Safe Call Now

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Isolation of Correctional Officers

By Dr. Olivia Johnson

The isolation of a job in corrections can leave many feeling out of sight and out of mind. And being out of sight and out of mind tends to allow certain things to go unaddressed. A general consensus I have noticed when talking with CO’s has been that they believe no one cares about their wellbeing and that workplace bullying and bad behavior is at an all time high. Just listening to these stories is enough to make you cry, but I have to ask: What is wrong with us that we have become so cold as to not care about a fellow officer? When did backstabbing, gossip, and all around bad behavior in the workplace become acceptable? Of course perception and reality may be two different things, but if so many CO’s are feeling this way, doesn’t that say something? If it doesn’t, it should.

Anyone accepting a position in corrections understands the threat of the criminal element, the idea that they could be injured or even killed by an inmate. That is reality. And no matter how sad this reality, what is often difficult for many CO’s to understand is how a co-worker, supervisor, or administrator could deliberately and sometimes, even with malice attack them verbally or mess with them just because they can. Sadly, many of these problematic individuals are able to continue this bad behavior without being addressed, disciplined, or terminated.  Call them what you want, but I call these individuals ‘workplace bullies.’

According to the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI, 2014) bullying by is “threatening, humiliating, or intimidating … work interference – sabotage which prevents work from getting done, or verbal abuse (p. 1). Even sadder than having to address workplace bullying, are the statistics WBI revealed. Twenty-seven percent of survey respondents indicated being victims of workplace bullying, either in the past or currently. Another 72 percent stated that they were aware of workplace bullying and sadly, bosses accounted for the highest number of workplace bullying incidents. Another 72 percent of “… employers deny, discount, encourage, rationalize, and defend it” (para. 2). A 2010 survey revealed some 13.7 million Americans said were currently being bullied at work, with the number around three times this for those bullied in the past (Riggio, 2011, as cited in Psychology Today). These numbers are alarming. If so many are victims and so many are aware of workplace bullying, what can be done to stop the bully and the bullying behavior before if affects workers, the organization, and the morale? 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

2,650 Miles for #1stresponder Suicide Prevention

Safe Call Now's Julie Wimmer

The Excursion. Pacific Crest Trail.

“Amplifying Mental Health Awareness for First Responders.”

2,650 miles is more than just a number. It’s a commitment. Safe Call Now’s Marketing Director, Julie Wimmer, will set out to hike the 2,650 mile thru-hike on the Pacific Crest Trail commencing mid-April 2017, with an expected finish date of August - September 2017. This CrowdRise Fundraiser is designed to bring awareness to those first responders out there who are suffering in silence. 

“We’re Counting because they Count.”

In 2016, here are the sobering statistics of our #1stresponders in/out of uniform...
  • 140 police officers were killed in line-of-duty deaths
  • 98 Verified Police Suicides
  • 94 Verified Firefighter Suicides
  • 34 Verified EMS Suicides
  • 28 Verified Corrections Suicides
  • 4 Verified Dispatch Suicides
*Keep in mind, there are many more that go unreported.

When first responders took an oath to become a public safety servant, they respectfully put their uniform and badge on to serve one purpose – to protect and serve their community and although they knew there would be consequences, they had no idea they would become a target to so many. In 2016, 140 officers were killed in the line of duty. This is a travesty. Things can go wrong at any time in their job. Every day they have to be ready for the unexpected because they never know what’s coming. One moment it can be something dangerous, something tragic. Something that makes them question everything they thought they knew. And right after that, they may find themselves in a situation helping someone, saving someone. That’s the job. The amazing and the inhumane – side by side.

This elite hike is dedicated to our first responders who put their lives on the line every day to protect their communities. Please help me in this endeavor, by supporting this worthy cause. All proceeds will go directly to Safe Call Now® to help fund their 24-hour crisis line, resources and training and education nationwide.

Safe Call Now®, established in 2009, is a non-profit organization designed to offer nationwide, comprehensive crisis referral services for all public safety employees and their family members. Established and managed by public safety officials, Safe Call Now® recognizes firsthand the stressors first responders encounter and offers a broad array of training, as well as a confidential 24/7 crisis hotline staffed by current and former public safety employees.

To Donate:  Click here 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Addiction Killed this Cop...

My Dear Friend Terry Marvin

I received a phone call the other morning at 5:00 am advising me that my dear friend and 28-year veteran of law enforcement Terry Marvin had died of a heroin overdose (2016 repost).  Of course the cop in me kicked in and I went straight to denial and then I started making phone calls to confirm his death knowing all the while it was true because that’s how addiction works.  I’ve seen much negative press written about Terry’s death which is being used from my perception as political fodder to further the agendas of others. I wanted to tell you about Terry and what he meant to me.  

Those of you that know me know I’m a pretty blunt person and not politically correct because it’s not who I am.  That being said, let’s get it out on the table, cut through the crap and call it for what it is; no need to sugarcoat it because addiction when left untreated usually results in jails, institutions and death!!!

Terry, like myself, was not without fault.  Yes, he got into trouble while on the job. Yes, he got a DUI and there were probably other things that went on I have no idea about.  I know through my own addiction and dealings with other human beings that many of us have a lot of “baggage” in our closets we keep hidden.  Although it’s human nature, our secrets keep us sick.  Having said that, who the hell am I to judge his life because I too, am an addict and know I am only one step away from his fate. 

I met Terry when he was the director of operations for a treatment center that serves first responders as well as others.  At first I didn’t return his calls, but he was persistent.  I decided to make the trip to see him and see what he’s all about.  He met me at the airport and there he was in his Miami Dolphins jersey waiting to pick me up.  I had an immediate connection with him. We were both cops, we both caused a lot of pain for ourselves and others and we were now both committed to helping those that serve.