Safe Call Now

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Safe Call Now® introduces... Red Folder

Red Folder - Keeping your family and personal matters secure

Safe Call Now® began its conversations with Red Folder over a year ago. Our goal was to find a safe, easy to use way for our first responder families to secure all accounts and documents they might need in case of emergency. As you know, that can be almost any day in the life of a first responder. We get up, we may even plan the day and then circumstances can and do quickly spiral out of control. As a result our family like can become chaotic and disordered—and something as simple as remembering someone’s social security number, or getting our hands on the latest health care information becomes the last straw. With that in mind, we were introduced to the team at Aegis Identity Group - Ryan and Linda (she’s a co-founder) and they in turn introduced us to Christopher. 

Christopher Burgess has dedicated his life to service to our country. He’s also the creator of Red Folder as well as an author, speaker, advisor, consultant and advocate for effective security strategies. He is the CEO, President and co-founder of Prevendra as well as the voice of Senior Online Safety, keeping all safe and secure. He also embodies the true soul of a first responder having served 30+ years for our country in the Central Intelligence Agency. He served honorably as an executive member on numerous regional federal collaborative entities: Joint Terrorism Task Forces, US Attorney Terrorism Task Forces, and Regional Counterintelligence Working Groups. Upon his retirement, the CIA awarded him the Career Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the highest level of career recognition.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Living on the Fringes...

By Chief Scott Silverii

I was recently asked to speak at a book reading for the local library to discuss my latest work on cop culture, “A Darker Shade of Blue; From Public Servant to Professional Deviant.”

Unsure of what was expected, I looked for key sections or excerpts that might appeal to the civilian public. One of the selections discussed why cops fail to fit-in with the general civilian population.
I described the enticement of a fringe lifestyle, and the intoxicating draw of society’s margins. Their blank stares quickened my heartbeat and signaled that this first attempt by our community library to feature local authors was going south quickly.

Retooling the chronology of the presentation, I did as any experienced public speaker and supervisor of public servants would do. I lifted the microphone just under my mouth, lowered my voice and howled, “I’m a Sheepdog!”

Since that too did not go well, I launched into an explanation of the significance for a common cop term, “Don’t be sheep.” I’d like to share the same with you, sans the howling.
The police tradition is steeped in symbolism and imagery helping solidify officer ideology and public comprehension. Cops use the term “Sheepdog” to describe their position and role in society. It goes something like this;

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Leadership vs Management

By Captain Willie Wines Jr. - Wooden Ladders & Iron Firemen

I had the opportunity a few days ago to sit down with a few folks and talk about the job.
Actually, we talked about ME, my thoughts, goals, accomplishments, short comings etc. It was the purpose of our meeting.

They caught me at a bad time.

My good friend, and Senior Firefighter; Michael Todd Harris …aka “Boots”, who was forced into retirement just over a year ago due to a battle with cancer had just passed away the previous morning.
Needless to say, my mind wasn’t focused on our discussion. I’m not sure why I even showed up in the first place.

I don’t remember much of our meeting. Sitting there wasn’t as important to me as it once seemed. It’s wasn’t nearly as important as getting back to where I needed to be … beside Todd’s family.
I do remember a few questions / things we discussed and wanted to share those with you.
After turning it over and over in my mind, and trying to get it all into focus; I think what our discussion boiled down to was Leadership vs. Management.

As a Captain on the job, they wanted to know what I thought my biggest “weakness” was.
The answer was simple and one that each of us in that room shared … I’M HUMAN.
That means I’m NOT perfect. I’m NOT without sin.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Treatment... The talk that no #1stresponder wants to have!!!

By Sierra Tucson

The information on this blog post pertains to a conversation that no one wants to have, especially a first responder...

When someone you love is struggling with a behavioral or mental health disorder that requires residential care, you’re well aware that one difficult conversation is a price worth paying.
The good news is that with proper preparation, the talk may go much more smoothly than you anticipate – and the result may change (or save) your loved one’s life.
That said, here a few important issues to consider when preparing to talk to your loved one about getting treatment.


DO be empathetic and compassionate
Never lose sight of the fact that your loved one is in pain – not as a result of a lack of willpower or a failure of character, but because he or she has a very real disease. Because of this disease, your loved one has literally lost control of his or her behavior, and cannot make the types of healthy decisions that seem so obvious to you.
You wouldn’t blame someone for getting cancer or diabetes – so please don’t ever accuse your loved one of “causing” his or her addiction, eating disorder, mood disorder, or chronic pain.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Law Enforcement Families...

By Melissa Littles - The Police Wife Life

I look back at my own words over the last year and see the recurring theme; how to handle being a LEOW. How to handle constant change, how to be flexible, how to maintain your sanity in the face of your own fears; how to stay calm through adversity.  I talk about being patient, being kind, being forgiving. I’ve talked about learning to give before expecting to receive. I’ve talked about the rewards received when you eliminate selfishness from your mentality.  I’ve talked about having faith, being honest, owning your own faults, accepting your weaknesses and growing through them until they become strengths.  I’ve talked about being strong, being independent, being capable. I’ve talked about letting go and letting God. I’ve talked about knowing your limits, knowing when to step back, take a break, allow your LEO to be your backup, your superhero.

I’ve found myself at that end of the spectrum, that place where you realize you are all about preaching and not practicing, all about supporting and not accepting; all about helping others to find their way while you stand still on a dead end road.  I’ve found myself being forced to acknowledge the vast difference between wants and capability; the difference between your dreams of change, your hopes and visions of a better future; your belief that somehow, someway the world can still be stirred enough to evolve……and the reality that all you’ve dreamed of is as easy to reach as lassoing the moon.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

I Always Have Time for First Responders...

By Cade Saurage - La Hacienda Treatment Center

No, I am not a first responder. I do not know what it is like to risk my life every day on the job. I have never held my co-worker in my arms as he lay dying, never shot a gun at anything but a deer, never been accused of being too aggressive by a company paying me to protect people, never ran into a burning building or had a high-speed car chase. Comparatively, my job is safer and my employer more appreciative and I do not feel like I am overworked and underpaid. And because I am not a cop, then my efforts to help the first responder community often go challenged with lack of identification and even a greater lack of trust. But, what I have learned is that most of the time that challenge exists from a third party. A superior officer feels like I won’t be able to help because he knows how he would feel if I was trying. Or, it is his wife who feels like her struggle to connect with her husband will be shared with me because I have never worn a badge and I am not part of the brotherhood. Co-workers, union members, police chiefs, department heads, political figures……they understand the mind of an officer because most of them are one and they know that cops trust cops…..period.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Tackling Firefighter Behavioral Health

Mark Lamplugh - Solid Landings Behavioral Health

Firefighting is a career many dream about doing. I remember as a kid I couldn’t wait to be a firefighter. My dad would take me to the station when a call came in to open the bay doors. It was the highlight of any kid’s life. The day I could join the fire service I was ready to go. I dedicated all my spare time to doing and knowing the fire service. I became a Captain at 23 and started in a leadership role. I took every class available that you could take. Basic, structural, vehicle rescue, haz-mat, fire brigade and many more. If it was available at the school I was going. Unfortunately there was one class I didn't take and that was mental health. The most important part of every firefighter I didn't care for, the mind. I got burned out real quick and got to a point of no turning back.
In 2010 I took a different path. I started focusing on helping other firefighters avoid the burnout and behavioral health problems that plague so many in the fire service. As I started getting more involved I start to realize how big the problem actually was. I talked with firefighters all over the country who had or knew of someone that lost it all. We forget the most important part of the firefighter and that is the mind. Every school I went to and not one training on my mental health. It just wasn’t offered and in many fire schools across the country it still isn’t. We need to start implementing these trainings nationwide. The fire service leaders need to step in and start changing the mentality. We need to change the you are weak to its ok to get help. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

When is it not Post Traumatic Stress Disorder???

Safe Call Now®'s Dr. Laura Brodie

National statistics report that six out of every ten males and five out of every ten females will experience a serious, traumatic event in their lives. Although the trauma may be painful to experience, not every person who goes through a trauma will develop PTSD. Statistics also say that only 7-8% of these people will develop PTSD.   That is a relatively low number in the general population. The exact statistics of how many first responders develop PTSD is not known but to compare, it is estimated that 30% of Vietnam veterans developed the disorder.  It certainly does occur and is painful and devastating when it does occur but there is also a phenomena that occurs where people simply assume that since the individual has been through a trauma, then they have PTSD.

Working in the mental health field and teaching doctoral students I see this a lot. Because there is a trauma, the therapist simply assumes that all of the problems the individual is having are due to that trauma and they slap the diagnosis of PTSD onto the person. This is wrong and harmful. None of an individual’s psychological issues are caused by one defining moment. Individuals are much more nuanced and multifaceted to have every problem come from one source. It may make the individual feel better initially to believe that if they simply solve the one problem they will be “fixed” but it is a naïve belief and they are soon letdown when not everything is fixed.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Police Psychologist... Now Who's Crazy???

With my dear friend an co-presenter Forensic Psychologist Dr. Laura Brodie

I always enjoy seeing my dear friend and co-presenter Forensic Police Psychologist Dr. Laura Brodie (I’ll talk about her later).  As many first responders know, being ordered to visit the psychologist is usually not a career enhancer.  First off they’re commonly sub-contracted by the department and the perception is that they may be biased for the department because that’s who’s paying the bill.  Right, wrong or indifferent the door is wide open to challenge this as the first responder knows that some kind of report is going back to their agency.

With that in mind, do you really think the first responder is going to reveal their deepest, darkest secrets that may jeopardize his/her employment and their ability to provide for their family?  Hence the double edged sword.  If I do reveal myself I could potentially be impacted in a negative manner with my employers.  If I don’t, I suffer inside.  Either way it’s a system set up to fail.  There are going to be a lot of police psychologist out there that are going to “rip” me over this post but I can only tell you about my experiences and those that are reported to me throughout the country by first responders and their experiences with fitness for duty evaluations.

I speak at many conferences and we address the departmental psychologist at great length.  The overall consensus from the first responders is that you’re not trusted, you’re arrogant and egotistical and the only job of the first responder is to “beat you” in all aspects of the session.  Let me explain further.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

You're Just a Cop. For what it's worth.

Melissa Littles - The Police Wife Life

What will it take to see the truth about law enforcement?
Our Law Enforcement Officers are being murdered as well as laying down their lives on duty every 58 hours. They are being shot while sitting at traffic lights. Executed in coffee shops and on their lunch breaks. Lured into ambushes and blown away while removing debris from the roadway, or while responding to an alarm call which was a set up. They are being killed in their own driveways, while off duty. They are being shot inside their own precincts.

If celebrities or professional athletes were being targeted, shot and murdered to the tune of one dead every 58 hours there would be an instant demand for answers and protection. There would be a national cry to stop the violence before it impacted reality tv or sports center.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Safe Call Now® - Bringing you America's Finest!!!

Safe Call Now®'s Captain Brian Nanavaty, 2015 recipient of the Destination Zero Project Award

Our own Safe Call Now® Director of Curriculum and Training, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Captain Brian Nanavaty is the 2015 recipient of the Destination Zero Project Award. The Destination Zero Project is a cooperative effort between the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF). The Destination Zero Project serves to acknowledge effective safety and wellness initiatives that help drive down the risk factors that are proven to lead to officer injuries and deaths. Captain Nanavaty and his agency will be presented the award at a ceremony in Washington DC during National Police Week. From all of us at Safe Call Now®Congratulations Captain Nanavaty!

For more information on the NLEOMF and the Destination Zero Project go to

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Safe Call Now® and Harford County: Employee Development, Wellness and Peer Support

Safe Call Now®'s Captain Brian Nanavaty

Just last week Safe Call Now® President and Founder Sean Riley and Director of Curriculum and Training IMPD Captain Brian Nanavaty trekked to Maryland to present Emotional Body Armor and the Bulletproof Administrator at training hosted by the Harford County, Maryland Sheriff’s Office. Invited and participating were local, state and federal law enforcement, fire service, EMS, federal, state and local human resources officials and local prosecutor’s office.  

Harford County Sheriff’s Lt. Mark “Junk” Junkerman opened with a welcome and a thank you to his agency leadership for having the foresight to bring the unique and innovative training to the region. Sean Riley next gave a thorough introduction into his background and what experiences prompted him to found Safe Call Now®. Riley explained the founding and the mission of Safe Call Now® and how the Safe Call Now® 24 hour toll free confidential crisis hotline and referral network was created and how it is maintained by a dedicated group of trained and experienced volunteer Peer Advocates.

Captain Brian Nanavaty, a 30 year veteran of local law enforcement (Indianapolis PD) followed Riley with a discussion of the development and wellness program he created that partnered his agency with its 1600 officers to promote healthy personal lives and careers from the first day of hire. Topics addressed were educational programs and strategies aimed at new hires and veteran employees that identify potential destructive paths and behaviors and how to develop resources to reduce the numbers of employees experiencing personal and professional crisis.

Friday, April 17, 2015

How to Survive a Traumatic On-The-Job Experience...

By Karen Solomon: Author, Hearts Beneath the Badge

Over the last six months I have had the distinct pleasure of interviewing over forty law enforcement officers and their families. Although not all of the interviews were geared toward critical incidents, eventually all discussions ended there. If the officers weren’t personally involved in a critical incident, they were witness to one or they knew someone who had been involved in one. Every single officer has an emotional scar as a result. 

Interestingly, most of the couples and their children made it through the trauma intact. Their families aren’t fractured, their relationships are stronger, and they can now help others understand what it takes to emotionally survive a traumatic experience. As an officer, you can choose to read this, digest it and move on. I suggest you do more than that; share this with your loved ones.

To survive a traumatic on-the-job experience, you are going to need information and forethought. This will help you make a plan. I am sharing with you what I heard from the officers and their families: what they needed most, what the people around them needed and what their departments needed to provide. It’s easier than you think, and it’s something every illness or injury needs: a CURE – Communicate, Understand, React, and Educate. Four simple steps applied before and after a critical incident could change your outcome.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Self-Leadership & the #1stresponder...

By Safe Call Now®'s Steve Gutzler

Some of my favorite conversations at conferences or workshop trainings is when someone asks me... "How do I become a leader?" OR "I don't have anyone to lead yet, how can I start?" My response is: "You are a leader! Start by leading yourself." 

You have to get to a place where you would actually follow yourself before you ask anyone else to follow you. I've been around dozens of positioned leaders who aren't very effective because they have not mastered the art of self-leadership. 

The key to leading yourself well is to learn self-leadership. 

If you want to gain trust and credibility from others, begin by focusing on the following principles...

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

#1stresponders... The Dangers of PTSD

By Angela Lambert

When human beings experience a great trauma, the effects can be long-lasting and debilitating. Although many people learn to cope with horrible events that they have witnessed or been a part of, there are others who have much difficulty getting past the trauma. Many of them suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a recognized anxiety disorder in which individuals relive again and again the trauma that they have experienced.

History of PTSD

It was not until about 1980 that psychologists and psychiatrists came up with the name posttraumatic stress disorder to describe the particular condition of anxiety that they saw in patients who had endured a horrific event. However, that does not mean PTSD was unknown before then. For as long as human beings have recorded what happens to soldiers after battle, there have been written descriptions of symptoms that are now classified as belonging to PTSD. Ancient and medieval descriptions of soldiers in battle, for example, often describe the fighters as experiencing great fear long after wars had subsided, as well as insomnia and anxiousness among soldiers.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Exhaustion - An Officer's Kryptonite...

Melissa Littles - The Police Wife Life

"I'm fine"
"It's all good"
"I'll get a Red Bull or some coffee, I'm good"
"It's just four extra hours, we need the money"
"We can open presents on my lunch break, it's holiday pay"

Overtime, grant shifts, off duty security..... It’s the way many officers pay their mortgages and buy groceries.  For those who literally find a way to live with extra jobs, it is mind blowing that there are so many departments that don't allow officers to work off duty security.  Those are the officers with completely separate jobs on the side.  They have lawn services, pest control services, construction jobs....whatever it takes to pay the bills.  We are no different. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

#1stresponders... "7 Unfair Myths about Depression"

These seven unfair myths about depression further isolate and hurt people who suffer from depression.  Great information from our supporters at Morningside Recovery.

For years, Robin Williams lifted our spirits with brevity and compassion. Shocking barely captures the emotions we all felt when we learned of his death. While I won’t speculate on the exact nature of his mental health, I will address depression and just how debilitating it can be. If we dispel these 7 unfair myths about depression I believe more people will feel safe and empowered to seek help.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

3 Cities... 48 Hours... Saving Lives!!!

Seattle to DC to Baltimore to Seattle to Yakima, WA.  An incredible week here at Safe Call Now® providing Emotional Body Armor for First Responders training with my dear friend and co-presenter Steve Gutzler.  6,000 miles, 3 cities in 48 hours... a lot of sleeping on the planes, protein bars and protein shakes for meals and little rest.  One thing I can tell you...  We had the time of our life, connected with the first responders and the response was overwhelming.  I wanted to share our 3 days with you and thank each of those first responders for everything you do.  Remember... we probably learn more from you than you do us.  We are honored to become a part of your life!!!
Steve and I having fun with the Yakima first responders

Saturday, April 11, 2015

From Behind the Walls...

Safe Call Now® Peer Advocate Captain Tammy Norton

The public watches many new TV episodes these days of “Orange is the New Black” or “Prison Break” and they wonder, what is it really like to work in a prison setting? Sean prompted me to write a piece for the blog and intimidated I was, not because I didn’t have plenty to say, I have worked in prison settings for the past 21 years-I just didn’t know how to say it.

When you hire on as that new Correctional Officer you never know until you walk through those gates that lock you in-and THEM out-how you are going to feel about this new career choice you have made. I have seen many new recruits turn around and head straight back out the gate once they heard the sounds of the locking mechanisms that are prevalent in my work environment-slam shut. T.V. can’t describe that feeling you get when you are outnumbered 200 to 1 and all you carry is a set of keys, a radio, and if you are lucky, a small canister of pepper spray.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Attention Dispatchers: Now is the Time!!!

Jan Myers

A Couple of Questions:  Why is the phrase, ‘I’m just a dispatcher” still used?  When will dispatchers finally accept that they are first responders? 

Over 15 years ago I was tasked to write an article; an extremely unfamiliar and uncomfortable task required to complete a year long process of becoming a master instructor for California Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST).  This was not a task I took lightly for two reasons:  Being published scared the living crap out of me, and, I was JUST a dispatcher…How could someone like me write an article? 

Fast forward to 2015.  President & Founder Sean Riley from Safe Call Now® asked me to write a segment for his blog, specifically for dispatchers.  I pondered on this for a bit.  I’m no longer fearful of writing, thanks to the 3 plus years on non-stop writing required of a mental health counseling graduate degree program.  I no longer work a radio or telephone system, thanks to a posttraumatic stress disorder diagnosis in 2001 – not that I could not continue the work, I chose not to.  On the other hand, I’ve been blessed to continue to work with 9-1-1 dispatchers, emergency call takers, telecommunicators, etc., by way of teaching at academies in California and Oregon, and participating with pro-dispatch programs such as Safe Call Now®, the 9-1-1 Wellness Foundation, and The First Responder Support Network (FRSN).  Reflecting on these experiences, I continued to ponder … What concerns have dispatchers continued to express in academies and or advanced courses over the years?  What are they fearful of?  Do they still feel unappreciated? 

Monday, April 6, 2015

La Hacienda & Safe Call Now®... Teaming up to Save Lives!!!

La Hacienda's Cade Saurage and Safe Call Now®'s Sean Riley saving lives together in Florida

Safe Call Now® is a 100% confidential, comprehensive, 24-hour crisis referral service for all public safety employees, all emergency services personnel and their family members nationwide. President & Founder Sean Riley had a prominent career in law enforcement which ended in 2005 when he could no longer hide his “secret” behind the badge.

Staffed by first responders, former law enforcement officials, and public safety professionals, Safe Call Now® is a safe place to turn to get help from individuals who understand the demands of a law enforcement career. Volunteers working for this fantastic organization do a private assessment and make recommendations to help aid these real-life heroes in getting them the help they need. Sean and his trusted confidants have sought out La Hacienda Treatment Center to provide these individuals with the information, tools, and programs they will need to make recovery a reality. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

PTSD... The Truth Shall Set You Free...

Happy Easter from Safe Call Now® Chaplain Ron Jones

Albert Einstein stated, “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” Sounds very similar to a principle Jesus Christ taught, “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities” (Luke 16:10). I would encourage the reading of this chapter in its entirety as it holds as much relevance today as when first spoke by Christ.   

Look at what is stated or implied: faithful, honesty, responsibilities, trustworthiness, character, fidelity, management, conscience, habit, honor, opportunity, diligence, foresight, duty, and integrity; just to name a few descriptors. As first responders we have all heard and spoke these words in our oath, pledge, vow, affirmation, promise, or testimony. 

We live by creeds and ethos; no one left behind, we all go home, watch your six, I’ve got your back…   

Saturday, April 4, 2015


Officer Paul S. Buchanan #208

"Police Suicide - The Voice of Truth" - In Memory of Officer Paul S. Buchanan #208, Died by Suicide March 12, 2013

Two long years have passed since I lost my beloved husband, East Hartford CT Police Officer Paul S. Buchanan, #208 to suicide.  I would have never imagined that this would have been my life.  I never believed that I could survive such a terrible trauma such as the loss of my husband to suicide.  This has been a journey that at times has left me drained and feeling overwhelmed.  My belief and faith have been tried by fire.  Yet, I have picked up the pieces of my shattered life and have believed in my husband's message to "...make my death an issue and help other people that are like me..."  My life has changed forever and the voice of truth is prevailing.  My voice, Paul's voice, and most importantly, your voice too.  The voice of truth says that LEO's are suffering - that PTSD is real; that depression and anxiety exist in law enforcement agencies everywhere.  

Friday, April 3, 2015

What Happens when Cops Dream...

Dave & Betsy Smith

I wrote an article a few years ago for titled “Cop Dreams.”  The feedback was immediate and unexpected.  So many people were surprised to find out that they weren’t alone in experiencing these vivid, sometimes terrorizing dreams, and it wasn’t just the cops who were having them. 

When I was a high school senior I worked evenings as a police dispatcher for my local sheriff’s department.  One night I had a terrible nightmare. It was so real!  One of my deputies was yelling for backup but no matter how many times I pushed the “transmit” button, I couldn’t call for another unit. I was unable to speak.  The phones didn’t work.  I was completely helpless.  I woke up sweating and terrified.  I wasn’t even a cop yet, and I’d just had my first “cop dream.”  

Thursday, April 2, 2015

What Happens When I Show Up at Your Door...

As a profession (first responders) overall are a profession of enablers.  Always have been, always will be.  It is something that is learned and reinforced at the basic academy in all the professions.  Our relationship with the general public is dysfunctional, codependent and enabling. That we can’t change right now but we can change how we interact and treat those within the profession when they need help.  

Let me explain, I had the opportunity to place an officer into treatment, his family contacted me and he was in real trouble in regards to substance abuse and I flew out to his state.  Here’s a rule of thumb to remember, if I show up at your front door with your family, things probably aren’t going very well for you in life.  I knocked on the door, the officer answered and saw me (I had met him before), his head went down and he asked how much time he had to pack before he had to leave (it was an easy one and I didn’t have to say a word).  I told him that his flight left in 5 hours.  I had the opportunity to sit with him and his entire family and it soon became very apparent that his significant other needed treatment too.  I will not describe the residence but it also became apparent that just about everything we supply services for at Safe Call Now® was going to be taxed.  Nothing was off the table… food, clothing, finances, marriage counseling, transportation, child care, you name it and it was present in this situation.  Treatment was also set up and offered to the significant other which was not received very well at all.  Remember, when it comes to your well being, I'm laser focused and committed to one mission, saving your life.  I found if I take care of those issues, the rest of life will usually work out for you.