News about Naloxone
The opioid epidemic is growing in rural and urban communities across the country. Law enforcement and other first responders are working to meet the challenge by using a number of tools. Chief among them is Naloxone, a life-saving compound that can reverse the effects of overdoses. The Bureau of Justice Assistance has developed the Law Enforcement Naloxone Toolkit. Find it here. See the April, 2017 issue of TechBeat for more information on the use of the toolkit and other community-based responses to drug overdoses.
Check the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) System Assessment and Validation for Emergency Responders (SAVER) Program for information on emergency response equipment. The SAVER Program can help when making procurement decisions.
The Bureau of Justice Assistance’s (BJA’s) VALOR for Blue web portal provides resources, online training, podcasts, links, and downloadable posters and documents for law enforcement. Topics include officer safety, wellness and resiliency. Find the VALOR poster on PTSD in a downloadable pdf format here: https://www.valorforblue.org/Documents/PTSDposter_2016_8.5x11size.pdf.
Law enforcement officers, due at least in part to the many stress factors they face on a constant basis, are at a heightened risk for suicide. Coping with daily exposure to violence, rotating shifts that keep them away from their families and exposure to other traumatic events takes a toll on officers’ mental health. A 2015 study by the Badge of Life found that 51 law enforcement officers died by suicide in the final six months of 2015, which represents a decrease from the rate in a similar study conducted in 2012, but is still an unacceptable level of death. The number of officers who die by suicide far exceeds the number who died as a result of firearms-related incidents (42) and the rate is 1.5 times that of the general population (http://www.officer.com/article/12156622/2015-police-suicide-statistics?utm_source=Officer.com+Newsday+E-Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=CPS160109005)
Law enforcement leaders looking to proactively intervene and possibly prevent further officer suicides may find the following resources useful. Please check back often for updates.
1stHelp.net, http://www.1sthelp.net/, is a free, confidential searchable database dedicated to finding emotional, financial and spiritual assistance for first responders. 1stHelp also partners with 1Alliance.org to collect data on suicides and traumatic-stress events, with a goal of providing statistics that will save lives and change legislation.
Badgeoflife.com offers police suicide prevention programs and police officer suicide prevention education. It debunks common misperceptions related to officer suicide and includes links to resources, including resources for survivors. http://www.badgeoflife.com/
Breaking the Silence of Police Suicide, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyVQMH-Pfws, produced by the widow of a fallen police officer, is a personal video of her husband's story to spread the word about officer suicide.
The Code 9 Project is dedicated to educating and raising awareness about post-traumatic stress disorder among law enforcement officers, other first responders and their families. The organization provides education, support and self-help tools. http://www.code9project.org/
Copline (http://www.copline.org/) is a national non-profit organization staffed entirely by retired police officers that provides confidential mental health support to law enforcement officers, including college and university police, and their families for free. Officers struggling with trauma, depression, or other forms of stress may call 1-800-267-5463 at any time, as the hotline is operational 24/7. "Cops are far more likely to speak to other officers who they believe have a basis for understanding the realities of a career in law enforcement," said Jay Nagdimon, a police psychologist for the Los Angeles Police Department. Retired law enforcement officers are trained in active listening and bring the knowledge and understanding of the many psychosocial stressors that officers go through both on and off the job. Copline maintains strict confidentiality and provides crisis intervention support and referrals to mental health services as needed.
InPublicSafety has a section focusing on preventing police officer suicide. http://inpublicsafety.com/2014/03/silent-suffering-warning-signs-and-steps-to-prevent-police-suicide/
Founded by the widow of an FBI agent who took his own life, In Harm’s Way: Law Enforcement Suicide Prevention offers a toolkit and other resources to help agencies present suicide prevention training. http://policesuicide.spcollege.edu/aboutUsIHW.htm
The International Association of Chiefs of Police offers information on Preventing Law Enforcement Officer Suicide through its Center for Officer Safety and Wellness. The website includes Blue, a documentary on how the Philadelphia Police Department has addressed the issue, a symposium report from Breaking the Silence: A National Symposium on Law Enforcement Officer Suicide and Mental Health co-hosted by the U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office in January 2013 and links to suicide prevention resources. http://dnn9ciwm8.azurewebsites.net/Preventing-law-Enforcement-officer-suicide
The Office of Community Police Services (COPS Office; http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/) has published several articles related to officer suicide in its Community Policing Dispatch e-newsletter, including “Preventing Law Enforcement Office Suicide” in June 2014 (http://cops.usdoj.gov/html/dispatch/06-2014/preventing_officer_suicide.asp) and “Our Goal Should Be No Officers Lost to Suicide” in November 2014 (http://cops.usdoj.gov/html/dispatch/11-2014/no_officers_lost_to_suicide.asp)
The Office of Justice Programs, along with the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office sponsored an Officer Safety and Wellness Police Suicide Webcast on Oct. 10, 2012.
PoliceOne.com offers “Why Suicide Is Still an Issue Even During Retirement,” a video presentation featuring law enforcement expert Mark St. Hilaire. View it at http://www.policeone.com/videos/originals/training/45983519-Why-suicide-is-still-an-issue-during-retirement
Preparing for the Unimaginable: How chiefs can safeguard officer mental health before and after mass casualty events (PDF). The guide, released by the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services and the National Alliance on Mental Health, is a direct result of the Sandy Hook December 2012 tragedy when Newtown Chief Michael Kehoe identified the urgent need for a lessons learned document that could address two key issues for police chiefs: 1) what to do now, before a tragedy occurs, to prepare for an event like Sandy Hook, and 2) what to do and what to expect after a mass casualty incident in your community. The guide also includes a section containing handouts and other resources such as stories from the field on overcoming PTSD, the impact on law enforcement spouses, and trauma contamination to other officers; medical literature; media resources; and links to helpful organizations.
Preventing Law Enforcement Officer Suicide: A Compilation of Resources and Best Practices, is a collection of materials from agencies around the country compiled on an interactive CD-ROM. Contents include print materials, presentations, training videos and reference publications. Materials were compiled and vetted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Police Psychological Services Section, and the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance funded the design and production of the CD-ROM. Order from https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/shoppingcart/ShopCart.aspx?item=NCJ%20224436&repro=0
Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care offers the Cop 2 Cop hotline, staffed by law enforcement clinicians, peer counselors and peer supporters 24/7. http://ubhc.rutgers.edu/cop2cop/services.htm
Safe Call Now is a confidential, comprehensive, 24-hour crisis referral service for all public safety employees, all emergency services personnel and their family members nationwide. https://www.safecallnow.org/
Serve and Protect offers 24/7 access to a crisis line, a network of trauma therapists and a network of chaplains. Resources are available for both law enforcement officers and their families. http://serveprotect.org/
The Signs Within: Suicide Prevention Education and Awareness
Suicide.org has a special section targeting police officer suicide prevention. http://www.suicide.org/police-suicide-prevention-and-awareness.html
TearsOfACop.com includes resources, articles and personal stories focusing on treating post-traumatic stress disorder and preventing suicide. Its founder lost her brother, a Philadelphia police officer, to suicide.