Safe Call Now

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Politics... Are They Killing Our #1stresponders???

By Safe Call Now President & Founder Sean Riley

Wow…  Look at what’s going on.  I say this all of the time and I will continue to say this and those that work for us and work with us witness unfortunately everyday…  Politics, administrators and the government kill (literally) our first responders!!! Before I go further let me say that in order for my life to get better I had to look within and change myself before I could change anything else in this world!!! 

As I sit back and watch what’s happing to and within this great country it reminds me of my behavior when I was in addiction.  No mistaking it because I lived it, I demonstrated it and it almost killed me and others.  Makes one think doesn’t it?  Let me give you some examples.  The addict in active addiction will try and blame others, call others horrible names, make up things that are not true, throw tantrums, resort to bullying, minimizing their actions, demonstrate and protest just how wrong others are and they will go to great lengths just to prove it and many other bizarre roles which they would have never taken on except to avoid what’s really wrong…  Themselves.

As many of you have witnessed through the mainstream and social media there are many reports and posts that demonstrate the above mentioned behavior, I think we can all agree on that.  When is it alright that those that demand free and open speech and exercise it and when others do and it’s in opposition to their beliefs it is then suppressed, bullied, ridiculed and met with physical violence.  You know who does this, those in active addiction.  Is it fair for me to call everyone in America an addict, probably not, is it fair for me to say the behaviors I’ve seen (on both sides) are addict behavior???  You bet your a$$ it is.  

Thursday, October 20, 2016

I Didn't Get to Say "Goodbye"...

Kevin Murphy E.O.W. 10-05-2016
I write this with a very heavy heart as my best friend Kevin Murphy from the Henderson, NV Police Department took his own life on 10-05-2016.  One of those days where you'll remember for the rest of your life where you were.  I was in Phoenix presenting when I got the call and the news of his death literally brought me to my knees.  It hurt and hurt bad.  I even struggle with the word "suicide" because that's something that doesn't happen to my friends.  I deal with people in crisis everyday and for the first time I didn't know what to do and didn't realize I was about to go into crisis.  I'll talk more about that later but I want to tell you about my best friend.

Kevin was the Director of the Henderson PD PEAP Program (Police Employee Assistance Program) and he has been with Safe Call Now since inception as not only a Peer Advocate but also an Advisory Board Member.  Kevin and I hit it off the first time we met.  Not because we both help those in crisis but because we both had genuine interest in each others personal lives and how each others families were doing.  He's one of the few people that I could talk to about life and keep "work" out of the conversation.  What made Kevin so special was his humor, his smile and his genuine care about me and how I was doing.  At Kevin's funeral one thing that was said over and over is that you always felt "safe" when you were with Kevin.  You know what?  They were a 100% right.

Anytime I flew into Las Vegas I would always tell my wife that...  "I get to see Kev this week".  Kevin always picked me up at the airport and we would spend quality time together and share about "Life".  He also always told me that I should fold any dollar bills I had in my wallet in half and I would theoretically double my money while in Las Vegas.  Really???  I'm a drug addict in recovery, that's not going to happen.  He and I would laugh and laugh, you know those laughs that come deep from your belly.  I was honored to be asked to speak at his full police/military funeral and I just knew I would come up with something so eloquent which he deserved.  To be honest, I didn't know what I was going to say because I was struggling with my own emotions.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Is it Depression or Burnout???

By Safe Call Now's Dr. Laura Brodie

Something that is not recognized by many in the civilian world is that our First Responders as a whole are more psychologically healthy than the general population at the time of hiring. How can I say this?  Well, very few careers require the psychological screening and assessment that First Responders have to pass in order to obtain their job.  In doing such a screening, the hope is to protect the public from someone who is unsafe, but the hidden benefit is to hopefully protect the individual doing the job from many of the psychological disorders that can develop from this type of work.  So, if we use the premise that First Responders are more psychologically healthy than their civilian counterpart, why are we seeing the psychological problems we are seeing within First Responders?   Problems like substance abuse, high divorce rates and suicide?  Theoretically, this should not be happening, but it is rampant. Why?

Mental health professionals are very familiar with issues such as depression and have many tools in their therapeutic toolbox to help. What they are not nearly as educated in understanding is the environment of the First Responder and the issue of burnout.  Research has shown that the leading cause of stress in First Responders is not the day to day rescues and arrests they perform.  Those chores are why the individual signed up to do the job and there is clear understanding of those tasks through the academies and ongoing training.  What is not spoken of is the organizational stress that is killing First Responders. Yes, it’s the slow, ongoing, and constant organizational stress that is doing more damage to our First Responders than any other factor within the job.  As a professor, I have chaired several dissertations that have shown this stress and the gradual breakdown of the individual does not depend on the age, sex or rank of the individual. It appears that the seven-year mark is where the stress can eventually become the most significant issue for the individual and coping breaks down.

Organizational stress is from the departments and the fall out from the public. It is the gradual wearing down of the individual in all the tasks that have to be done to cover one’s posterior through paperwork, to handle the misconceptions and accusations of the media and public and the management of troops when management classes and courses are not offered as a way to help the individual learn how to manage.  Moving up the ranks many times is based on how one does the First Responder job, not how one manages people. These are two different tasks and require a different set of people skills. Both the manager and those below are set up to fail in system that does not allow the training of management of personnel to be as important as the training to fire a weapon, put out a fire or rescue a trapped person. It is set up to fail. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Drug Addicted Cop...

Safe Call Now's Sean Riley

A dear friend of mine always says and he’s right, “We treat our cars better than we treat our first responders in addiction who are going to die”.   When the red light comes on in our vehicles we immediately take the vehicle into the mechanic and have it assessed, evaluated and fixed.  When we’re dealing with the alcoholic or addicted first responder, the red lights come on and as a profession we will enable them to protect our partners (blind loyalty), try to fix the problems ourselves (which only a professional can do) or cast them aside and throw them away as if it is someone else’s problem (the easy way out).  The diseases of addiction and mental health when combined are two of the deadliest diseases known to mankind, yet they are the only two diseases that we allow the first responder who’s brain is incapable of making logical decisions dictate the terms of treatment.  Maybe for fear of not offending them, ending their career, who knows there are many other reasons usually associated with “The Thin Blue, Red, Green Line”.  Ultimately I have determined that the main cause is that “It’s always been done this way in the past”.   

This is why Safe Call Now® exists, an organization that is willing to change the culture and thinking of an entire profession that experiences these diseases at twice the rate of the general population according to some studies and some say even higher.  Who knows?  I just know first responders are dying from it.

I want to educate you about the alcoholic and addict mind and what the first responder may be thinking and doing when they are in this situation.  I am familiar with this because I was “That guy”.  The guy who would lie to your face, smile, tell you everything is alright, convince you that everyone else is crazy, function within the work environment, control the situations, create drama within others to direct the attention away from me and convince you that I was right.  Fortunately or unfortunately I do not think like you.  

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The United Socialist Republic of Seattle???

Safe Call Now

Ahhhh, did I catch your attention???  It’s not what you think!!!  I’ve been very blessed to have traveled this great country and Keynote in 43 states.  I also travel with speakers from Seattle and each of us run into the same thing at conferences from the participants.  When I mention that I’m from the greater Seattle area (I’ve since moved), people always say, “So you’re from that socialist city and state.”  At first I was caught off guard by these kind of comments but the more I presented the more often I heard the same thing over and over as did my counterparts from Seattle.

I started asking around and inquiring why people thought this way.  Many informed us that they felt that Seattle had an over the top liberal, elitist attitude catering to special interest groups and attempted to demonstrate that they were “better” than anyone else in the country.  The more I traveled I started to realize there may be something to this in regards to mental health and substance abuse treatment.  I deal with these issues for first responders on a nationwide level.  Seattle and the State of Washington is a very progressive city and state.

One area that disappoints me and I am going to challenge the cities, counties, State Legislature and the Governor to step up their game in regards to mental health and substance abuse treatment not only for first responders but for the entire general population.  I was shocked to see the services and treatment offered in other states and how far superior they are to those in the State of Washington.  As an organization we are blessed to be working with the finest facilities and individuals in the country and did so because we opened our eyes and went out and searched to see what was out there.
States that most people think are regressive far exceed any treatment platform that currently is in place in Washington State.  I have to ask myself why this is even possible due to the fact that this state believes in helping those that are afflicted in the disease model.  I have to guess maybe it’s because they haven’t seen what we have seen in person to understand that the care out there is what everyone in this state as well as other states deserves.

So here’s my call to action!!!  Seattle, the State of Washington, open your eyes, seek, understand and not rest on our laurels when it comes to getting help.  Reach out and see what other states have to offer and most of all let’s remove the stigma attached to what the State of Washington has to offer and go out and save lives like no other!!! 


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Bull in the Ring... It Saved My Life

Coach Steve Cain

As I get back out on the road for a five week hard run I get this quiet time to reflect on what and who has been important to me in my life.  It helps me to prepare and focus on my keynotes plus it gives me peace of mind.

There’s those people who come and go into your life and then there are those who have had a profound impact on your life and they probably don’t even know it.  I met “Coach” when I was 15 years old, almost 40 years ago (okay you do the math).  I didn’t even know he had a last name because he was “Coach” to me.  He has no idea that I’m even writing this so I may be running a couple extra laps or doing some extra pushups once I post this blog.

To me he was this giant of a man who knew how to play football and had an incredible amount of knowledge on the game, technique, strategy and how to become the best player you could possibly be.  What I didn’t realize until much later in life is that he gave me a gift far greater than being an athlete.  All the things he taught me about the game were important at that time but now reflecting back on it, he was teaching me about how to live life.  I think that’s what I appreciate the most.
Sure I was a smart ass, I was 15, and how the hell he ever put up with me I don’t know.  I do know that he is one of the few people I’ve come across through my journey that I remember what he taught me.  Dedication, determination, perseverance, resiliency and loyalty.  To be gracious in victory and humble in defeat, which neither one of us liked and fortunately it didn’t happen too often.

Most importantly he taught me how to get up when I was knocked on my butt.  That was the lesson I needed most in my life.  “Coach” used to run this drill called “Bull in the ring” where everyone is circled around you, you are placed in the middle and then he would call out a player’s name and they would rush into the middle for mortal combat (so I thought at the time) and eventually when you were in the middle of the ring and so many names were called out for you to battle with, you eventually tired out and would end up on your butt (I did anyways).

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Cop, Trauma and our Children...

By Safe Call Now's Deputy Shawn Thomas

We all have childhood trauma of some sort.  As parents we try to raise our children to the best of our abilities.  We never try to create trauma but unfortunately we do.  It can be caused by things we do in their presence like repeatedly argue, drink a little too much, or onetime events that scar their mind forever.  If you stop and think of early childhood memories, what are they?  Sure you might remember Disneyland but I guarantee you remember slamming your finger in the car door, the mean babysitter, or the time you did something bad and got the belt.  My point is we never want to cause trauma for our children, but by being a law enforcement officer it is inevitable.  

Due to the recent police shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge I was posed a question by one of my friends.  She asked me how the boys are feeling since you and your husband are deputies.  Well, I answered it for my boys not even thinking about how they truly feel.  Being a kid of a deputy myself I should know, right?  Absolutely not!  We all handle life and circumstances differently.  I assumed that they are fine and realize that every day we put our uniforms on and go to work that not coming home is a risk a law enforcement officer takes, which made me think to myself: WTF!!!  What other profession does that to their children and why should they have to feel that way?  Sure my mission is to be safe and come home every night but I can tell you, so was the Dallas and Baton Rouge officers.  So when my kids watch the heart breaking funeral for our extended family in blue, you can’t tell me for one minute that doesn’t create anxiety and trauma in their lives.

So how do I fix it?  Quit?  No, that’s not an option at my age.  Tell them suck it up buttercup, it is what it is?  No, I do the best I know how and communicate with my children about why I choose to be a deputy.   There is nothing wrong with conversing with our children about why we choose to be an officer of the law and why we continue to do the duties we do.  From day one I have always told my boys when I step out that door to go to work, when I’m not with you I am always in your hearts.  So go home safely, hug them, love them and help them understand the thin blue line!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Political Correctness... What a Crock!!!

Chief Scott Silverii (Ret.), Ph.D.

RIP Blue. It's time for America's elected and law enforcement leaders to stop worrying about being PC and take a stand for all law enforcement. Stop crying out that "It must stop" like a child in a thunderstorm. 

Do what you know is right without worrying about your pension or re-election. Is the life of one officer worth acquiescing to the will of an unlawful few? 

If you serve in a position of public authority, it's also time to measure your words. Making statements about police actions even before those involved are afforded due process is the type of inflammatory rhetoric that incites the desperate and deranged. 

Officials can acknowledge a situation occurred and assure a completely impartial investigation will occur without adding your PC comments to pander and appease. 

When did leaders stop charting the course and start waiting for winds of public opinion to blow? Stand in the gap or step aside. 

God bless you Blue