Safe Call Now

Friday, December 29, 2017


A Police Officer is Killed Every 53 Hours in the U.S.

Between 2009 and 2011, line-of-duty officer killings in the US rose a staggering 42%, with overall officer deaths increasing over 60%. Not only were more officers being murdered, more and more were being targeted, ambushed, and slain in numbers. Although 2012/2013 saw a welcome decline, the numbers rose again through 2014 & 2015, and 2016 saw a 56% increase in officers being shot and killed.   

Many are quick to interject politics into these numbers, but all of that aside, there are countless personal stories going untold beneath these tragic statistics. These fallen heroes deserve a voice, as do their families, loved ones and partners who are struggling to pick up the pieces these tragedies leave behind.

For the past 5 years, a production crew comprised of both film industry and public safety professionals has been traveling to police agencies across the country, large and small, urban and rural, candidly interviewing family members, command staff, line officers, city officials and the public in areas that have lost officers. Along the way, they have captured intimate accounts of heroism and loss. Through the words of those who have lived along side these tragedies, these stories will be told. 

The film's powerful narration is provided by Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner Michael Chiklis, best know for his portrayal of Detective Vick Mackey in FX's THE SHIELD.  

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Peer Support & Vicarious Traumatization

By Sgt. Christopher Scallon - Institute for Responder Wellness

Originally posted 5/23/16 on the International Association of Chief’s of Police blog 

Law enforcement has found itself adrift within the “perfect storm” of public mistrust, increasingly violent encounters, and the one-dimensional social media soapbox. The struggle to maintain our bearing, for the purposes of establishing some semblance of order and trust amidst such disdain is taking its toll. The vast majority of law enforcement professionals are just that…professional. It is because of these professionals that I am honored to be a part of an internal system tasked with addressing the inherent exposure to trauma by officers experienced on all fronts; peer support.

As a trauma survivor of a deadly force encounter, I can attest to the need for peer support. At the time, no formalized peer support unit existed for me to utilize. However, friends and a strong wife (also in law enforcement) helped me to find my way again. It was during my shooting review board that a respected supervisor pulled me aside and assured me that I would recover and I would eventually use my personal experience to help others.

Challenge Accepted!!! 
The next few years were dedicated to obtaining the academic qualifications, certifications, and revisiting my experiences with the new eyes of a trauma-informed professional. I became a peer for several non-profit organizations and reached out to anyone I knew was involved in a critical incident. Unfortunately, my greatest opposition to providing help was the stigma associated with asking for it. It was clear, I needed to become a champion for change by sharing my uncensored experiences. I requested to teach a block of instruction for all new recruits titled, “Survival Mindset: Preparing for and Learning to Survive Trauma.” Pleasantly surprised, I was met with an overwhelming interest and acceptance of the concepts. A single class evolved into a sought-after presentation to surrounding police academies, and eventually around the country.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

"Catching Hell"

By Jay Dobyns - Federal Agent. Author. Keynote Speaker

Jay Dobyns was hired by ATF on a Monday in 1987. 4 days later he was shot point-blank in the back by a criminal suspect. The bullet travelled through his lung and exited his chest. He was 26 years old.

While in the hospital, he rejected offers from attorneys who promised millions of dollars in a lawsuit against his agency.

He rushed back to work and for the next 27 years, enthusiastically accepted every dirty and dangerous assignment possible. Some days he succeeded, on others he failed, but all he ever wanted to do was to defend and protect people who couldn’t, or wouldn’t, do that for themselves. Every morning when his alarm clock went off he was excited to investigate violent crime on behalf of the American public.

Death threats mounted from street criminals. At a point in time three international crime syndicates held contracts to murder him, gang rape his wife, torture his teenage daughter and kidnap his adolescent son.

He was again shot in the back. This time not by a suspect, but by the government and executives he worked for; abandoned and marginalized, the threats and dangers ignored.

In 2008, his home was destroyed by an arsonist. Jay’s wife and kids were inside and narrowly escaped. Jay’s bosses attempted to frame him as the arsonist and thus, someone willing to murder his own family by fire.

What came next was corruption and cover-up of proportions that few would ever believe our government was capable of.

This is his true story…

What they're saying about “Catching Hell”

“Jay lived the roles in life that I live to play in movies.” 
Gerard Butler, Actor, 300, Olympus/London Has Fallen, Law Abiding Citizen, Hunter Killer, Den of Thieves

“Jay was the most effective undercover officer to ever tape on a body wire and walk into the Devil’s trailer court. 
God forbid the weak or innocent were ever bullied in his presence.”

- Louie Quinonez, ATF Agent (ret.) and author of the bestseller, Satchel Boy 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Fire Services Psychology Association

Fire Services Psychology Association

Education, Research, and Service

The transformative educational and treatment experiences at The Fire Service Psychology Association are designed to help firefighters grow both in and out of the job. Our focus is to empower mental health clinicians to understand the unique needs of firefighters and their families and provide direct trainings and services to departments. Founded in 2017, The Fire Service Psychology Association is located in Southern California and offers services to departments, families, and individuals. We are dedicated to empowering the fire service through advancing the field of psychology through research. Whether you are a mental health clinician, fire department leader, or someone looking for services, we welcome you. Join us!

The Fire Service Psychology Association provides an innovative approach to supporting the behavioral health of fire service members. We believe through effective education and intervention, we can develop and maintain psychological health for years to come. Founded in 2017, our organization is located in Southern California although we offer services to fire department members across the country.  Our staff is comprised of members specifically trained to treat fire service members.  Are you ready to learn more? Contact us at (626) 765-4951.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The #suckitptsd Campaign

The #suckitptsd campaign was started during the Summer of 2015 when a patient who was conquering PTSD sent this hashtag to Dr. Glenn via text on a day that was particularly monumental in her recovery. #suckitptsd became a mantra, a motto and a campaign that resulted in an overwhelming response from followers on Facebook and Twitter. 

Soon after the same patient created the prototype for the wrist band that is now bringing together a community of first responders, veterans and active duty military members who want to raise awareness, fight PTSD, encourage resilience and help others. If you would like wrist bands, please email Tania at Include a mailing address and the number of bands that you want. We fight this together!

Monday, September 4, 2017

First Responder Burnout and Disaster Work

By Dr. Tania Glenn
During large scale events and disasters, first responders (police, fire, EMS, communications and hospital personnel) who are a little, somewhat, or very burned out often experience significantly more complicated burnout at the end of a disaster. Burnout is the result of coupling extremely high, sometimes unrealistic expectations with good intentions, and not having enough balance in one’s life.
The onset of burnout happens slowly. The process is hard to identify because it can be quite subtle. It happens like this: You enter a career to help others. You work hard and love your job. You put in a lot of hours, work overtime or second jobs, and surround yourself and your life with things and people that are associated with public safety. You work holidays and weekends because emergency services never rest. For a while, this feels great. 

Over time, however, you realize that the majority of what you deal with is the dark and negative side of life. You respond to those who have called 911 only to be met with anger, hostility, disrespect, apathy and sometimes aggression. You see some horrible things. You witness death and trauma. 

To further the process along, you begin to experience the effects that shift work and working on holidays can have on your personal life. If you are single, it is hard to meet people. If you are married, you notice the strains that your job places on your loved ones. You no longer have friends outside of work, and in your mind, you can never really get away from work. At the same time, you may be going through a major life challenge like a divorce, financial problems or the death of a loved one. These types of events are highly demanding of emotional and physical energy at a time when you have very little energy to give. Your personal energy gauge is chronically on empty.

Then we ask you to go to a disaster and give 150% of yourself, possibly more than once. While deployed, burnout sits on the back burner because the mission is so important and meaningful. At this point I warn first responders to not get sucked into the notion that your burnout is no longer there because you are feeling great about the mission. Instead, be prepared for your burnout to be exacerbated upon your return home. Be prepared so you can tackle it.

Monday, August 21, 2017

So When Did Chiefs Become Politicians???

By Safe Call Now

So when exactly was it when Chiefs (Police, Fire, Corrections, EMS, etc.) became politicians?  When did the crossover occur?  I’ve often wondered about this as I watch many events unfold around the country and I see firsthand our 1stresponders being sacrificed due to political reasons to appease others that are within local, state and federal government.  I’m not seeing these leaders step up for their personnel because it’s the “right thing” to do.  Not all of them but I get it under this current climate which still doesn’t make it right.

If you’re pressured as a Chief to fire someone, bring undue punishment on them and those orders are coming from above, you’re going to do it, whether it’s wrong or not.  You have three daughters in college, a mortgage, a car payment…  You’re not going to throw that away to stand up for your personnel and do the right thing.  The day that local, state and federal administrations made the Chiefs part of the decision making process, they essentially became politicians.  You had no choice.  Funny thing about politics is that it is (as my dear friend Charlie Fuller says) a “Befriend and Betray” system.

You pretend that everyone are “brothers and sisters” within the thin blue line, you reinforce it, you have their backs…  Then you have to make a political decision and sacrifice the 1stresponder even though you know it’s wrong.  Befriend and betray… and we wonder why we’re in the situation we’re in.  The day that Chiefs became politicians is the day you lost control of your department.
When I first started in law enforcement in 1987, Chiefs were Chiefs.  They lead and motivated others.  They made decisions and when you were wrong, you were going to know about it, get the appropriate discipline and move forward.  Loyalty, it was there.  No more.  As those of you on the frontline day in and day out do the right thing and protect us, remember you will not necessarily be protected by your own leaders.  The political ones anyways.

Become a great self-leader and always remember that politics is a “Befriend and Betray” system that can only bring you grief.  Stay safe out there, look out for each other and remember…  We need you!!! 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Doctors Think They Know Everything...

Let me tell you about a recent interaction I had with multiple doctors while trying to place a first responder into treatment.  Doctors (most like any profession) do amazing work, have incredible knowledge but when it comes to their overall education on addiction, they don’t know s%&t.  This first responder finally wanted help and turned to the system.  This person was in acute intoxication and sought help through the medical system.  I personally drove the first responder to the emergency room upon his request as the alcoholism was at such a level it was in my estimation impacting their health and wellness.  This first responder is also a long time drinker, with multiple relapses and was drinking a minimum of a 5th of vodka a day.

I’ve placed 100’s of first responders into treatment over the years and have never ran into anything like I did today.  I already had medical assisted detox, residential treatment and a sober escort set up for the first responder.  Problem was, they were still too intoxicated to get on the plane.  Standard protocol would be to stabilize the first responder, sober them up as much as possible through medication and get them on the plane.  It should be noted that in the home town of this first responder there are no adequate treatment centers or detox facilities as they are all the ones where this first responder takes the people they encounter, arrest and commit.

In the ER the doctor refused a standard taper protocol to be able to get this first responder to travel on the plane due to the fact that if they took all of the pills at once they could overdose and die, too much liability for him.  Really???  Doesn’t that go for just about any medication you prescribe?  He had no response for me when I posed that question to him.  I then asked him what about seizures and if the first responder could receive any of that to avoid a potentially deadly situation.  The doctor again refused saying they monitor severe alcohol withdrawal through fluids.  Again… are you kidding me?  I asked the doctor if he was asking the first responder to go “cold turkey” which we both know can be deadly.  He said no, but didn’t feel comfortable prescribing any medication which should be noted is used nationwide throughout the medical industry.  Obviously the doctor did not like to be challenged and our communication broke down and we left.  What a joke.