The reality of what LEO’s face is the raw, chaotic, and lack of civility most humans never witness. Over time, this can trigger a loss of purpose in life that grows from the unmitigated stench of a decomposing society. For example, when a LEO enters into a lawful arrest encounter for domestic violence and has that case released from custody and dismissed over and over, there comes a sense of learned helplessness and the question of “what purpose am I serving” ? This scenario plays out nightly and the response of judges and prosecutors during the daytime raises the spector of whose side are you on? I have posted blogs about the process of field training following academy graduation. Probationary police officers tend to be idealistic about putting into practice what they learned in their training. One job of the field training officer is to temper idealism with reality. The highs and lows of personal efficacy delivery a visceral response to the body with each call for service. When you kick into high gear, the blood flows to your arms and legs and it flows away from your digestive track, and so it messes up with your digestion, your body’s not healing itself,” said Englert of high-intensity police work. “You’re not feeling rested. It really does potentially take years off a person’s life.”
Stress effects all aspects of how we feel. “Meditating, according to Dr. Woolery-Lloyd, initiates “the relaxation response,” which activates the body’s parasympathetic nervous system and decreases cortisol and inflammation.” This taken from a story written by Jessica Defino about the impact of stress on human skin in NY Times on 12/08/2020. The point being that the stress response is pervasive in human well-being and physical health including the integumentary system – our skin.
Dr. David Robert Englert, the staff psychologist for CMPD will begin helping recruits on the second day of the police academy. He said it’s about opening the door for tough conversations, so the officers will know it’s okay to ask for help anytime in their career.
“It unleashed a lot of emotion for me and sent me spiraling down a really, really dark place. Every day I relived that experience over and over again, and I became so reclusive and I just internalized everything,” he said of his emotional reaction.
“Why don’t we come up with a program in which we try to make people more resilient before bad things happen?” asked Dr. Englert. “Bad things are going to happen. When they do, the person, the individual, and their family will be more resilient, more able to recover quickly from that event.” said Alexa Liacko ABC News interview. It is in being vulnerable that we are able to stretch our emotional experience that brings forth growth and reduces stigma.