How do you navigate through a crisis? How do you cope with the trauma that you experience while serving in law enforcement? How can a loving spouse learn to help us when we are struggling with the horrors we’ve witnessed?
And how can we take these negative emotions and turn them into positive changes in our lives?
November marks the annual National Conference on Law Enforcement Wellness and Trauma, and it’s put on by Concerns of Police Survivors – the biggest group of surviving family members of fallen officers.
“C.O.P.S. recognizes that every law enforcement officer is subjected to crisis and tragedy as a part of their job. They see the most unthinkable acts of criminal behavior in our society. But are we doing a good job helping officers navigate these events over a course of a 20 to 30-year career?”
There are a number of reasons why every single officer, whether active or retired, needs to visit this incredible gathering.
This conference offers a much-needed focus on officer wellness and the need to pro-actively address the cumulative stresses that can occur over an officer’s career.
The weekend will cover the topics that members of law enforcement face in their every day lives – handling traumatic events, dealing with post traumatic stress, finding silver linings and putting what’s most important in perspective.
And the crew from C.O.P.S. has coordinated a heated lineup of speakers.
Let’s take a look at the stack of experts that will be offering their advice and personal experiences to attendees throughout the weekend.
Brent Richter retired from the Minnesota State Patrol in 2009 with just over 20 years of service. Over the course of his career, he served as a trooper, field training officer, crash reconstructionist and taught at the MSP Training Academy from 1990-2007. He’ll be taking the stage during the weekend to talk about how to heal after experiencing a traumatic event.
“Effective leaders care enough to prepare their people and their agencies before the worst happens. Responding with proven best practices during and immediately after the event is crucial to the healing process. “
John is the author of Armor Your Self, helping law enforcement professionals protect themselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. His book is also for law enforcement family members to learn how to help others at home understand what officers go through.
John was a police officer for twenty-three years and served as a Hostage Negotiator for nineteen of those years. He worked in both a sheriff’s office and a municipal police department. He has served as a patrol officer, media liaison officer, crime prevention officer and burglary detective.
“All emergency responders, our families and our survivors need simple, easy to implement, tactics to enhance resilience as well as strengthen and condition comprehensive wellness physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
This session, based on the 8 hour Armor Your Self workshop, is not a “sit and listen” class but rather a highly interactive session where each participant engages in small group discussions and develops their own personalized Tactical Resilience Action Plan to improve their lives, those of their family and peers, and also the health and resilience of their agency.”
Chief William Kushner
“When police officers speak of Officer Survival, the first thought is about tactics, marksmanship and first aid. We’ve come to realize, especially in light of the dramatic increase in LEO suicides worldwide, that officers need more than skills to survive armed encounters; they need to have a robust mental wellness mechanism available to them.”
Crawford Coates is the former publisher of Calibre Press. He has worked as a writer and editor working across public safety for more than a decade.
Dr. Stephanie Conn
“It’s not the overwhelming of life roles that harms cops, it’s the lack of them.”
Learn how the sole reliance on police identity diminishes resilience and what to do about it. Dr. Stephanie Conn is a psychologist and specializes in working with emergency crews at First Responder Psychology.
Brian Casey is the author of Good Cop, Good Cop: A Get Healthy, Stay Healthy Guide for Law Enforcement. He brings his expertise to the weekend to help members of the blue get healthy and stay healthy.
“Our good health, our happiness has a lot to do with how we think about things. In this talk, Sergeant Casey helps participants take charge of their thinking and develop greater emotional competence. Participants will gain a greater sense of purpose as well as clarity about the advantages of being a cop.”
Jessica’s class will provide an overview of some of the common challenges that may arise when raising children in a law enforcement home and ways to mitigate these challenges. Participants will also become familiar with how the current view of law enforcement in the 21st century has changed and how this change has affected children who reside in law enforcement homes.
Anyone that’s ever been in attendance of a C.O.P.S. event knows firsthand that it’s not just another expo or conference. It’s a massive display of knowledge, caring, dedication and love within the law enforcement community. Strangers on Day 1 become best friends by the end of the weekend. Tears will be shed, bonds will be formed, and lives will be forever changed.
We couldn’t be more serious when we say that everyone in the world of policing needs to be at this event.
The conference is November 8 – 10 in Chicago.
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