It’s not a big secret around here that we think pretty highly of law enforcement. It’s hard not to have the utmost respect for people who risk their lives to protect yours.
So today, I am so honored to talk about a blog that is all about taking care of the LEOs who take care of us. As one editor puts it, it’s about helping cops “survive the job” …
Today’s Top LEO Blog Finalist is…. (drum roll please)
Before I spent a lot of time on CopsAlive, I thought I knew the risks that LEOs faced. In my head, they all basically revolved around criminals. But LEOs face so many dangers that weren’t even on my radar.
Luckily, they were on CopsAlive’s radar. The site takes the time to discuss:
- Sleep deprivation
- Healthy eating on the job
- … and so, so much more.
The site is such a great resource for LEOs and their families. We wanted to make sure our network of LEOs knew about all of the relatable, reliable information on CopsAlive and about the great conversations the site encourages.
Of course, we also wanted to know about the hero in blue behind the blog. So here’s our interview with a CopsAlive editor, a retired 23-year police veteran who now edits CopsAlive.com and provides training to police officers and their agencies.
What is CopsAlive?
CopsAlive.com was created to gather ideas, tips, suggestions and best practices from cops to help other cops survive their career. Many people who serve, and who have served, in law enforcement bear the scars of the cumulative stresses that accompany the career. The Law Enforcement Survival Institute (LESI) and CopsAlive.com work tirelessly to assemble strategies, tactics and best practices to help anyone working in this profession successfully survive their career. LESI and CopsAlive.com work with agencies and families to create environments that support healthy, happy and effective law enforcement professionals both on the job and at home.
What would you say is the mission of the blog?
Our mission of “Saving the Lives of the People Who Save Lives” extends from our Armor Your Self™ training seminar to the Information, strategies and tools available on our website to help cops plan for happy, healthy and successful careers, relationships and lives.
How did it all get started?
When I retired from law enforcement, I was really burned out and didn’t want anything to do with cops or the negativity of law enforcement. Then five years ago a friend of mine, who had quit police work to pursue a family business, killed himself. He was only 38-years-old and I thought “what a waste”, he and everyone else in law enforcement deserve better. So I started looking at all the statistics on law enforcement suicide and all the other issues that take their toll on cops. This career is toxic, and we as a profession need to do something about that. For my part, I produce a blog at www.CopsAlive.com and invite other people to contribute information that will help cops and anyone in law enforcement survive the job.
That’s incredible. How long ago did you start it?
CopsAlive.com was launched on Law Day, May 1, 2008 which is now just over four years.
What’s your favorite thing to write about?
I love hearing the stories about all the heroic things people in law enforcement do every day.
I hate hearing about the cops who have risked their lives and been injured or traumatized doing their job and now they are suffering and their departments don’t know what to do with them so they just throw them away. This needs to stop. We say that we “always take care of our own,” so we had better walk our talk. If we say that “no one gets left behind” then we had better create systems to help prevent injuries and trauma and also have systems in place to support those who are injured or are suffering from the traumas of this job.
How would you dsecribe the community that has formed around CopsAlive?
My blog’s community is very diverse, made up of people connected to law enforcement from around the world. They are cops, family members, criminal justice students, and cadets in the academy. They are police officers, sheriff’s deputies, parole officers, corrections officers, detectives, probation officers, dispatchers, CSI’s, K-9, SWAT, Traffic cops and others from just about every facet of this job. There are also survivors, parents, vendors and people in support roles. They are people from within the law enforcement, security, military and intelligence fields, and most of all they are people who care about helping one another. Just like everyone else in the world, they do stupid things that make me laugh, but they also inspire me with the many great things they do, many times at great sacrifice to themselves and their families.
What has been your best experience as a blogger?
Based upon the comments, emails and phone calls that I receive, I really believe that I am making a difference. I know that I have saved a couple of lives and made a few more a little better. Most of all I get the drive to do more and work harder because there is a lot of work to do, and it will be a long time before my work is finished.
Four years in, what have you learned?
I have learned that the people in and around law enforcement can be some of the most generous and noble people on the planet. I have also learned that many in our profession are suffering in silence, and I believe that we must do something to help them and insulate everyone in this profession against the toxic effects of the stresses of this job.
Suffice it to say that there are a lot of great men and women working in law enforcement that do heroic things routinely, but many times those acts take a toll on the officers and their families. This is a profession that believes that we must be brave, superhuman and stoic. Until I can get people to admit that they need help, I cannot share their stories and risk that they would not be supported by their peers or agencies.
If CopsAlive is voted our Top LEO Blog, to which charity will you donate your $200 winnings? Why?
I would choose S.O.L.E.S. or Survivors of Law Enforcement Suicide because I think these survivors are so often overlooked. S.O.L.E.S. needs to support the families that have to live with the death of their loved ones who were just as brave and true as any other cops, but who took their own lives and were perhaps not celebrated as heroes.
Where else can we keep up with you on the web?
We have created a new site at www.PoliceWellness.com which is the home of our Total Policing Wellness Project. The Total Wellness Project is a community effort to ensure the wellness of police officers around the world by gathering tips, suggestions, stories, strategies and resources from law enforcement officers to help other cops survive this career. Once we have enough information to assemble and edit into a special report on the concept of total wellness for police officers we are going to publish it for free to everyone in law enforcement as an electronic special report on the Internet.
For those who prefer recording videos instead of writing we have also just created www.YouTube.com/SurvivalTipsForCops as a means of gathering video tips from cops for other cops to help them survive.