Category Archives: email

Please disseminate to all law enforcement: Police Week 2019

Please disseminate to all law enforcement: Police Week 2019

May 12-18, 2019 marks the period that we call “Police Week”.  In 1962, President Kennedy designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day, when we set aside a time of “Recognition of the service given by the men and women who, night and day, stand guard in our midst to protect us through enforcement of our laws”.

I, like a lot of you, will attend memorials or private ceremonies during the month. Whether it may be the National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service in the Nation’s capitol, state ceremonies, local ceremonies, or your department is doing something (or all the above) I always tell people that it is important that we do these ceremonies for a couple of reasons.

  1. Sacrifice by those who came before us makes our job safer.

    I think that most (if not all) of us understand this. The methods of policing change often. Sometimes, the changes are driven by sacrifices of those before us. We use seat belts more often (hopefully every single time!) because of those who did not. We wear our vests (every time!) because of those who did not or maybe served before a time when they were even available. We hear a story and think “If they would have had a back-up weapon, they might have made it out OK.” Changes in how vehicles are approached at traffic stops, hunters in the field, or suspects in an interview room are changing because of what has happened to others. Learn their stories, share them, and motivate yourself and others to prevent the deaths and injuries we can prevent by heeding those lessons. When we attach a name and face to something, we work together to prevent it from happening again. We learn from the past, develop better/stronger/faster tools, and use better techniques.

  2. Sacrifice should never be forgotten.

    This should be a way of life for all of us. From the first Line of Duty death of Constable Darius Quimby back in January 3, 1791 to the most recent (at the time of this writing) of Conservation Officer Eugene Wynn, Jr. on April 19, 2019, we remember the 23,711 officers that have paid that price. They were husbands, wives, parents, children and friends. For some, it was one of their first days on the job, and others were preparing to retire. Some were from large departments; others were the only person in the department. Some were from large cities, others from “the middle of nowhere”. A lot of officers and a lot of differences between them. A quote that I often use is from the poet Cicero, “The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.”  Take time to remember them. Tell someone’s story today. Chances are they improved yours.

    Also, If your community doesn’t have a memorial service, consider starting one. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. If you would like some assistance in this area, let me know. I know some people that can help. Don’t let your community’s loss be forgotten.

Thanks for spending a few minutes with me. This message is being read by departments of all shapes, sizes, types and locations. For all my law enforcement family reading this, I’m praying for an especially peaceful and safe week for you: safe citizen encounters, safe traffic stops, safe building searches, and safe DV calls. I pray for a time of healing for the departments reading this who have had a loss in the last year, or with a loss that continues to hurt. I pray that those of you making trips to Washington and state memorials will have a safe trip. For those who are attending a memorial to honor a fallen brother or sister, I pray for healing. But most of all, I hope now more than ever, there is an outpouring of appreciation form the communities that you serve.

I also want to say thank you to everyone who has made it possible for me to distribute this message. I cannot express my gratitude enough for your assistance.

Thank you to each person who has taken the time to read this. You are why I do what I do. Thank you for who you are, and all you do. Don’t forget that people DO care. If I can help in any way, don’t hesitate to contact me.

I’ve said it before and will say it for the remainder of my days. You all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.

 

Dr. Mike A. Crain I, D.Min.
Chaplain
Huber Heights, OH 45424
Blog: https://chaplainthoughts.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DoctorMichael

 

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Distribution: Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS and Dispatch personnel – September 11, 2018

Distribution: Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS and Dispatch personnel – September 11, 2018

As always, I want to give another thank you to all who forward this message to your departments and staff. You trust me enough to share my message to others, and I strive to not make you regret that decision. To all my readers, I hope to improve your lives, at least in some small way. If you are reading this, then I think you might hope for that too. Trust me when I say, it isn’t something I take lightly.

As members of the public safety profession, we took a job that can be physically, emotionally, spiritually and relationally demanding. September 11th continues to show us that seventeen years later. We are still loosing people from events that happened that day. For those that follow ODMP or the USFA we still see Line of Duty deaths tied to that date. That date still also continues to have emotional ramifications for us.

So what are we to do? You know as well as I do, we are never going to outrun tragedy. It will find us, and when it does, how will we make it to the “other side” or to the “new normal” that we tell people about? I think a key in doing that is something I heard in a training class I attended a few years back. OPOTA hosted an Active Shooter Introduction session. One line the instructor said that stuck with me was this: “You have to train your mind to go where your body may one day need to go.” While he was taking about response, I think it is a principle that applies to a lot of our lives.

We may not know when or what degree tragedy will visit us. What we know is it WILL visit us, and we owe it to ourselves, our families and the people we love to be ready for that day. What are some ways to do that? Here are a few (and yes, some we have heard before!) that can help us prepare.

1) Get sufficient rest. (Yes, go ahead and roll your eyes). This bit of advise is almost like people telling us to “eat your vegetables” or “get regular exercise” (Spoiler alert, also on the list), but it is definitely true. If you are deprived of sleep, your mind is not as sharp, our decisions are slower and not as well designed. There is even information from the National Institute of Heath that “Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.” 1

2) Work on better eating habits. This is one of the things that I need work on too. It goes beyond the getting and staying physically healthy. Also notice the word “better”. Drastic changes usually don’t stick so as long as we are improving and moving towards the target that is much more sustainable.

3) Work on better exercise habits. Again, notice the word “better”. Drastic changes usually don’t stick so as long as we are improving and moving towards the target that is much more sustainable. And this is beyond working out. There are countless benefits of activity that gives us oxygen and helps us ward off stress.

4) Train. I had an instructor say that “No one gets smarter under stress.” We all know people who have done something and we ask (or think) “Why in the world did you do THAT?” This also goes beyond our job functions. Do we have a family emergency plan in place? If we do, does it work? If my wife can not reach me, does she know who to call?  If we are out in public and tragedy decides to pay us a visit, does our family know what to do?

5) Take a vacation. This does not have to be elaborate, productive or cost a lot. Rest, relax, re-focus, and spend time with family and friends…where work can not find us. Maybe it’s at the lake, the beach, fishing in Colorado, at a cabin in the woods or a long hiking trail. Just go. Sometimes you have to take a break to “Sharpen the saw”.  2

6) Get/Keep affairs in order. This one may not be near as fun as the vacation, but still as important. Updated wills, information on life insurance policy, department funeral policies, benefit information, etc are all very important things to have available BEFORE bad happens. Who calls your job if something happens off duty, and who do they call? Don’t make your loved ones guess.

7) Give affirmation to people every chance you get.

That’s just a few thoughts. And maybe this can be somewhat interactive. Are you doing things that work well for you? Share that information! Tell your friends, (even let me know via email or you can also put comments on my blog under this topic).

In closing, as always, thank you so much for who you are, and all you do. I’ve said it before and will say it again: You all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.

Notes:

1 https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiency
2 https://www.livingontherealworld.org/habit-7-sharpen-the-saw/

 

 

 

Dr. Mike A. Crain I, D.Min.
Chaplain
Huber Heights, OH 45424
Blog: https://chaplainthoughts.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DoctorMichael

 

Distribution: Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS and Dispatch personnel – Thanksgiving 2016

As always, I want to give another thank you to all who forward this message to your departments and staff. You trust me enough to share my message to others, and I strive to not make you regret that decision.

To all reading this message: For many of us it has been a long year. And in spite of everything going on, you still get up and do a job that is under-appreciated and in some cases ignored. Like I said in my last note, sometimes encouragement is in short supply. I am one of many hoping to change that and make things better for all of us. Thanks for spending a few moments with me, and Happy Thanksgiving!

In this email I want to address a comment I’ve received on more than one occasion. Some people reading this may not feel that they are the heroes that I reference in my ending line. A lot of public safety personnel have the same struggle with being called a “hero”. This is how Doc sees it.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines hero as:

1. In mythology and legend, a man, often of divine ancestry, who is endowed with great courage and strength, celebrated for his bold exploits, and favored by the gods.
2. A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life
3. A person noted for special achievement in a particular field: the heroes of medicine. See Synonyms at celebrity.
4. The principal character in a novel, poem, or dramatic presentation.
5. See submarine sandwich.

We can safely discard 1, 4 and 5 since I’m not talking mythology or food. However, I (and a lot of others I might add) see thinks like running into a burning building to check for survivors, going inside buildings to fight a fire that might easily collapse on you, taking on an active shooter, etc. falls into “feats of courage or nobility of purpose” in my book. I think the problem is that we think of “hero” as one who has a cape, some sort of super power or does something that is non-human. And that just isn’t true.  We look at people like the NYPD, FDNY or other high-profile instances who gave their lives say “They are heroes, but not me”. And without taking anything away from those brave people, the only thing that separates your department from theirs is 2 things: location and opportunity. And if “push came to shove” in your community or a community close to you, it would be you that would be pushing up the stairs into the fire, pushing into a school to get a shooter, or pushing through a disaster area hoping to save at least one more life in the rubble.

I had my hometown Sheriff’s Office and Volunteer Fire Department downplay themselves to me at one point. It was just a “job” for them. Until March 2, 2012 when I (and lots of others) saw them make tremendous sacrifices and go to such great lengths to rescue folks after the Kentucky Tornado outbreak. They still may not like the term “hero”, but what they did was nothing short of heroic. And in my mind, what I witnessed first hand was legendary.

Ronald Reagan once said “Those who say we live in a time where there are no heroes just don’t know where to look” and I think he is right. So maybe instead of looking to others, it’s our turn to stand up, accept the mantle, and be the heroes of our stories.

Finally, as we approach “the holidays”, we all know that the holidays can be a time of sadness, frustration or depression. If you find yourself struggling in this holiday season, don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance. Your departments may have Employee Assistance Care, Chaplains, Chiefs, other supervisors, clergy and/or even friends for guidance and assistance should you need it. I’ll make myself available to help you in any way that I can. Call us, grab us after roll call, or send an email. Reach out if you need to. Life is a battle best fought with others.

In closing, as always, thank you so much for who you are, and all you do. I’ve said it before and will say it again: You all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.

Distribution: Please distribute to all Police, Fire, Dispatch and EMS personnel – Happy Thanksgiving 2015

As always, I want to say thank you to everyone who has made it possible for me to distribute this message. I cannot express my gratitude enough for your assistance. I also want to thank you, the reader. You’re busy and the fact that you are taking a few minutes to hear what I have to say is humbling. I hope you walk away a better or happier person because of it.

During the month of November, lots of people go to social media to daily list something they are thankful for. There are the usual staples of spouse, kids, parents, other family members, friends, their church, etc. The kind of gratitude that warms your heart, puts a “spring in your step”, and just makes you feel good. There are others I have seen, however that are shall we say, unconventional.

– That I’m not a turkey.
– Indoor toilets.
– McKayla Maroney’s “not impressed” face.
– That I “have” to work the day after Thanksgiving, so no shopping for me!
– Facebook . . . because with it, I have visual proof that my friends are eating well.
– I am thankful my kids are finally at an age where they’ll watch my shows with me, instead of making me watch their shows with them. I’m pretty sure Disney XD was causing my brain to atrophy.
– Any day my spouse doesn’t have a saved segment of Dr. Phil backing them up on something.
– I am thankful that I don’t look anything like the portraits my kids draw of me.

Any counselor, pastor, or 12 step program will tell you that being thankful is a key to living a happy life. We all tend to look at the things we don’t have or that we wish we didn’t have, and I’m just as guilty as anyone. Sometimes just listing the things you are thankful for will improve (even drastically improve) your attitude and you moods. So what are you thankful for? What makes you smile when you think about it? I encourage you to take the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas and do some “homework”:
– Write out a list of things you are thankful for, no matter how big or small.
Things like pets, places, food, and hobbies. My list includes the Red River Gorge, Ale-8 (a Kentucky soft drink), and the Florida Marlins. It doesn’t have to be big things.
– Write down a list of people that you are glad you know and have made contributions to your life.
– Write down a list of surprises that made you happy (Finding $10 in the parking lot, someone buying my lunch, surprise birthday party, etc.)

And then once you have your list, see if you can add anything regularly. Consciously LOOK for things to be happy for and see if you don’t feel better.

Finally, as we approach “the holidays”, we all know that the holidays can be a time of sadness, frustration or depression. If you find yourself struggling in this holiday season, don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance. Your departments may have Employee Assistance Care, Chaplains, Chiefs, other supervisors, clergy and/or even friends for guidance and assistance should you need it. I’ll make myself available to help you in any way that I can. Call us, grab us after roll call, or send an email. Reach out if you need to. Life is a battle best fought with others.
I’ve said it in every email, and every chance I get. I’ve said it to the chiefs and administrators when I contact them. I’ve said it to you on the parks and restaurants. You all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.

Distribution: Please distribute to all law enforcement personnel – Police Week 2015

As always, I want to say thank you to everyone who has made it possible for me to distribute this message. I cannot express my gratitude enough for your assistance. I also want to thank you, the reader. While I can’t visit with each of you individually, I can, however, remind and show you that people DO care. This message is being read by departments of all shapes and sizes. To each of you, welcome. I know you’re busy and you do a lot to get ready for your shift. So thank you for reading.

May 10-16 this year is Police Week. It was designated by President Kennedy in “recognition of the service given by the men and women who, night and day, stand guard in our midst to protect us through enforcement of our laws”. Some of us will go to memorials, or private ceremonies, or just sitting around reminiscing about our fallen comrades. Most of us do something so we remember, so we never forget. As Cicero wrote, “The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.” I encourage you to take time to remember.

There has been so many events occurred over the past year, and I’m sure I don’t need to mention most of them. They are common names and places now, that one year ago most of us had not heard of. I wanted to use this note to share some insight I have been given. Insight that some of you reading this note have given me over the last year. Some of you reading this have shared your thoughts, hurts, anger and frustrations. You are under a spotlight more than ever. Some of you feel that your job is hated, or no longer matters. You feel that the average citizen does not notice, or worse, does not care. I have heard from officers in different places about the environment we find ourselves in. Public opinion is brutal, and unfortunately for us it’s been turned in our direction. So here are some things I want you to remember:

1) Eventually some (if not a lot) of the negativity will die down. There will likely always be some that will cause us heartaches or headaches. But it will get better. Humans go in cycles, and people will movie on to other things.

2) Stay strong, prepared, and optimistic. It’s my mission to help people not lose hope, even though it would be easy to do given the times. Keep training. Keep doing those extra checks. Keep “sharpening your saw”. Keep doing what you do. Tell a joke or two in roll call. I was on a ride along with a department, and the supervisor bought pizza for all of us. I thought it was great. It’s the little things in life that keep us going sometimes. So don’t neglect them.

3) You still have a lot of support, perhaps more than you think. There are thousands and thousands who support Law Enforcement, but maybe not as vocal as some of us. Just keep doing what you do, and the support will rally around you when you need it. Just don’t be afraid to ask.

4) Your role in society is just as important as it ever was. Maybe it’s even MORE important. Sometimes all of us look at our jobs and question “Is it worth it?” But in today’s environment, this one can be hard to remember. You are the ones who keep us safe from the evils in society. You are the sheepdogs keeping the wolves at bay, away from the sheep.

5) Don’t forget your support network. Maybe you were just on the receiving end of someone’s verbal abuse (or worse). Find someone who can remind you that everyone is not like that. Maybe you were on the receiving end of someone’s generosity. Share it. Bring those cards from that kindergarten class in to work. Someone bought you lunch, or the new K9 unit some dog treats, then talk about that. If you have good stories, share them on social media. Talk to your chaplain. If your department doesn’t have one, find out if a someone close to you does.

For all the law enforcement reading this, I’m praying for a peaceful and safe week for you. Safe traffic stops. Safe building searches. Safe DV calls. I pray for a time of healing for the departments reading this who have had a loss in the last year. I pray that those of you making trips to Washington and state memorials will have a safe trip. For those who are attending a memorial to honor a fallen brother or sister, I pray for healing. But most of all, I hope now more than ever, there is an outpouring of appreciation form the communities that you serve.

In closing, thank you for all you do. I’ve said it before and will say it for the remainder of my days. You all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.

Please distribute to all Police, Paramedic, Fire and Dispatch personnel – Merry Christmas 2014

First, I again want to say thank you to all the Chiefs, Sheriffs, Officers, Administrators, and fellow Chaplains who have made it possible for me to distribute this message.

I wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. For those of you in stations or cars working during the holidays, we appreciate the sacrifices you and your family are making while ensuring our safety and security. It does not go unappreciated or unnoticed.

If anything marks the holidays, it’s a sense of gratitude (hopefully). I know that we sometimes see the worst that society has to offer, and the holidays may seem like anything but gratitude. But what I’m coming to know more and more as I get older, that gratitude can be anywhere, and will be there when you least expect it. Sometimes you just have to know where to look. Just like most people, I can get disappointed, agitated, disillusioned, or just plan cynical. Sometimes we have bad days. Today, as I write this email, it was a bad day for me. Horrible really. But then took time to read a card I got in the mail. It was from a dispatcher far away from where I live who read my email and took the time to reply and it turned my day around (and if that person reads this before you get my reply, it is coming!).

So what do we do when we get to the end of the year and our “tank is empty” so to speak?

  1. Count your blessings  – A wise person challenged me to do a gratitude jar recently. So you get this jar and every time something good happens to you, you scribble it down and put it in the jar. Someone buy your lunch? Out it in the jar. Someone shook your hand at the gas station? Put it in the jar. Find a $5 bill in a parking lot? Put it in the jar. Then when you have those bad days, look at the jar. Maybe even read some. Use than money to buy your lunch.
  2. Open your eyes – If you tell me nothing good ever happens to you, or that no one ever cares, I challenge you to look closer. It might not happen every day but I bet that more happens than we notice! And the mid has a funny way of working. If you start noticing even the small things over the next few weeks, guess what will happen. You will see more good things than before.
  3. Don’t wait for big things – Some people wait forever for their “ship to come in” and it never does, so they get disillusioned. Life is too short. Take note of the small things. If you wait your whole life to win the lottery, you will be passing up so many good things that others would give anything for.
  4. Have “A Person” – Have someone in your life that can call you out when you are in a dark place. I have a few that can do that. When I start the “woe is me” they get to tell me what I am failing to see. Let me be honest, no one likes being called out. But it just might help you see how good things really are.

In closing, I know that some of you think that this is all crazy. You “live in the real world”. Maybe you don’t see anything good in your life right now. Just give what I said a try. What do you have to lose? If I’m wrong then all you are out is a few minutes and a dollar for a jar. But, if I’m right, you can be happier this time next year.

During the holidays, I always put in this information, because I know that someone may need it. The holidays are meant to be times of joy, happiness, time with those we love and hope. While it can produce stress for even the best of us, for some of you can be a time of sadness, frustration or depression. It can be hard to balance out what you have to deal with and still know that there are great people in society as well. I also know that it’s hard for us to reach out sometimes (and I’m no exception to this rule). If you find yourself struggling in this holiday season, don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance. Your departments may have Employee Assistance Care, Chaplains, Chiefs, and any other Supervisor available for help. There is also other Clergy and/or even friends for guidance and assistance should you need it. My phone is always on and I’ll make myself available to help you in any way that I can. Call us, grab us after roll call, send an email. Reach out if you need to.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and best wishes for 2015. I’ve said it before and will say it again, you all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.

Distribution: Please distribute to all law enforcement personnel – Thanksgiving 2014

As always, I want to say thank you to everyone who has made it possible for me to distribute this message. I cannot express my gratitude enough for your assistance. I also want to thank you, the reader. You don’t have to read my notes, but you do. Because of that, I hope you walk away a better or happier person because of it.

For some of us, it has been a rough year. It’s been a year of the media frenzies. We have added pressure to get the support of the public more than before, all that on top of our regular training and our jobs. I can be tiring, and if we let it, it will kill our satisfaction with our careers and the jobs that we do. It can turn us into bitter people…if we let it.

I know holidays are stressful times for us. Everyone running around, running to the store, running to get this or that. Schedules can make that even worse. We may celebrate Thanksgiving on Friday with our family because we have to work all day on Thursday. Maybe we get off in time, but because of “the job” we don’t feel like being thankful for anything. Most of us have heard the Nietzsche quote “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” You fight with monsters. It may be monsters of crime, destructive natural events, fire, and death. It’s a fight that you wage every day. You slow people down because “Speed kills”. You tireless work to get the message out to “change your batteries when you change your clock”. You are constantly working against the “golden hour”. So what do we do to break the cycle? What do we do to shield ourselves from the “abyss” and fight back our inner monsters? Here are some tips that I’ve come up with and some that others have given me:

1) Don’t take work home with you. Most of us have things that we do so we don’t “bring the job home”. But what if we have to work Thanksgiving? I’ve had spouses tell me that they celebrate the next whole day that their officer is off. So whatever day you are off, be off. Set it aside for you and your families.
2) Do something unexpected for someone. I know that you give A LOT on your jobs, so asking for more may seem too much. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, and they don’t even have to know. You can leave a card in someone’s box. You can leave a gift certificate to someone that needs help. You can invite a friend over for dinner who doesn’t have anywhere to go. I always feel happier when I do something for someone else.
3) Make a list of things you have to be thankful for. We see it on social media during this time of year. But you don’t have to do it that way. Write down a list and look at it every day. Add stuff along the way.
4) Watch a cartoon. Seriously. I’m going to watch “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” with my family.
5) Do something crazy or fun that you normally wouldn’t do. One year one of our officers wore a Santa hat to work on Christmas. I personally thought that was great.
6) Take some time to find your family history. This may take some time, but it will be worth it. You can find out all kinds of things online.

Finally, as we approach “the holidays”, I usually advise that the holidays can be a time of sadness, frustration or depression. If you find yourself struggling in this holiday season, don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance. Your departments may have Employee Assistance Care, Chaplains, Chiefs, other supervisors, clergy and/or even friends for guidance and assistance should you need it. I’ll make myself available to help you in any way that I can. Call us, grab us after roll call, or send an email. Reach out if you need to. Life is a battle best fought with others.

I’ve said it in every email, and every chance I get. I’ve said it to the chiefs and administrators when I contact them. I’ve said it to you on the parks and restaurants. You all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.