Officer Safety and Wellness Virtual Conference 2023

The 2023 Officer Safety and Wellness Symposium is for public safety professionals to learn from experts in the field about resources and best practices when developing comprehensive officer safety and wellness strategies. Virtual registration for the 2023 OSW Symposium will give you access to three live-streamed general sessions (March 3-5, 2023) and dozens of pre-recorded workshops only available through IACPlearn. All workshops listed in the educational program will be available virtually, unless indicated otherwise, and will be accessible on-demand to view at your leisure. Virtual attendees will learn about building resilience, financial wellness, injury prevention, peer support programs, physical fitness, proper nutrition, sleep deprivation, stress, mindfulness, suicide prevention, and more. 

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Suicide Prevention
A Call to Action – Applying the FBI’s Suicide Data Collection as a Tool for Suicide Prevention
Open to view video.
Open to view video. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Law Enforcement Suicide Data Collection (LESDC) has been active for almost one year now. As the collection continues, submitting data on suicide deaths and attempts within your agency remains imperative. Join this session to understand where we are, how far we’ve come, and where the data will take us next. The perspective of this panel is to show the importance of submitting data to the LESDC, challenges in the submission process for agencies and recommendations to overcome these challenges, and how the data can be used to implement policy, procedures, and resources in the effort to prevent incidents. Attendees will hear firsthand from an agency who has submitted data to the collection, the process they went through, and why they submitted data to the LESDC. Additionally, panel members will highlight key themes of the data and how the analysis of the data will inform suicide prevention efforts.
Duty to Intervene and Police Suicide: How Duty to Intervene Policies can Force Us to Help Ourselves
Open to view video.
Open to view video. ‘Duty to Intervene’ has been a popular topic in the law enforcement profession in recent years, with related policies primarily intended to prevent misconduct and excessive force. However, a crucial part of any ‘Duty to Intervene’ policy is intervention when an officer exhibits signs of dealing with a personal crisis – something we all experience. This presentation covers sample policy language and will discuss how to address the mental health stigma, starting with new police recruits. The presenter will also discuss their experience with a personal friend’s death by suicide and will profile additional instances of officer deaths by suicide to highlight how intervention by a friend or colleague could have saved their lives.
Tackling Police Suicide and Improving Wellbeing: Evidence-informed Approaches from Australia and the U.S.
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Presentation Description: Despite the increased focus on police suicide and mental health, the complex interplay between psychological wellbeing and the unique experiences that characterize police work, needs to be better informed by evidence-based practices. It is critical that relevant suicide and wellbeing data is collected, analyzed scientifically, and shared. This will underpin development of more effective programs, increasing the likelihood they will be adopted and used by police. This international session focuses on how psychological autopsy methodology has been used in agencies in the United States and Australia to collect meaningful data to inform suicide prevention programs and how wellbeing surveys are being used on the ground to better direct resources to improve officer wellbeing.
Suicide Prevention for the Current Times: More Than a Tag Line or a Training
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Presentation Description: Suicide prevention is a complicated issue for law enforcement. Yet, it can feel as if agencies are trying to find the perfect tag line to get an officer in crisis to ask for help or to find the training that will meet all needs. However, a holistic, comprehensive approach will see better results than one poster. Speakers will share best practices in suicide prevention along with how they have been implemented at a specific agency. This workshop will apply the Comprehensive Framework for Law Enforcement Suicide Prevention, a part of National Consortium on Preventing Law Enforcement Suicide toolkit, to the current context in policing.
Leading Your Agency Through an Officer Suicide
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Most leaders understand how to assist their agency and families when an officer dies in the line of duty. However, when an agency suffers an officer dying by suicide, whether on duty or off, they face many challenges on how to effectively assist co-workers and the officer's family. Leaders may struggle with planning the funeral and implementing a postvention plan. Decisions made by agency administration will impact employees, family members, and the community long into the future. This session will discuss the need for a postvention policy and how to address the needs of the agency, the family, and the community.
Physical Health
A Systematic Approach to Goal Setting for Fitness in a Police Academy Training Program
Open to view video.
Open to view video. This presentation will show how a scorecard can be created and tailored based on what is important to an academy and provide a framework for creating benchmarks for fitness achievements during an academy training program. The goal is to allow the supervisor and physical fitness instructor to create a scorecard of actionable items a class should be able to achieve before moving to the next level of training. This allows the supervisor of the program to understand how to map and gauge the success of the instructor, recruits, and program based on achievements that have been set.
An Introduction to Yoga For First Responders
Open to view video.
Open to view video. This presentation and interactive demonstration addresses common misconceptions about yoga, cites research that shows the benefits of yoga for law enforcement, and introduces job-specific and culturally informed exercises and techniques that have made yoga successful in law enforcement settings. This session will present key concepts from Yoga For First Responders (YFFR) training, including tactical breathwork, physical drills/mobility training, and mindfulness techniques. YFFR teaches these concepts to proactively protect from post-traumatic stress, sleep disorders, and common injuries, as well as effectively process stress, build resilience, and enhance performance. With this interactive session, participants leave with tools to immediately integrate into their daily lives.
Concussion in Law Enforcement Officers: A Public Health Priority in Washington, DC
Open to view video.
Open to view video. In the wake of the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, demonstrations and riots filtered across the country and inundated the streets of the Nation’s capital. Countless officers were injured during the demonstrations. However, it was not until the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the United States Capitol that the Metropolitan, DC, Police Department experienced a plethora of head injuries suffered by some of the 850 police officers deployed to defend the Capitol. The impact of head injuries in police officers soon took center stage for Chief Robert J. Contee, III, whose core mission became police wellness and resilience. The presenters will share results of research conducted to assess the extent of concussions and mechanism of head injuries among police officers. The presentation focuses on establishing concussion identification processes and strategies for care after the extent of injuries is identified.
How does the Autonomic Nervous System Effect Sleep, Stress, and Anxiety?
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Presentation Description: The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) is a major neural pathway activated by stress. Stress, poor sleep, traumatic events, and anxiety can cause the sympathetic nervous system (fight/flight) to be continuously activated without the normal counteraction of the parasympathetic nervous system (rest/repair). This can lead to dysregulation of the ANS and can cause an inappropriate (disproportional) response (thoughts, feelings, behavior) to an event, person, or situation, either by over- or under-reacting, as well as our heart rate and breathing to become erratic. This presentation delivers an insight into the ANS and its relationship to stress, anxiety, and sleep, and is packaged so that the attendee can easily transfer an adaptive solution to their organization.
Physical Wellness for Modern Day Policing
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Presentation Description: This presentation will cover a myriad of modern wellness practices often missing from current training regimens. The session will include both physical demonstrations and a scientifically based information session on effective wellness practices for first responders. The presenter will teach attendees mobility drills/stretches to mitigate physical and postural stressors of the job, to include group foam rolling, dynamic mobility drills, and improving flexibility to meet current professional demands. The presentation will also highlight proper usage and benefits of sauna, ice baths, breathing, meditation, positive psychology, and cognitive behavioral strategies paired directly for this profession.
Officer Exhaustion: 5 Practical, Evidence-Based Wellness Pathways that Rebuild LEO Daily Energy
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Energy is the ultimate currency for both health and survival. On-duty, it can increase physical readiness, enhance cognitive performance, and save lives. Off-duty, it can upgrade officer quality of life by fueling workouts, family activities, and more. Conversely, drained energy can have tragic consequences. This presentation demystifies the key to sustaining daily energy by providing officers with a choice of five clear success pathways. Each pathway includes strategically sequenced skill-building exercises that gradually and systematically strengthen physical and mental health, thereby naturally increasing daily energy. Common obstacles (e.g., stress, fatigue, lack of time, etc.) are addressed. The pathways provided can be implemented individually and agencywide without added cost or manpower.
Occupational Safety
Are Tire Deflation Devices Worth the Risk? What You Need to Know
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Tire deflation devices (TDD), often called spike strips, have been used in law enforcement since the 1990’s. In many cases, the use of a TDD has resulted in the successful termination of a pursuit. Unfortunately, TDDs have collaterally contributed to injuries and deaths of both officers and civilians. Although data on civilian casualties is limited, more than 40 officers are known to have lost their lives while engaged in TDD deployments, while hundreds more have sustained career-ending injuries. Can TDDs be used safely? Are there viable options? During this presentation, participants will hear from experts in effective risk mitigation and officer safety as they share the results of a national survey and learn how to mitigate risk with proper training, planning, and policy.
Fitness and Wellness for Duty: Reduce Injury and Maximize Health while on Duty
Open to view video.
Open to view video. This presentation is designed to provide law enforcement officers with an action plan to reduce the toll on the body that police work can take. Training program goals should not include benchmarks, but instead foundational functional injury prevention movements. Officers can benefit from incorporating movements and strategies to not only improve performance and mitigate aches and pains associated with prolonged sitting, poor posture, shoulder strain, backaches, and wearing a gun belt, but also address strategies to minimize the negative impacts of shift work. This presentation will highlight methods to reduce injuries and promote fitness longevity agency-wide. Participants will leave with an action plan that promotes functional wellness through their careers and after retirement.
Stop the Dying – The Texas Police Chiefs Association’s Officer Safety VINCIBLE Program
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Presentation Description: Most line-of-duty deaths could be prevented through care for one’s own behaviors – wear body armor, buckle seatbelts, be aware of surroundings in the 540° field, stay fit, and watch speeds. These cornerstones highlight the importance of making the officer safety initiative spread to reducing deaths and injuries. While officers are considered superheroes by many in society, they must not fall victim to hubris – officers are VINCIBLE. This presentation will discuss the question: what does different look like? Remove the IN from INVINCIBLE and remind officers that they are VINCIBLE. Presenters will discuss the initiative the State of Texas and its law enforcement departments are taking to reduce the number of officer deaths and injuries.
Mitigating Struck-By Incidents: What More Can We Do to Protect Officers on the Roadways?
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Law enforcement officers are being struck at an alarming rate on the roadways. In the last five years alone, 85 officers were struck and killed, including 27 officers in 2021 – a 93% increase from struck-by fatalities in 2020. More must be done to protect our officers. This workshop will provide case studies of struck-by incidents, including a discussion of contributing factors and prevention strategies identified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Fatality Assessment Control and Evaluation program. Attendees will hear from Lt. Brady Robinette (Lubbock Fire Rescue) and Sgt. Robert Bemis (Pennsylvania State Police, retired) as they recount struck-by incidents that have impacted their lives and discuss how police leaders need to consider non-traditional strategies to reduce and prevent officer injuries and fatalities. This workshop is provided by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) National Law Enforcement Roadway Safety Program.
Officer Safety Perspectives: Risk and Response, Injury, and Training
Open to view video.
Open to view video. During Phase I of the Using Analytics to Improve Officer Safety project, CNA worked with the Camden County, New Jersey, Police Department; Columbia, Maryland, Police Department; Houston, Texas, Police Department; and Spokane, Washington, Police Department to estimate factors related to high-risk incidents and identify drivers of officer injuries. As part of this project, CNA gathered interview and survey data to glean officer perceptions of injury risk, assess the efficacy of agency trainings and policies that directly affect officer safety, and support agencies to improve the amount and quality of risk and injury data agencies collect and use. During this presentation, the audience will learn about officers’ perceptions of their risk, injury reporting practices, and trainings which were of most value to officer safety.
Building Resiliency: An Agency Approach to Vicarious Trauma
Open to view video.
Open to view video. This interactive workshop will provide an understanding of the neurobiology of stress and trauma and how vicarious trauma continues to impact law enforcement officers and other professionals. Through support from the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), leading experts participating in the Vicarious Trauma Response Initiative (VTR) will share the benefits of implementing trauma-informed strategies to mitigate the impact of vicarious trauma. Attendees will learn how to identify the correlation between officer wellness and vicarious trauma and the benefits of incorporating practical resilience strategies at an individual and organizational level.
Washington Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Resiliency Program: Promoting Healthy and Effective Specialized Units
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Presentation Description: Prolonged and repeated exposure to secondary trauma leads to symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Law enforcement officers assigned to Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) units are amongst the most vulnerable population in the criminal justice field – receiving less psychological and wellness support and having a significantly higher risk of suicide when compared to their non-ICAC counterparts. During this presentation, attendees will learn more about the Washington State ICAC Task Force three-pronged approach to resilience and how to replicate it in their own agencies. This approach provides strategies to build resilience and protect staff for agencies of any size or level of funding.
Use of Force: Resilience in the Aftermath
Open to view video.
Open to view video. This presentation will feature a panel-style discussion on the physical and mental effects of use of force incidents on law enforcement personnel. Research has shown that use of force incidents often require officer intervention that can cause short and long-term implications to those involved and the agency as a whole. Presenters will discuss the impact that use of force incidents have on the responding officers, agency, and community and why modern use of force training is necessary to minimize exposure to traumatic events. The audience will also hear from an officer who has experienced a use of force incident and the mental/physical effects they experienced in the aftermath of the incident.
Emotional Intelligence, Mindset, and Resiliency for Law Enforcement
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Understanding and utilizing appropriate emotional intelligence is a key element in police matters and can be seen as a root problem in police controversies. People with high emotional intelligence demonstrate strong mental health, exemplary job performance, and more potent leadership skills. The ability of an officer to express and control their emotions is essential, but so is the ability to understand, interpret, and respond to the emotions of others. Managing and using emotions effectively and in a positive way is crucial for officer stress management and career survival, while helping establish positive community relations.
The New Jersey Resiliency Program for Law Enforcement – 3 Years of Growth
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Presentation Description: The New Jersey Resiliency Program for Law Enforcement was introduced at the IACP Officer and Safety Wellness Symposium in Miami, Florida, in February 2020. The program was created by a New Jersey Attorney General directive in 2019, which mandated that all 35,000+ police officers in the state receive resilience training. In addition, the directive created a mandatory position of a Resilience Program Officer in every police agency to serve as a trainer and point of contact for officers in need of support and/or referral to services. This presentation will provide an update on the progress of the program, successful outcomes, lessons learned, changes, and future directions.
From Roll Call to Role Modeling: How Leaders can Promote Resilience and Improve Agency Wellness Culture
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Healthy, resilient individuals make for better officers. Law enforcement leaders play a key role in incorporating these values into agency culture, which is a crucial aspect of overall individual and organizational well-being. Presenters will discuss the tenets of resilience and share methods for ensuring that wellness practices are prioritized, meaningfully implemented, and sustained. Leading by example and actively communicating the importance of physical and mental wellness offers countless benefits, both for leaders personally and throughout the agencies they lead.
Mindful Resilience: Mindfulness-Based Practices for Officer Wellbeing
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Chronic stress is a leading contributor to declines in officer health and wellbeing. Mindfulness is an ancient and evidence-based practice for managing stress, reducing burnout, and optimizing health and wellbeing that is portable, free of charge, and accessible to all. In this presentation, participants will learn essential information for regulating their stress response, building mental and emotional resilience, and enhancing post-traumatic growth through the applications of mindfulness and mindfulness-based practices. Participants will engage in several mindfulness-based practices throughout the session and receive guidance and resources for integrating these practices into life for immediate benefit.
Mental Health
Collaborative Action Drives Impacts in Post-Traumatic Stress
Open to view video.
Open to view video. The socio-ecological model of health and behavior change identifies different levels of intervention in which to influence the health and wellness of law enforcement officers. A First Responder Health and Wellness Program adopted the evidence-based approach to addressing health promotion for public safety, through incorporation of a Health and Wellness Coalition. Since its creation in 2020, the coalition has collected needs assessment data across the population to identify critical health and wellness priorities; develop strategic objectives; and drive towards action through technical solutions, strategic partnerships, and collaborative endeavors with research and practice. This rich collaboration drove action towards addressing post-traumatic growth for law enforcement.
Workplace Wellness – A Practical Guide to Nutrition
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Presentation Description: Obesity is at epidemic proportions in the United States. Its impact on law enforcement is shown in dramatic health issues within the ranks, influencing the overall readiness of first responders. Aside from economic and health costs, this rapid growth of obesity negatively affects homeland security. This presentation will highlight practical nutrition principles that can be adopted individually and promoted agency wide to change the trajectory of an individual’s health. Participants of this seminar will walk away with an understanding of what the obesity problem is and learn actionable steps that they and their families can take to improve their overall health.
Examining the Impact of Mass Demonstrations on Officer Safety and Wellness
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Mass demonstration events pose a unique challenge for law enforcement agencies, tasked with critical responsibilities before, during, and after these events. Considering the impact of these events on the safety and wellness of officers in the short and long term is of paramount importance. This panel will highlight the importance of recognizing officer safety and wellness as an integral part of preparing for and responding to mass demonstrations and protests. Discussion areas will include experiences, lessons learned, and practical tips from the perspectives of agency personnel who have experienced the intersect between mass demonstrations and officer wellness. Provided through the COPS Office’s Collaborative Reform Initiative Technical Assistance Center (CRI-TAC), the Mass Demonstration Rapid Response Team (MDRRT) is an innovative approach to address the challenges associated with these events by providing law enforcement agencies with resources, tools, and strategies to maintain officer safety and wellness when faced with a mass demonstration.
It's All My Fault – Self-care Begins with Learning How to Manage our Minds
Open to view video.
Open to view video. All law enforcement officers have been trained in tactics, firearms, law, policies, and procedures – yet they have not been trained in how to manage their minds. There is a fundamental gap in understanding how the brain works and this course will provide a specific understanding of how police can stop blaming systems, leadership, communities, and policies, and start taking ownership of their own lives by learning some mind management basics. It is convenient to believe the outcomes in one’s life are due to some external event or situation, but upon learning to take complete control over the mind, one can experience true freedom and wellness.
Law Enforcement Mental Health in Africa, Pacific, and South East Asia
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Presentation Description: This presentation will highlight guidance specifically developed to assist and support emerging law enforcement leaders throughout the Pacific, Africa, and South East Asia to address the unique challenges they face. The guidance has been developed with the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), Vietnam Ministry of Public security, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the Australian Home Affairs Department. The strategies shared are comprehensive, covering elements from self-care, care of others, legal obligations, leadership, and the determinants of mental health and illness. Guiding principles are based on the understanding of individual, gender, social and societal factors, and cultural impediments.
Mental Health Check to Reduce the Stigma and Increase Help Seeking for Public Safety Personnel
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Public safety personnel (PSP) have a higher rate of mental health issues due to the nature of their job. One reason is that PSP lack the mental health awareness to know when they are struggling. Additionally, PSP are reluctant to reach out because of the stigma. The mental health check was created to assist with the early detection and prevention of mental illness by allowing PSP to conduct a check at anytime, anywhere. The mental health check includes numerous psychological tools to screen mental health challenges unique to PSP. Upon completion of the check, PSP receive a follow-up virtually or over the phone with a registered mental health professional. During this communication the PSP will understand where they fall on the mental health continuum and will be provided a referral (if necessary) to alleviate the stigma and increase help seeking.
PTSI, Sleep Disturbances, and the Impact on 911 Safety and Wellness
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Lack of sleep poses significant health risks to officers' well-being and job performance. Disrupted sleep is a symptom of and exacerbates post-traumatic stress injury. Poor sleep impairs cognitive functioning and heightens emotional reactivity. Impaired cognitive function may lead to errors in judgment and poor decision-making. Reaction time is increased. This presentation addresses underlying issues inhibiting good sleep hygiene and offers practical, real-world strategies that can be applied to improve an officer’s quality of sleep. Specific actions to improve pre-sleep routines, guidelines for organizing one’s sleep space to promote more restful sleep, and means for coping with nightmares and disruptive dreams are detailed. The use of sleep aids will be discussed.
Organizational Wellness
Customs and Border Protection's K9 Support Team Program
Open to view video.
Open to view video. This is a presentation on the evolution and operationalization of K9 Support Teams in the federal workplace environment. This presentation will include a discussion of the pilot, policies, legal support, and considerations which U.S. Customs and Border Protection had to explore at the adoption of this program. Presenters will highlight success stories and challenges in the evolution of the K9 Support program.
Emerging Trends Impacting Officer Wellness and Engagement With Services – Maximizing Positive Impact
Open to view video.
Open to view video. The past decade has been characterized by increased awareness surrounding law enforcement mental health, wellness, and suicide. As police agencies and advocates strive to identify effective interventions and implement impactful programs aimed at improving officer wellness, the range of solutions available is increasing – but what actually works? Police budgets are often limited, and consideration must be given to how resources are best spent. Utilizing data from a recent national survey of active police officers across the United States, presenters will report current engagement trends with wellness services, sharing officer perceptions of realized program effectiveness for improvement of wellbeing and providing crucial insight into recommended future directions for wellness service development.
Using Customized Offerings for Mitigating and Preventing Agency-Specific Stress (COMPASS) Toolkit
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Presentation Description: Agencies strive to support officer wellbeing, but often lack the tools to identify the greatest challenges faced by officers and potential evidence-based mitigation strategies. Funded by the Department of Justice, Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office, the COMPASS toolkit was developed to help agencies identify the greatest sources of stress for officers and implement health and wellness solutions that address those specific issues. COMPASS begins with a comprehensive assessment to measure stress across ten areas, including physical health/safety, staff fatigue/overwork, leadership, and anti-police sentiment. Participants will learn how to select a stress-reduction strategy, create and execute an action plan, and assess impact within their agencies.
Evolving Role of Registered Nurse and Mental Health Liaison within a Sheriff's Office
Open to view video.
Open to view video. This presentation focuses on how a mid-sized, rural sheriff’s office recognized the need for a wellness program for their employees. The department responded to this by developing a core wellness team including a registered nurse, a mental health clinician, chaplains, law enforcement officers, and civilian staff. This presentation will highlight each component of the wellness team individually as well as the collaborative efforts of the team to address the mental, emotional, and physical needs of employees.
The Implementation and Evaluation of a Behavioral Health Program in an Urban Police Department
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Presentation Description: The Cummings Foundation for Behavioral Health (CFBH) partnered with the Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) to design, implement, and evaluate a comprehensive, evidenced-based, behavioral health program that can be replicated in other departments. In this presentation, the process of creating the program as well as the research design and results will be discussed. The resources created and provided to support the ACPD staff will also be reviewed.
The Science of Officer Wellness: Evidence-Based Tips for Leadership, Peer Support, and Families
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Presentation Description: Evidence-based recommendations for strengthening officer safety and wellness are translated into powerful action steps during this dynamic presentation. Attendees will be provided with clear, practical tips for strengthening behavioral health, mental health, physical health, resilience, and overall wellness. Condensing scientific research into clear, evidence-based action plans, this workshop focuses on providing attendees with contemporary and emerging insights, along with clear action roadmaps, to strengthen officer wellness. Attendees will take away tips on behavioral health, family support, financial wellness, leadership, mental and physical health, mindfulness, nutrition, peer support, resilience, sleep, trauma, and suicide prevention.
Hyattsville Police Department Mental Wellness Check-in Initiative
Open to view video.
Open to view video. This presentation will detail the Hyattsville (MD) Police Department's groundbreaking program, the Mental Wellness Check-in Initiative (MWCI). This program requires officers and dispatchers to attend quarterly, one-on-one, 50-minute, online sessions with mental health clinicians. Initially funded by the Hyattsville City Council, a Department of Justice, Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office grant allowed Hyattsville PD to include the Brentwood, (MD) Police Department in the Initiative. The presenters will give a deep dive into the first year of the program, including detailed data outcomes collected in pre- and post-session surveys via a partnership with the University of Maryland. Attendees will gain a clear perspective of the challenges, successes, and pitfalls surmounted during the planning and implementation of the Initiative, and leave with strategies for implementing the MWCI at their agency.
Spiritual Wellness for Law Enforcement through Police-Faith Community Partnerships
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Presentation Description: In recent years, the policing profession has been improving its efforts to address the mental health of officers. At the same time, events and circumstances in law enforcement have further highlighted the gap of police-specific spiritual healthcare resources and the need to provide soul-care for officers. Those who promote officer safety, health, and wellness must recognize that agency personnel are comprised of integrated components of body, mind, and soul. The police-faith community partnership fosters a holistic approach to officer health and wellness, encompassing spiritual care resources available from local providers to complement the physical and mental healthcare already available to most officers through traditional health insurance and employee assistance programs.
Mental Health and Police: The Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Police officers are regularly exposed to potentially psychologically traumatic, painful, and injurious events and challenges throughout their careers. Addressing these challenges with evidence-based treatments and training has been hindered by stigma, occupational barriers, and a lack of research focused on supporting police. Accordingly, the Government of Canada has funded the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT) to help build better solutions. The current workshop will highlight recently published, peer-reviewed research results regarding police mental health; showcase CIPSRT knowledge exchange efforts; and present current and pending activities from across the CIPSRT national network. The workshop will offer recommendations for current best practices contextualized by real experiences from police leaders. There will also be discussion of opportunities and challenges associated with efforts to improve police wellbeing.
Put into Action: Developing an Engaging Wellness Program for a Mid-Sized Police Department
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Presentation Description: This presentation will discuss how an agency can develop and grow a culture of wellness with programming designed to engage sworn and non-sworn personnel. Presenters will discuss innovative and creative wellness ideas, including planning a full year of wellness activities and priorities, collaborating with a peer support group, creating a small department gym, hosting events designed for employees and families, and working within a city wellness program. Communication strategies will be addressed, including developing flyers, posters, and waivers, as well as disseminating wellness information. Presenters will highlight addressing officer needs in challenging times, budgeting and funding, pitfalls and successes, along with preparing for the future of the program.
Mentoring Programs: The Value of Internal Support and How to Start Your Own
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Agencies are turning to the establishment of mentoring programs in support of strengthening peer networks, assisting individuals in navigating career paths and development, and enhancing wellness efforts. Learn from practitioners and leaders with the Collaborative Reform Initiative Technical Assistance Center (CRI-TAC) who have implemented framework for developing a formal mentoring program, to include establishing program goals and objectives; developing policies and protocols; screening, selecting, training, and matching mentors; and tracking program metrics.
Not Just for the Community: Utilizing Embedded Police Social Workers to Improve Officer Wellness
Open to view video.
Open to view video. The Bloomington, Indiana, Police Department hired its first embedded police social worker (PSW) in March 2019. While the original role of the PSW did not overlap with officer/department wellness, it became clear that having a PSW embedded in the department was a major benefit to wellness programming. Presenters will discuss initiatives that have been implemented as a result of the PSW program – such as a wellness newsletter, family support activities, and regular mental health/morale building activities – as well as initiatives that have been expanded due to the PSW program, like the Peer Support Team, critical incident response, etc. Presenters will discuss strengths and challenges faced when using embedded police social workers.
Overtime: Be Careful What You Wish For
Open to view video.
Open to view video. The world of law enforcement has changed – what was once scarce and hard to come by is now abundant and plentiful. Through a combination of factors, the availability of overtime has increased to a point where officers are able to get as much as they want, while others want none at all. Unfortunately, many departments have failed to address this change, with officers either voluntarily taking or being mandated to work inordinate numbers of overtime hours. This presentation will focus on the roots of the problem, the negative impact it is having on the mental and physical health of officers, and the negative impact it is having on overall officer safety. The speaker will provide recommendations on how to address the problem as well as improve overall officer wellness.
Family Wellness
Essential Tools for Work-Life Balance: Attaining Your Career Goals and Strong Family Relationships
Open to view video.
Open to view video. This presentation will equip participants with a scientifically supported skill set, specifically designed for law enforcement, to enhance professional success and strengthen family relationships over the course of a career. Potential roadblocks for successful relationships will be explored, including command presence, emotional detachment, promotional exams, specialized assignments etc. Presenters provide unique and relatable perspectives to the topics discussed. One presenter has 30 years of law enforcement and marriage experience and is an actively serving chief of police. The other presenter is a police psychologist, first responder spouse, and specializes in providing support to law enforcement families.
If You Build It, Will They Come? Engaging Officer Families in Wellness Activities
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Family support and engagement are key elements of an agency’s officer wellness programming. Agencies that develop family-centric, accessible resources and events can give provide important social connections and wellness information, but success depends on families knowing they are happening and feeling comfortable attending. Hear from participants and subject matter experts from the IACP/Motorola Solutions Foundation Family Wellness Training and Technical Assistance program as they discuss strategies to effectively communicate and engage officers’ families in wellness programming.
Strong Law Enforcement Marriages
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Presentation Description: Do you want to learn how to protect and strengthen a law enforcement marriage or relationship? This presentation will cover marriage facts, issues in law enforcement relationships, key reasons why law enforcement personnel can be unhappy in their marriages and relationships, how they often seek to make themselves feel better, and warning signs of a relationship in distress. The presenter will share actionable recommendations to strengthen relationships, including ingredients for a healthy marriage or relationship, strategies for assessment of marital relationship satisfaction, and hands-on skills for building to create a positive relationship.
Innovation in Suicide Prevention: Application of the A.A. Model
Open to view video.
Open to view video. What allows law enforcement personnel to serve among the ranks of the noble, and when does nobility turn into suffering, despair, and hopelessness? Who is the modal law enforcement person who commits suicide, and what tends to be present in most or all law enforcement suicides? What do law enforcement personnel say they want regarding suicide prevention, and what can we learn and apply from the highly successful Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) model to more effectively prevent law enforcement suicide? Attendees will learn innovative applications of the A.A. model to officer suicide prevention and will be provided with resources, hands-on skills, and higher order insight to help others navigate the storm.
Retire Well
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Presentation Description: This presentation will cover retirement preparation for first responders who have retired within five years or are planning to retire in the next years. Presenters will highlight strategies and provide tools for former officers to rediscover their identity, purpose, security, and acceptance upon retirement. The presentation will focus on improving quality of life and adaptation, making the unknown known.
Stories Save Lives: How Promoting Storytelling can Reduce Stigma and Improve Wellness
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Presentation Description: Have you ever felt depressed or anxious? Have you ever been angry or overwhelmed by your administration? During this presentation you will hear officer stories about depression, health issues, and administrative pain. These stories come from the Self Care Interactive Online Network (SCION), a peer support-based model created by the Albuquerque, New Mexico, Police Department in 2019. This model uses storytelling as a powerful tool to increase resilience, reduce isolation and stigma, and save lives. This presentation will demonstrate how people have benefited from this approach. Attendees will not only hear stories, but also learn how to promote storytelling in their own agencies and review evaluation data on the effectiveness of this model.
Grace, Grit, and Resolve – Wellness Solutions for Police Leaders by Police Leaders
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Law enforcement professionals are exposed to a unique set of on-the-job stressors that place them at risk for adverse mental and physical health outcomes. Recognizing this challenge, police departments throughout the nation offer programs and resources to help their employees process these stressors. These programs benefit the officers, their agencies, and the communities they serve. Police leaders, however, face unique stressors, and because of their position, they may not be comfortable accessing the same resources explicitly designed for line officers. This presentation will gather a panel of recently retired chiefs of police who will share their experiences and lessons on how law enforcement executives can maintain their personal wellness and identify where they can go for help.
Understanding and Managing Self-Destructive Officers
Open to view video.
Open to view video. The stoic culture of policing and the persistent stigma around seeking mental health treatment has contributed to self-destructive behavior in police officers. As officers have difficulty admitting that they need help, sometimes they unconsciously engage in conduct that leads them to be disciplined, fired, or arrested. These behaviors range on a continuum from relatively benign (e.g., failing firearm qualifications at the range to avoid being assigned to a specific work detail), to serious (e.g., engaging in repeated alcohol problems to be permanently relieved of duty), to severe (e.g., officers completing suicide). The presenters will discuss different ways and reasons why officers engage in self-destructive behaviors and offer strategies for intervention and management in these situations.
The Will to Win/The Will to Survive
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Presentation Description: Since the early 1990s, the Officer Safety Awareness Training (OSAT) Program has conducted four research studies covering assaults on police officers. In these research studies, it has been found that many law enforcement participants who had received life-threatening wounds were determined not to succumb to their wounds. Time and again, these officers indicated that their will-to-survive mindset training allowed them to mentally contend with their wounds and survive. In this workshop, presenters will discuss how officers can develop and refine that mindset.
Stop Checking the Box: Authentic Messaging about Mental Health and Wellness
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Presentation Description: Departments often only provide support or discuss resources after a critical incident, presenting a “check the box” approach to health and wellness. Consequently, the messages that officers receive are that they should only need help when support is offered, and sometimes not even then, given the stigma related to support seeking. As a result, officers often do not utilize resources or receive the support they need. This presentation will discuss the importance of consistency in messaging about mental health and wellness and explore ways to involve police officers in the continuous process of assessing and improving access to needed support.
Peer Support
Peer Support: More than just Listening, Bringing Accountability into Practice
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Presentation Description: Peer support has proven to be effective in providing police personnel with a program to address their mental wellbeing, but these programs need to be more than just providing a team of good listeners. Organizations serious about the mental wellbeing of their staff and ending suicide can no longer create a program and hope that those who need help will ask for it. They must train peers to be proactive in identifying behaviors which may indicate potential needs for intervention and linkages to care before problems arise. This presentation will highlight the need to help peers identify inhibitors for interventions and outreach within themselves and give them techniques to hold themselves and their peers accountable to life saving, rather than being peer bystanders waiting on someone to ask for help.
Supporting those who Support Us: Creating and Enhancing a Peer Support Program
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Presentation Description: Law enforcement agencies continue to focus on effectively establishing, expanding, and sustaining peer support programming to address safety and wellness challenges commonly faced by officers. This panel will highlight lessons learned and practical tips for developing a peer support program from experts and practitioners in law enforcement. Discussion areas will include policy and programmatic considerations, training, and vetting appropriate wellness professionals The Collaborative Reform Initiative Technical Assistance Center (CRI-TAC) provides customized technical assistance for law enforcement agencies seeking to formalize and enhance agency policies, practices, and programming.
How to Create and Sustain a Statewide, Multi-Disciplinary Peer Support Program
Open to view video.
Open to view video. First Responder Support Team (FRST) Midwest is a non-profit established by first responders to serve first responders. The multi-disciplinary board of directors has worked alongside culturally competent mental health professionals to establish regions within the state of Kansas to provide crisis response, education, and other services to first responders and their families. During this workshop, attendees will hear lessons learned creating a state-wide program, how to sustain the program, and future plans for FRST Midwest.
Law Enforcement Health and Wellness: Using and Conducting Research
Open to view video.
Open to view video. This presentation will provide an introduction into various levels of research. Participants will learn how to conduct a literature review and evaluate existing evidence. The discussion will include an explanation of quantitative versus qualitative research, varying methodologies, and utilizing the Maryland Scientific Methods Scale to both evaluate and contribute to the bodies of research. Internal transparency, confidentiality, and buy-in will be highlighted throughout the presentation. Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threat (SWOT) assessments will be a part of the discussion regarding program planning and implementation. Finally, the value in university partnerships will be explored along with lessons learned from actual research conducted by the presenter at their police department.
Legal Guidelines for Peer Support Teams: What Every Team Needs to Know
Open to view video.
Open to view video. The presentation will focus on suggested guidelines for peer support teams that address implementation, confidentiality, and liability protection. The California government code section model will be used as an example, as well as comparisons with the recently enacted federal Confidentiality Opportunities for Peer Support (COPS) Counseling Act. There will also be a discussion of new legislation on service-related suicides, family benefits, and the connection with peer support involvement.
Safer Together: Strengthening the Foundations of Officer Safety and Community Climate
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Presentation Description: The focus of this presentation is to provide an overview of the new national strategy for law enforcement that recognizes and leverages the inseparable link between community trust and officer safety and wellness. The VALOR Officer Safety and Wellness Program Safer Together campaign emphasizes safety and wellness factors and makes the connection that a healthy and positive climate through police-community relations may be one of the most important universal safeguards against the harmful stress and physical dangers that officers face. This presentation will show the importance of officers’ daily individual actions, as well as how officer stress can decrease and community trust can improve as a result of these individual actions.
Miami Beach Peer Support Program: Lessons Learned through Preparedness, Patience, and Perseverance
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Miami Beach, Florida, Police Department established the Peer Support Team in 2015. Through the years, the team has grown and learned many lessons on what works and what does not work. The team has responded to everything, from an officer experiencing suicidal thoughts to significant critical incidents like the Surfside Condominium Collapse. The purpose of this presentation is to summarize the steps to start, maintain, evaluate, and expand your peer support team. Presenters will highlight resources and valuable tools that will help attendees evaluate the needs of their departments and identify the best means of addressing those needs.
Recorded General Sessions
National Trends in Health and Wellness
Open to view video.
Open to view video. National leaders are increasingly seeing the value and necessity of supporting the law enforcement profession in providing quality, evidence-based health and wellness resources to those dedicated to serving their communities every day. This session will bring together leaders from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, and Office for Victims of Crime to share perspective about national trends and recommendations to advance health and wellness. Attendees will take away valuable information that will help them to better communicate the value of wellness to their own leadership. The panel will also share details about training, technical assistance, and funding resources available to help state, local, tribal, and federal agencies implement and enhance wellness services.
Healing in the Wake of Harm: Personal Growth following Mass Tragedy
Open to view video.
Open to view video. Mass violence tragedies can have long-lasting effects on the mental wellbeing of everyone involved. This session will explore various pathways of personal healing in the aftermath of mass tragedy from those who have experienced it directly. Panelists will share their personal stories, the value of support systems, and strategies to effectively process and grow from traumatic experiences.
Insurrection at the U.S. Capitol: Leading Culture Change after Crisis
Recorded 03/14/2023  |  105 minutes
Recorded 03/14/2023  |  105 minutes On January 6, 2021, a violent mob stormed the grounds of the U.S. Capitol with the intentions of interrupting the democratic process. The mob’s sustained assault at the Capitol precipitated an equally unprecedented response, with an urgent request for officers across the region to come defend the Capitol. Without hesitation, officers from U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) and Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia (MPD) jumped into action and restored order to allow democracy to prevail. The physical impacts were brutal, but the mental impacts were substantial and unparalleled. In the immediate aftermath of the insurrection, Assistant Chief Sean Gallagher (USCP) and Chief Robert J. Contee III (MPD) shifted their priorities to address the mental health needs of their officers. In this session, these leaders will highlight how they assessed their existing health and wellness programs and refocused their efforts to change agency culture and meet the critical needs of their officers, effectively and sustainably.