The Elkhart, Indiana Police Department's Psychological Enrichment Program ... One Department's Vision   


Vision and Process

Overview:There’s tremendous negative emotional fallout that often accompanies the job of law enforcement officers. Daily interaction with a broken world full of mad, bad, and sad people who lie, exploit others and display unimaginable cruelty toward their fellow man can take its toll … Internal frustrations from leadership, cynicism, the demands of constant vigilance, coping with critical incidents, the loss of spontaneity/ proactivity, physical and financial stress, shift work, bringing the job home, internal departmental pressures and lost holidays/ missed children’s events can exact a price on officers and their families. 


The last available statistics speak for themselves: In 2018, 52 officers died from felonious gunfire whereas 159 committed suicide… That’s 3X as many officers taking their own lives as dying from bad guys! It’s estimated that 15 percent of working police officers in the US are having undiagnosed symptoms of PTSD and law enforcement marriages fail at an alarming rate. Depression, sleep loss, the use of unhealthy coping mechanisms such as alcohol, prescription drugs and illicit sexual relationships are many times the result. in order to effectively address these challenges, it’s helpful to reexamine a couple of foundational assumptions we’ve been making in the profession. 

First, that officers struggling have a “mental illness”. Many of the calls that officers respond to are the biggest tragedy of someone else’s life … something that those individuals will have a difficult time recovering from. Yet these same calls are but another normal day in the life of a law enforcement officer… Their bread and butter. How can an officer constantly being exposed year after year to the tragedies that incapacitate others be considered mentally defective when it starts to bother them… especially when they get no training to equip them for the journey? They are but normal human beings inundated with abnormal situations. 

The second issue is the reactive nature of the profession. Dispatched to calls, held over for reports, called in for training, called out for specialty units, subpoenaed to court … The profession conditions officers to react rather than be proactive. Much of that reactionary nature is reflected in addressing the mental and spiritual health of officers. Leaders can display a tendency to wait till it’s broken before they attempt to fix it. They may wait till officers can no longer cope and then send them to mental health professionals after the fact. A big part of the solution lies in developing proactive organizational practices that help equip officers and their spouses with effective tools before issues develop and then diligently working with them to mitigate the impact of critical incidents as they occur!

Last, due to the nature of the job most agencies place the majority of their psychological wellness focus on mental health professionals, failing to remember that most officers do not trust those on the outside with whom they have no relationship … especially those who have the power to label them as mentally defective. Many are concerned the word will get out, or that the Chief will be told. 

Trust is an absolute prerequisite to effectively supporting officers. We best help them mitigate the impact of the job by giving those they trust the tools to help them … spouses/ significant others, well connected chaplains and specially trained peer support officers! THIS work combined with Employee Assistance Programs will make all the difference!!!  

Utilizing a chaplain led proactive Psychological Enrichment Program, agencies can make a tremendous difference in offsetting the negative forces mentioned above. Employing key elements such as engaging/ training new officers and their spouses/ significant others (SO) at the beginning of their careers, working to equip veteran spouses/SO as they support their LE loved one throughout their career, providing an engaged peer and chaplain support network to assist officers during critical incidents, and assisting officers as they make the difficult transition from active duty to retirement can yield tremendous results.


1.  https://www.odmp.org/search/year/2018
2.  https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/for-third-straight-year-police-suicides-outnumber-line-of-duty-deaths_us_5c2d110de4b05c88b70542fa
3.  https://cops.usdoj.gov/html/dispatch/05-2018/PTSD.html

4.  https://www.lawenforcementtoday.com/low-police-pay-problems-and-solutions/


New Hire Training

Educating new officers as to the threats that will seek to challenge their psychological  well-being throughout their career as well as teaching time tested mitigation techniques is our goal. This will be done through a regularly scheduled 8 hour training day with the Chaplain’s Committee taking place after academy graduation and prior to the FTO portion of their training. Subjects covered include:

1. Class lecture (PowerPoint): An overview of the EPD Chaplaincy Program.  What do chaplains do… Making death notifications, supporting officers and their  families through critical incidents, provide CISD, conduct weddings, funerals, hospital  visits, conduct training in stress mitigation, ethics, family life, offer prayers at special  occasions, act as a liaison with other members of the community and introduction to the EPD Emotional Enrichment Program. THE big secret to emotional wellness = operate within your sphere of authority.


2. Class lecture (PowerPoint):The American Way of Life and The Law Enforcement Mission. We address the vision animating this country, and the uniqueness of the hour we find ourselves in. The role of self-governance in the American experiment as well as the high calling of law enforcement to address those who refuse to govern themselves. The significance of civil authority in addressing the breakdown of other realms of    authority… the family, business and religious institutions.


3.  Class lecture (PowerPoint), Ethics: Temptations to Compromise your  Integrity and Making Ethical Decisions.  Integrity, the non-negotiable of law enforcement. Where does it come from? Morals, ethics, character and reputation. The value of an upright reputation in community policing. How the criminal justice system rests on the credibility of your work as a cop. Temptations coming your way… honesty issues, cutting corners, illicit sexual relationships, and failure to live under the standard you enforce. Principles for making ethical moral decisions. The community has hope when you have character.   


4.  Class lecture (PowerPoint): Addressing the Unique Psychological  Challenges posed by the Profession:


    A. Frustrations with Leadership 
 
      Officers fully expect the public to be negative. What eats their lives is their  greatest detractors, at times, lie as leaders internally, using heavy    

        handed disciplinary tactics to maintain control. This can especially take place with the changing of the guard after election cycles in city    

        police work.  However, even bad leaders CAN teach you lessons that good leaders won’t … What not to do, help you learn lessons on  

        incremental leadership  development, provide opportunity for character development, help establish your credibility, teach you servant

        leadership skills and expand your sphere of influence… IF you choose for that to be the outcome!

    B. Cynicism
       
Cynicism defined is, ”An attitude of scornful or jaded negativity, especially a  general distrust of the integrity or professed motives of others.”  

        Daily  interaction with mad, sad and bad people who have a tendency to lie or withhold vital information can take its toll on an officer. It can    

        lead to a  general distrust of everyone you interact with outside of law enforcement. We’ll identify strategies to help mitigate the impact of  

        cynicism on an officer’s life.

    C. Hypervigilance
       
 Officer survival demands that they view each call from a threat based  perspective… That is seeing each call as potentially hazardous until 
         proven otherwise. What’s not often understood, is how this causes their bodies to operate in a heightened state of awareness that takes it’s    

         toll  adrenally. Officers often experience the downside of this adrenal cycle at home becoming psychologically exhausted, withdrawn,  

         burnout or depressed. This can have a detrimental impact on family life. Effective countermeasures are shared to offset this negative  

         phenomena. 

    D. The Reactive Nature of the Profession
         
Dispatched to calls, held over for reports, called in for training, called out for specialty units, subpoenaed to court… Officers are conditioned to    

         be reactive while on duty. Unfortunately, this can make being proactive at home difficult lead to home tensions as spouses and significant 

         others tire from holding down the fort.

     E. Stress and Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms
       
 Making split second decisions that will be scrutinized by others for days, living life with a body and car camera constantly on, second

         guessing your actions because of technicalities in the law process, being ridiculed by arm  chair quarterbacks, being the subject of an Internal

         Affairs Investigation, adrenaline fueled pursuits … the list goes on and on. A steady diet of stress comes with the job. Alcohol can be the

         coping mechanism of choice, quickly getting out of hand to and causing long term problems.

     F. Family Issues … Control, Debt, “Suspects,”Security.
       
 Officers are taught they must always take control at the  academy… for some reason it doesn’t seem to work on their spouse or significant

         other. Officers are good at reading people until that moment they sense their teenage son or daughter lying and go into cop mode and 
         damage their relationship with him/her. Working extra security jobs, officers can build a lifestyle around that extra income … As their family    

         gets bigger making ends meet may require them to work multiple jobs and seldom be  home.   The  job can adversely impact home life if an

         officer is not careful. Understanding what to to do with each of these challenges can make all the difference.

    G. Fallout from Critical Incidents
       
The tragic death of a young child who bore a striking resemblance to your  son of the same age, the suicide of the individual who took their    

         life right in front of you as you were making a welfare check, brutal beatings of the elderly, mass casualty scenes, dismembered bodies,

         sexually abused kids, people committing unimaginable cruelty toward each other and doing all you can to preserve life only to have an

         individual die in your arms… It all can take a toll on officers. Students will learn ways to mitigate the impact of critical incidents as well as

         support coworkers going through them.   

    H. Fatigue
         
Working several jobs, failure to get adequate sleep, serving on a shift at  odds with the body’s natural circadian rhythm, fatigue is a real factor

         in an officer’s psychological wellness. Fatigued officers have a greater difficulty maintaining a positive outlook as well as keeping from making    

         mistakes and reacting to the other stressors that daily confront them. This session will share what the research states about sleep

         depravation as well as proven methods of counteracting fatigue.

      I. Social Media/News/ Political Climate
       
 The advent of social media granting instant opportunity for public scrutiny through FaceBook live and other outlets has brought a new

         dimension of tensions to the profession. So has the 15 second video snippet involving carefully edited video clips with, at times, false

         narratives. Add to that hostile news outlets, media scrutiny of officer’s actions, allegations of racism and the responsibility to keep the peace

         between politically charged parties debating their vision for America. It can all add up to additional stress. 

Implementation by Chaplain’s Committee


1. Working with EPD’s Training Division, schedule a “Chaplain’s Day” with each new officer returning from the Indiana LE Academy or those transferring from other departments.
 
2. As a part of the Chaplain’s Day, schedule 2 or 3 - 30 minute mentoring sessions involving veteran officers with varied time on the department. “Mentors” will be officers who have a heart for the program, live lives worthy of emulation, have a good attitude and a willingness to share principles that will bring success. When working with veteran officers transferring from other agencies, care must be taken to secure mentors with more experience that can provide advice that will be relevant to those they’re meeting with.

3. As a part of the Chaplain’s Day, schedule a 60 minute session with a financial planner to discuss financial best practices… budgeting, living within your means, investments, etc. Financial discussions will be relevant to job experience.

4. As a part of Chaplain’s Day, schedule (supply with Chaplain Funds) a luncheon with new officers. Invite Command Staff and Chaplain’s Committee members with the goal of introduction and making the new officers feel welcomed into the EPD family.

5.  Establish a schedule for the 8 hr. day and distribute to those involved.  


6.  Go through course materials and present as warranted by officer experience.  Provide relevant handouts. *When possible, bring in officers to supplement course material by sharing  their experience and lessons learned through it.

7.  Conduct post - training evaluations to determine effectiveness of training. Strive for continual improvement.


Needs from the Department


1. A regularly scheduled 8 hour Chaplain’s Day with new officers returning from the Academy and for those those transferring from other departments.

2. Use of the Conference or Training Room for the day.

3. 2 - 3 Officers to share in a mentor capacity for 1/2 hour.

4. Audio visual projector.
 
Spouse Academies  


 One of the greatest allies in the battle to maintain emotional wholeness is that of an enlightened spouse, significant other (SO), or close family member. A well thought out emotional survival program employing a spousal education component at the beginning of a relationship or career can do much to facilitate understanding and open the lines of communication. Training in this area, along with the New Hire education their loved one receives, will enable couples to present a united front against the negative job related forces that threaten their relationship and emotional well-being. Couples who employ the proven countermeasures shared in the Academy can learn to not only survive but thrive! 


The New Spouse Academyis designed to run 3 consecutive weeks, 2 1/2 hours per weekly session. Instruction includes input from chaplains as well as veteran officers and spouses whose experience validates the concerns expressed. Together they work to meet the following objectives:


1. Provide an environment for spouses to get to know each other and begin to appreciate the common identity they have in their role as LE spouses.


2. Familiarize new spouses with the work environment at the police department by helping them understand the command structure, how officers prepare for duty, various people frustrations that are experienced, the law process and the large amount of paperwork required by the job.


3. Familiarize new spouses with the communications center and help them better understand the officer safety measures built into the system.


4. Provide new spouses with a better understanding of the unique challenges that come with the job to include the down side of the hyper vigilant cycle, the dangers of cynicism, the challenges associated with shift work, the pitfalls of building a lifestyle around additional security jobs, coping with trauma, and the frustrations of working in a political environment.


5. Equip the new spouse to become an ally in the fight against LE job stresses by providing them with strategies to help their loved one overcome the negative stresses discussed as well as lessen the impact they'll have upon their family.


6. Encourage spouses to actively support each other through spousal support group and/or in a mentoring relationship.


7. Provide the new spouse with a better understanding of the differences between the sexes when it comes to communication and conflict. Supply them with tools to work through these differences as well as strategies toward maintaining marital intimacy and preventing infidelity. 


8. Make spouses aware of resources that will help and encourage them.


New Spouse Academy - Session 1 Activities: 


1. Introduction                                                                                                              
   
Introduce spouses and staff …provide an opportunity for them to get to know each other. 

2. Class Lecture (PowerPoint): An Overview of the Chaplaincy Program
   
Share the various role that chaplains play at the department as well as address misconceptions that may exist.

3. Class Lecture (PowerPoint): EPD Departmental History 
   
Provide an introduction to the Command Structure as well as a familiarization with the chain of command process. 

4. Class Lecture (PowerPoint): Understanding the Criminal Justice System
   
Help spouses better understand the law process and how the various units within the police department work together. Explain the   

    department's role at large within the judicial process.

5. Officer Led Station Tour
   
Visually familiarize spouses with the environment their loved one will be working in. Provide spouses with an officer led station tour providing

    insight into what happens at various locations ... Locker room preparation, report room and reports/ felony paperwork, detention, I/A , and squad

    and safety issues. along with the some of the associated frustrations and challenges. 

6. Emergency Communications Center Visit
   
Visit the Emergency Communications (911) Center .dispatch. Explain the various functions of the 911 center and the role it plays in officer safety.

7. Answer questions arising from the session. 

New Spouse Academy - Session 2 Activities

Class lecture (PowerPoint): Addressing the Unique Psychological Challenges posed by the Profession:

  A. Frustrations with Leadership 
     
 Officers fully expect the public to be negative. What eats their lives is their  greatest detractors, at times, lie as leaders internally, using heavy    
      handed disciplinary tactics to maintain control. This can especially take place with the changing of the guard after election cycles in city     

      police work.  However, even bad leaders CAN teach you lessons that good leaders won’t … What not to do, help you learn lessons on   
      incremental leadership  development, provide opportunity for character development, help establish your credibility, teach you servant 
      leadership skills and expand your sphere of influence… IF you choose for that to be the outcome!

  B. Cynicism
     
Cynicism defined is, ”An attitude of scornful or jaded negativity, especially a  general distrust of the integrity or professed motives of others.”   
      Daily  interaction with mad, sad and bad people who have a tendency to lie or withhold vital information can take its toll on an officer. It can    
      lead to a  general distrust of everyone you interact with outside of law enforcement. We’ll identify strategies to help mitigate the impact of   
      cynicism on an officer’s life.

  C. Hypervigilance
     
Officer survival demands that they view each call from a threat based  perspective… That is seeing each call as potentially hazardous until 
      proven otherwise. What’s not often understood, is how this causes their bodies to operate in a heightened state of awareness that takes it’s    
      toll  adrenally. Officers often experience the downside of this adrenal cycle at home becoming psychologically exhausted, withdrawn,         

      burnout or depressed. This can have a detrimental impact on family life. Effective countermeasures are shared to offset this negative   
      phenomena. 


 D. The Reactive Nature of the Profession
   
  Dispatched to calls, held over for reports, called in for training, called out for specialty units, subpoenaed to court… Officers are conditioned to    
      be reactive while on duty. Unfortunately, this can make being proactive at home difficult lead to home tensions as spouses and significant 
      others tire from holding down the fort.


  E. Stress and Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms
     
Making split second decisions that will be scrutinized by others for days, living life with a body and car camera constantly on, second 
      guessing your actions because of technicalities in the law process, being ridiculed by arm  chair quarterbacks, being the subject of an Internal 
      Affairs Investigation, adrenaline fueled pursuits … the list goes on and on. A steady diet of stress comes with the job. Alcohol can be the 
      coping mechanism of choice, quickly getting out of hand to and causing long term problems.

  F. Family Issues … Control, Debt, “Suspects,”Security.
     
Officers are taught they must always take control at the  academy… for some reason it doesn’t seem to work on their spouse or significant 
      other. Officers are good at reading people until that moment they sense their teenage son or daughter lying and go into cop mode and 
      damage their relationship with him/her. Working extra security jobs, officers can build a lifestyle around that extra income … As their family    
      gets bigger making ends meet may require them to work multiple jobs and seldom be  home.   The  job can adversely impact home life if an 
      officer is not careful. Understanding what to to do with each of these challenges can make all the difference.


 G. Fallout from Critical Incidents
   
 The tragic death of a young child who bore a striking resemblance to your  son of the same age, the suicide of the individual who took their    
      life right in front of you as you were making a welfare check, brutal beatings of the elderly, mass casualty scenes, dismembered bodies, 
      sexually abused kids, people committing unimaginable cruelty toward each other and doing all you can to preserve life only to have an 
      individual die in your arms… It all can take a toll on officers. Students will learn ways to mitigate the impact of critical incidents as well as 
      support coworkers going through them
.   

 H. Fatigue
     
Working several jobs, failure to get adequate sleep, serving on a shift at  odds with the body’s natural circadian rhythm, fatigue is a real factor 
     in an officer’s psychological wellness. Fatigued officers have a greater difficulty maintaining a positive outlook as well as keeping from making    
     mistakes and reacting to the other stressors that daily confront them. This session will share what the research states about sleep depravation 

     as well as proven methods of counteracting fatigue.

  I. Social Media/News/ Political Climate
   
The advent of social media granting instant opportunity for public scrutiny through FaceBook live and other outlets has brought a new 
    dimension of tensions to the profession. So has the 15 second video snippet involving carefully edited video clips with, at times, false 
    narratives. Add to that hostile news outlets, media scrutiny of officer’s actions, allegations of racism and the responsibility to keep the peace 
    between politically charged parties debating their vision for America. It can all add up to additional stress. 


New Spouse Academy - Session 3 Activities 

A. Class lecture (PowerPoint) on the differences in men and women regarding their primary needs.                                                                                                                      

     In a general sense, there is a difference between men and women and their primary needs in relationship and the way they process conflict/

     interpret information. Understanding these differences can lead to a more fulfilling relationship as well as a healthy appreciation of how a  

     partner’s strengths can compliment yours. 

2. Class lecture (PowerPoint): Communication and conflict Resolution Skills
   
How do we communicate? Contrast unhealthy communication practices with effective ones. How to work thru conflict and have a productive

    disagreement. When possible, bring in officers and/or spouses that will share personal experiences regarding discussed subject matter as well

    as solutions they found to work.                          


3. Class lecture (PowerPoint/ multimedia): Gender Differences and Whole Relationships

Additional Training
Conduct a yearly Couples Retreat and provide family strengthening resources. Bring in outside speakers to provide tools for spouses. Provide couple strengthening resources at the yearly Breaching the Barricade Conference.


Implementation by Chaplain’s Committee


1. Appoint a chaplain (female chaplain with female spouses/ SO, male with male spouses/ SO) to try and connect/ support spouses/significant others while their loved one is at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy.  

2. Maintain a contact information database for as many LE Spouse/ SO as are willing to participate. Keep updated to maintain an open line of communications. Conduct a yearly couples overnight retreat (Friday evening/ 8 hrs. Saturday) that deals with relevant LE topics impacting law enforcement families.

3. Conduct a New Hire Spouse Academy every other year. This academy will be 3 - 4 weeks in duration… @ 2 1/2 hours per session per week (3 hours including meal) covering the above listed topics.

4. Offer meals for each session/ child care should the majority of participants desire/ need them. Work to build relationships with the Chaplain’s Committee.  

5. Provide relevant handouts as well as a listing of resources to strengthen LE families.

6. Conduct post - training evaluations to determine effectiveness of training, identify desired topics to address in the future. Strive for continual improvement.

7. On alternating years from Spouse Academy schedule, provide training / speakers to support/ encourage veteran LE spouses. Topics will address the unique challenges experienced at various stages of their loved one’s LE career. 


Needs from the Department


1. Training Room once per week (2 1/2 hours) x 3 - 4 weeks depending on the length of training.

2. Officer led tour of the station.

3. Audio visual projector.
 
Peer Support


We all know the glamor of the profession wears off after a couple of years. Liars,  constant excuses, those doing the most heinous of acts toward each other make it understandable why  officers can become cynical. Not knowing when THAT call will be the one requires hypervigilance. Gory scenes, suicides, homicides, the severe abuse of children/ the elderly and acts that defy any rationale take its toll … It can all close in  and become one big hopeless, meaningless, felony. Longing to escape to a safe place called home, it begins there, “You’re so negative all the time,” “You care about your cop friends more than us.” The castle starts crumbling and it seems like there’s no where to turn… It doesn’t happen all at once … it’s layer by layer, critical incident after critical incident… It’s then that the job can be deadly! There’s much that we can do as an agency to ensure that it never gets to this point. Utilizing a combination of trained chaplains and officers, we can employ measures to mitigate the negative emotional impact of the job! These include:


1. Conduct monthly 10 - 15 minute shift trainings that address a number of subjects to include: Overcoming cynicism, mitigating the impact of hyper vigilance, officer suicide warning signs,  productively addressing frustrations with leadership, turning the job off and fully going home, strategies for a healthy home life, etc.


2. Identify critical incident criterion and utilize Critical Incident Stress Debriefing protocols as critical incidents happen. Assist family members of officers involved as needed.


3. Help develop a Police Officer Support Team (P.O.S.T.) consisting of department officers and chaplains that have been trained to support officers involved in critical incidents and officer involved shootings.

4. Help develop and maintain best practices reflected in departmental SOPs involving Critical Incidents, Officer Involved Shooting and Line of Duty Deaths. 5. Establish protocols that direct Chaplains to make all death notifications.


6. Maintain an active On Duty Chaplain On Call List ensuring a chaplain is available to respond 365 days a year to any critical incident, death notification or scene where chaplains can help calm people who are highly emoted.  Distribute current On Call List to chaplains, Radio, the Sergeant’s office, and bulletin boards outside of CID and the front desk.


7. Chaplains will keep their ‘ear to the tracks’ to help assist/ encourage/ provide advice to officers and their families undergoing the challenges of law enforcement and family life as they develop. Chaplains will refer officers on all issues that they’re not trained or able to help with. 


8. Chaplains will seek out training that will increase their effectiveness in serving the department.


9. Program effectiveness will be evaluated yearly and it will maintain practices that will best serve the department.


Implementation by Chaplain’s Committee


1. Coordinating with Division Captains, schedule one monthly 10 - 15 minute training addressing relevant law enforcement related emotional wellness issues. Make sure trainings in the Patrol Division take place on a Tuesday/Thursday schedule to accommodate off duty officers. All training will be done by chaplains holding a valid LETB Instructor Certification and conducted according to departmental training standards.

2.   Develop and complete a training packet on subject matter and submit to the training Lieutenant for approval and course number. Establish a training roster for all training attendees to sign at completion of training.

3.   As per department SOP involving an Officer Involved Shooting, Critical Incidents, Line of Duty Death or P.O.S.T. Team (help develop each as needed), work to ensure  chaplains trained in Critical Incident Stress Management are available to help conduct defusings as needed immediately after critical incidents, and debriefings within 48 - 72 hours afterward. Maintain followup care with those participating as needed and facilitate connections with New Avenues or other mental health professionals as requested or desired.

4.   Ensure that there is an On Call Chaplain available to assist officers with death notifications, critical incidents and calls helping to calm highly emoted or grieving individuals.

5.   Chaplains will ‘keep their ear to the tracks’ concerning challenges confronting officers and their families and seek to help encourage them as well as provide the necessary resources to assist.  

6.   Chaplains will offer Grief Booklets to departmental families suffering the loss of immediate family members. If desired, they will be sent according to the recommended schedule.

7.   Chaplains will attend training opportunities as presented by the department that will increase their effectiveness (Sr. Chaplain will help with input).  

8.   Chaplain’s Committee members will assist as needed.

9.   Sr. Chaplain will sit down with leadership and shift brass yearly to evaluate Chaplain’s Program effectiveness and address/ correct areas needed to maintain Program effectiveness.


Needs from the Department


1.   To be kept abreast of critical incidents that we may help mitigate their impact as needed.

2.    Schedule and require officers involved in critical incidents to attend mandatory Critical Incident Stress Debriefings (although required to attend, officers may elect not to participate). Depending on the incident, individual debriefing may be utilized in leu of group.

3.    Help in developing Critical Incident, Line of Duty Death and P.O.S.T. Team SOPs.

4.    Help us select/ equip P.O.S.T Team members.

5.    Work with us to facilitate shift trainings once a month.

6.    Review training materials and approve per Training Guidelines for training  conducted by LETB certified Chaplain Trainers.

7.    Send chaplains/ officers to needed training to maintain their effectiveness inabove identified areas.
   
Retirement 


The pre-retirement years especially are a critical time in an officer’s career. According to the 2016 Badge of Life Law Enforcement Suicide Study, the average age of officer suicide is between 40 – 44 … crucial years toward the end of an officer’s career! Peer support during this critical timeframe is extremely important but equally important is a focused effort on assisting those heading into retirement as well as allowing them to remain a part of the EPD Family.  A number of ways we work to reach out include:


1. Determine when those eligible for retirement actually plan on retiring and establishing a conversation about the subject a couple of years or so before they actually do. Offer resume writing services as well as help with possible job opportunities. Let them know that they are cared for and that we are here to serve them in any way possible. Provide them with a list of the services we offer.


2. Assist officers as they make the difficult emotional adjustment to retirement. This is an extremely challenging time, especially for type A personalities who place a large part (if not all) of their identity in being law enforcement officers. Turning in their station keys, their gear, cleaning out their lockers ... it can be an emotional rollercoaster. During this crucial period, care can be taken to reinforce the other roles that are just as significant. The goal is to be a sounding board/ helping them to see their lives in a larger context and in doing so, help them to process the transition in a healthy way.


3. Offer financial counseling and budgeting tips/ assistance to those desiring it. Courses such as the Financial Peace University (Gov’t Addition) and others cover living within a fixed income, budgeting, debt reduction, etc.


4. Develop a comprehensive Master Retirement Checklist that provides a roadmap/ time deadlines for the transition to retirement, as well as what documents need to be filed and when? Example: PERF must be filed 90 days before their first check arrives.  
 

5. Maintain a Hall Retiree Board with photos and dates of service for all living EPD officers that have served the department and have retired. Showcase a different officer and what they are doing post LE career on a regular basis as well as post other relevant information.


6. Maintain a retiree showcase in the front lobby. Just prior to retirement, highlight those retiring and honor their service by posting a photo(s) and a narrative acknowledging length of service and their many contributions to the PD and the community. 


7. Maintain a display in the lobby honoring Retirees who have died. Post a photo and their obituary as their deaths occur.


8. Working with Administration and the FOP, maintain a standardized way of honoring those retiring by providing a party at the station along with recognition of their many contributions. Honor their family and the many sacrifices they made in support of the officer.


9. Provide post retirement support. Attend annual Retiree’s Banquet and Retiree Breakfasts when possible. Establish a closed FaceBook page or email distribution list that disseminates info such as sickness, hospitalization, major developments in the department/ active officer’s lives that can be shared, etc.


10.If feasible, involve retirees as volunteers to serve in Chaplaincy Committee functions / helping with the various projects that we’re working on for our Emotional Wellness.      


11. Department issued Retiree passes shall be available with Safety Officers. Retirees are welcome to visit the station at any time.    


Implementation by Chaplain’s Committee    


1.  Working with administration, identify those planning on retiring in the next year or two and contact them to make them aware of the services provided by the Chaplaincy Committee.
   

2.  Conduct an exit interview of each officer retiring with the goal of creating a narrative for the Retire Board in the lobby. Seek also to glean recommendations on how the Chaplain’s Committee might better serve officers as well as any emotional survival skills they may have learned during their career and in family  life.
   

3.  Keep Retiree Board in the lobby updated with a posting of officers 2 - 3 weeks  before they retire. Include a photo(s), dates of service and a narrative reflecting  their service.

4.  Keep Hall Retiree Board updated with all living retirees. Strive to locate all retirees  and to secure a picture of them as well as their dates of service. Feature a retiree update narrative sharing what individuals are doing now and post a new one on a regular basis.
   

5.  Post photo and obituary of retirees that pass away in the Lobby display case.
   

6.  Attend annual Retiree Banquet and monthly Retiree Breakfasts when possible.
   

7.  Recruit retirees to serve on the Chaplain’s Committee.
   

8.  Explore ways to open lines of communication with retirees. Possibly establish a  closed FaceBook Page or email distribution network to keep retirees abreast of  major sicknesses and developments at the department.             


9.  Working with the appropriate authorities, help develop a master checklist covering all relevant steps needing to be taken by those considering retirement as well as the timeframe involving each step.


Needs from the Department
  

1.  Help in identifying those desiring to retiree in each new year.
  

2.  Supply Retiree Visitor Passes to retirees visiting the station.
  

3.  Help with developing a Master Retiree Checklist that covers all needed considerations and their time frame for those considering retirement.
 

4.  When needed, help with securing the needed department photos and dates of service.  


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