so therefore you're faking it.

    Then of course you now have Civilian Academics in management positions once occupied by Police Officers that have absolutely zero appreciation for the daily sh*t that we encounter.

    Anyway, I'm rambling. But yeah, the camaraderie was great until I was on leave for various injuries or when retired....that's when you learn how quickly you become invisible.
     
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  13. blackemerald1

    blackemerald1 I'm a VIP Premium Member

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    Yes they call it 'the family' - 'the brotherhood'. Not so chummy after you go down and do not get up the same.
     
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