Safe Call Now

Saturday, October 31, 2015

What's Your Plan for an Officer in Crisis???

By Sgt. Mark St. Hilaire

As a professional reading this article no matter who you are and at what rank you are in your agency, ask yourself: What is our plan to assist a brother or sister in crisis?

Your agency doesn’t have one? It is now time for you to have that courageous conversation with your union leaders along with your agency leaders to develop the plan.  There are many precious lives at stake.

Here are the important points I need to share with everyone, especially first responder agency leaders and their union leaders: 


Everyone needs to understand the plan and Pre-incident training is the key for a successful response. Practice and more practice especially for the: What if?

   COMMUNICATION: Very important as this is no time for egos or personality conflicts. Advise all responders what is happening, all vital information and expect the unexpected.  A law enforcement agency supervisor in dispatch along with a supervisor on scene MUST be focused on the task at hand on any suicidal action call.  If you are served by a CISM team focusing on first responders, call them immediately to activate this team to be ready to assist our friend in need and our co-workers who will have their own anxieties to deal with during and following the incident.  Most peer teams have trusted mental health professionals who work with first responders daily and know our culture.

2    RESPONSE: First responders don’t know what the suicide plan, method of action or know if a weapon or dangerous substance or item is being used.  EMS staged near the scene is important along with an assessment of the situation. Can a police patrol team make contact with our friend or has it escalated to bring in a higher trained special response team.  This is why you need the plan: who are our resources if needed and practice, practice and more practice.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Safe Call Now®'s Peer Support & Mentoring Training

Safe Call Now®'s Bulletproof Training Series

We make a living by what we get.  We make a life by what we give” – Winston Churchill 

Peer support and mentoring programs are usually found in the most effective and Innovative organizations. Employee peer support and mentoring promotes a smoother transition for new hires and results in long-term individual and career growth and crisis avoidance. However, less than 1% of public agencies have formal peer support and mentoring programs and most provide little or no training or referral resources. 

Peer support is an integral part of early crisis intervention and involves trained peers responding quickly and effectively to peer distress. Mentoring enhances peer support programs in that it is developmental based and long term. This 2-day Bulletproof Series instructional course provides Peers and Mentors with a proven methodology of successful crisis identification, peer interaction and internal and external resource utilization to promote the healthy development of employees at work and at home. This training is a natural complement to CISM and other peer support training programs.

*Consultation on designing and implementing an employee peer support and mentoring program for your agency is available.

For more information contact Safe Call Now®’s Director of Training and Curriculum, Captain Brian Nanavaty at

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Unleashing the Potential in the #1stresponder

By Safe Call Now®'s Steve Gutzler

When my son Kyle was in middle school, there were a few precious months where I would drive him to school in the morning. He was usually sleepy and there wasn't a lot of conversation. I always made sure to remind him of his "Big 3" as he climbed out of the car:
  1. Be a leader!
  2. Never give up!
  3. Love one unlovable person!
One of our core messages to our kids has always been leadership. Kyle is now a young sales professional… He's leading the way in sales productivity and personal leadership at his organization. 
It all started with a mindset, an attitude, a belief. A belief that you set the example and are a primary influencer. It's been said hundreds of times, you don't need a title to be a leader. 
I encourage everyone to lead where they are today. You don't need a position. You don't need a formal education. All you need to begin is a desire to lead and a willingness to learn. 
Here are five ways to unleash your leadership potential:

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

People Quit People... Not Professions

By Safe Call Now®'s Steve Gutzler

"It's powerful when the first responder believes in the leader. It's more powerful when the leader believes in the first responder."

I often ask first responders at my leadership presentations... "Have you ever followed a bad leader?" I usually receive a resounding chuckle or groan. If I ask for a raise of hands, it's almost always a 100% response in agreement.

My follow-up question is: "How many of you have ever quit a job or made a job change because of a bad leader or bad relationship at work?" Again, an overwhelming response. 
The latest statistics estimate between 65-75% of people leaving companies do so because of their manager. So what kinds of leaders and managers do employees quit?
  • People quit people who are insecure and manipulate their power and position. These are leaders who project fear, suspicion and distrust. 
  • People quit people who break trust.  People who are inconsistent in what they say and do. They withhold information and tell half-truths. 
  • People quit people who limit potential. When a leader has a small self-concept they tend to project smallness on to others, limiting opportunities and personal potential. 
  • People quit people who treat others as an object. These are leaders who manipulate others for their own purposes and goals. Treating team members as objects rather than individuals to be valued and esteemed. 
Here's a formula for retention:

Monday, October 26, 2015

Teach our Children Well...

By Karen Solomon - Hearts Beneath the Badge

There are two extreme ways some people seem to view life. One says, “Life is long, painful, and we all die in the end.” Wow, that’s a downer. Are you sure you want to keep reading? Well, how’s this? “Life is a sweet, melodious journey filled with love and joy.” Much better. But what about the truths in between? What about the balance of dark and light? And more importantly, how do you communicate that to a child? How do we ensure they look at life as a joy and a gift, in spite of the moments when it feels like a chore? How do we let them know they are valuable and their life will be what they make it, not what someone else says it is?

It’s not easy. I know, because somewhere along the line, I didn’t get the message. My failure to see the glass as half-full brought me to my knees. Actually, it was more like I was in sand up to my neck. Laxatives became my best friend, and they are related to bulimia. Bulimia was more than happy to bring in her friend depression, and then completed the party with her close relative: suicide attempts.

Thankfully, hospitalization jumped in and helped me out. She had a little help from the small voice in my head that managed to filter through all the poisonous noise and guide me back to health. This whole process started when I was 11 years old and ended with three suicide attempts at age 25.

In reality, it hasn’t really “ended.” Each day is a new silent struggle, but I manage to get through it by telling myself the things I wish someone had told me when I was young and knowing that while it’s true life will have its end, somewhere in between there will be happiness.

What are those things I wish someone had told me? Well, it’s not just saying something; it’s living and emulating behaviors. Things that will transform a child into a compassionate, self-aware adult. In the ever-changing game of life, there is not one magic formula to prevent a person from spiraling into depression, succumbing to the lies of a bully, or continuing a cycle of violence. We never know what action or affirmation might pull someone from the rubble—so we’ve got to offer as many as we can.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Isolation of our Corrections Officers

By Dr. Olivia Johnson - Blue Wall Institute

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? 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Recognizing the Signs of PTSD

If you need help or just need to talk... Reach out to Safe Call Now®

By The Canyon

When tough situations arise, it’s not uncommon to feel stress, anxiety or depression. Likewise, it’s common to feel disrupted in your ability to cope with the feelings triggered by the event or in your ability to continue functioning normally in everyday life. However, when a traumatic event causes intrusive symptoms that last for more than three months and impact your ability to maintain functional relationships at home and work, then you may be living with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and treatment may be able to help you get your life back on track.
According to the US Department of Veteran Affairs, there are four different types of PTSD symptoms:
  • Reliving the trauma
  • Avoidance of anything reminiscent of the traumatic event
  • Negative changes in perspective
  • Heightened levels of awareness
Any of these conditions can benefit from comprehensive treatment and psychotherapeutic care. Contact us today at The Canyon for more information about how we can help.

Reliving the Trauma
This type of PTSD is defined by vivid memories of the traumatic experience that come unbidden, evoking the same gripping, often terrifying, emotions as the original event. For many, these memories are so real that it is like they are reliving the trauma every time they occur. Symptoms include:
  • Intense nightmares
  • Flashbacks
  • Experiencing triggers (e.g., sights, sounds or smells that cause the memories to occur)

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Law Enforcement Family...

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.

I’ve realized that regrets are useless until they invoke enlightenment. I’ve realized that enlightenment without the next leap of fate is futile. I’ve come to terms with the fact that failure is a part of everyday reality, but it is the knowledge and strength you gain from failure which drives you to determined achievement.
I’ve learned that you can never change the past, but the future is always in your own hands.  I’ve learned that self-pity is nothing more than fear of accomplishment. I’ve learned that low expectations are a form of personal protection. I’ve learned that forgiveness is more about allowing yourself to move forward than allowing those who have hurt you to be free from guilt they most likely never possessed.  I’ve learned that goals and aspirations are attainable only as long as you ignore those who desire to relish in your demise.  I’ve learned you are only as worthy as the worth you see in yourself. I’ve learned ambition is tireless and complacency is deadly. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Godfather of Undercover Work...

Gayland, Sean and the famous Charlie Fuller

Over the last seven years I've had the honor to have an open invitation to speak at The International Associationof Undercover Officers conferences nationwide.  Charlie Fuller (my "Bo") has been a mentor to me and adviser on how to help the undercover officers when life goes bad for them and they require treatment.  Imagine a job where you get paid to drink, lie, drive cool cars and basically do whatever you want?  Not a bad gig... until you come home to the real world and deal with life.

One thing I've learned while training undercover officers and placing them into treatment… that to do well in the profession, you sometimes become the "lie".  Think about it?  In order to achieve the objective in whatever undercover role you adopt, you become an actor.  To stay alive you become adept at becoming a great role player.  If you get caught in a lie when undercover there is the potential that you may lose your life so you become an even better liar than those out there lying to you.  Getting confusing yet, it can be.  The healthy boundaries of life can start getting blurred and obliterated for the undercover officer.

Imagine if you will, being undercover in a role for a long period of time and all the things you despise about those that commit crimes and you start living in that world.  In order to be the best, you become them.  It happens far more often than you think.  Now do this for 10 or 15 years.  Once you become the role you play, your family doesn't recognize you anymore.  You are no longer the person you were.  Admiration and adulation from your bosses and even the bad guys becomes intoxicating and your negative behavior receives valued praise.  The "switch" begins.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Changing Bad Habits... To Good Habits...

By Safe Call Now®'s Steve Gutzler

I found that technology has made it difficult to find time to unplug and recharge, to tap into my inner creativity and wisdom. Researchers from Harvard and the University of Virginia did an experiment in which they gave people a choice to be alone in a room for one hour without anything – devices, books, phones – or to get an electric shock. 67% of men chose an electric shock.  Women were much better… 25% choosing being shocked.
The capacity to be alone, and in quiet solitude is essential for a #1stresponders emotional and spiritual wholeness. I've practiced a ritual hour for years, but I'm now including a few minutes for meditation. For me it is a spiritual practice. I'm retreating to our living room for 5 to 10 minutes and focusing my thoughts on just one theme:
  • Peace
  • Grace
  • Joy
  • Purity
  • Excellence
  • Gratitude
I try to attach a visual image to that day’s theme, quiet my mind, and focused deeply. I'm also trying to be aware of my breathing and slowing my heart rate.
Question: What new habit can you start?
Habits aren't instincts, they are acquired actions or reactions. They don't just happen, they are caused. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Meet Dave & Betsy Smith - "The Winning Mind"

Safe Call Now® Partners - Dave & Betsy Smith

Dave “JD Buck Savage” Smith has been a law enforcement icon for nearly four decades. In 1998, Dave and his wife, police trainer and prolific author Betsy Brantner Smith, combined forces to create Dave Smith and Associates and “Winning Mind Seminars.” Together the Smith’s provide law enforcement training and consulting services that are unique, proven, and constantly updated.

Traveling to all 50 United States as well as to Canada, Mexico, the Balkans, the United Arab Emirates, and more, Dave and Betsy bring unparalleled experience, integrity, and commitment to the ever-changing world of policing and beyond.

The Smiths believe that the best way to honor our fallen is to tell their stories and learn from their sacrifices. Their training philosophy is that “survival” is minimalistic and that we must strive to WIN in every aspect of life.  To that end, “Winning Mind Seminars” celebrates those warriors who have won life and death confrontations physically, tactically, legally and emotionally.

Dave “JD Buck Savage” Smith first presented The Winning Mind in 1987.  Since then it has evolved into one of the most remarkable training experiences that law enforcement personnel will ever attend.  By looking at the key components of peak performance, including who survives and why, the roles that optimism, risk and bureaucracy play in our personal and professional lives, and how individuals and organizations can make themselves truly resilient, Dave presents an entertaining & inspiring program designed to help everyone, regardless of their experience, optimize their odds of winning any confrontation.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Police Officer, Doctor... Safe Call Now® Board Member

Safe Call Now® Board Member - Dr. Marc Gonzalez Pharm. D.

At Safe Call Now® we always strive to bring you the best the world has to offer and with Dr. Marc Gonzalez on our Board of Directors, we have accomplished this mission.  As you will see from his bio, he is one of the most accomplished individuals I have ever met.  What sets him apart from the rest is his passion, dedication and professionalism to saving the lives of those who serve.  We're honored to have him as part of our organization.

Marc Gonzalez, Pharm.D, earned his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Southern California, School of Pharmacy. Dr. Gonzalez is the President of Pharmaceutical Diversion Consultants, LLC, providing training to military, law enforcement, and health care professionals. His consulting services also include  conducting compliance evaluations for all entities registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration, including doctors practicing in pain management; providing education and risk mitigation plans to bring pharmacies into compliance and fulfill their corresponding responsibilities; assisting in applying for Prescription Monitoring Programs; providing speakers from federal, state, regulatory, and local law enforcement; and providing assistance to wholesalers who  struggle to understand and initiate compliance programs under the DEA "Know Your Customer" wholesaler standards.

Dr. Gonzalez also provides expert testimony on all drug related matters from appropriate prescribing to drug facilitated sexual assault. He also serves as President of the California Chapter, National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators, as well as a consultant for the Department of Defense. His responsibilities with the DoD include training and advising military and law enforcement, and participating in various projects requested from as high as the Office of the President. Dr. Gonzalez is currently the lead instructor for the Department of Defense’s Regional Counter Drug Training Academy at Naval Air Station Meridian. He has also trained at Midwest Counter Drug, and Western Counter Drug Training Academies at their resident military bases throughout the country. Dr. Gonzalez has conducted numerous trainings for military investigative services (NCIS, Army CID, OSI, CGIS, and USMC CID) throughout the World. Dr. Gonzalez is currently an instructor for the California Narcotic Officers’ Association and the International Chiefs’ of Police – Drug Recognition Experts. Dr. Gonzalez developed the original section on “Medical and Psychological Rule-outs” for the IACP-DRE. He is also part of the core course for DRE with the California Highway Patrol, Impaired Driver Unit’s “Pre-School,” and the Los Angeles Police Department’s “Re-Certification” DRE School. He has re-certified DRE’s throughout the country. Dr. Gonzalez is a contributing author and editor for training modules for the Coalition "End Violence Against Women."

Friday, October 16, 2015

Where does the #1stresponder's Child get Help???

From PR Web

Sometimes we focus so much on providing for the first responder when in crisis that all of us forget about the children of the first responders.  Today Safe Call Now® is honored to announce our partnership with New Beginnings Adolescent Recovery Center that has built a nationwide referral network for our children.  We only bring you the “gold standard” and with New Beginnings that’s what your children are getting!!!  Read more about our new partners.

NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals and the premier global organization of addiction professionals, has recognized New Beginnings Adolescent Recovery Center located in Opelousas, Louisiana, as its 2015 Organizational Achievement Award winner for its high level of care, support and commitment to the addiction professionals on its staff and throughout the substance abuse treatment industry in America. Johnny Patout, CEO of New Beginnings, commented, “This is a great honor for our entire organization, our treatment and support staff, and mostly for the many teenagers and their families whom we are able to help break away from their substance abuse.” Under his leadership, New Beginnings has transformed from a struggling program in 2011 to one of the leading award-winning treatment centers in the country today.

NAADAC, in announcing New Beginnings as its 2015 award winner, stated that through the recruitment of qualified, Master’s-level therapists, nurses and physicians who are dedicated to providing the highest quality of care possible for their patients, New Beginnings has become a center of excellence for struggling teenagers from across the country. They added that New Beginnings’ highly experienced leadership team, many of whom are in recovery themselves, have offered their experience, training, knowledge and skills in treating substance abuse. In doing so, they have provided real hope for adolescents and their families.

New Beginnings offers medically monitored detox services, residential, partial hospitalization, intense outpatient and extended care programs for patients ages 13 to 18. Its programs are designed to help teenagers break the cycle of addiction while also helping families to understand their child’s addiction and recovery process.