Category Archives: Police

Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS and Dispatch personnel – Thanksgiving 2019

Distribution: Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS and Dispatch personnel – Thanksgiving 2019

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.

At one point in my life when I was having a deep struggle, I had a wise mentor give me some amazing advice. Since you are reading this today, it is something I’m going to share with you. He told me “Most problems aren’t because of something you don’t know, they are because of something you know and aren’t doing.”
Holy cow, that was big for me. I began to look at my life and the struggles I was facing, and it was mostly true across the board. I began to look at my job, my relationships, my friendships, my personal growth time and other areas that were a struggle for me. I wasn’t doing the things that I already knew to make those relationships and those areas of my life successful.

For example: my relationship with my family. That didn’t need another seminar. I didn’t need to learn new “tactics”, new skills, etc. I needed to put into practice the things I already knew to do. My family needed my time. They needed that time more than Facebook and Twitter did. So one of the changes I made was that I would set one night a week aside as family time. No meetings, no ride alongs, no phone calls that night. If something urgent AND important came up, that day was then moved to compensate that. (I say urgent AND important because sometimes things are urgent but are not significant at all. I had to use the skill of prioritizing that I had already learned and apply it.). I did things I already knew and was not doing and it made a HUGE difference.

Another example: I was often VERY ANGRY at the slightest irritation. I often wondered “Where did that come from?” But I looked at my schedule and habits and noticed I was not getting near enough rest, nor was I getting time to exercise. So I began to cut some things out of my life that I knew were “time wasters”. I made rest a priority. I made getting out and hiking a priority. Then I began to notice a SIGNIFICANT change in this area in my life. (I could also talk about my eating habits too). Again, I did things I already knew and was not doing and it made a HUGE difference.

So are there areas that you are struggling in? Are relationships in your life that once were flourishing and brought joy to you now going in the other direction? Maybe being at work is a source of frustration when it used to be challenging and exciting. Identify what isn’t working, then develop a plan to do something about it. Trust me, playing the ostrich and sticking your head in the proverbial sand will not help you in the long run. I know through experience.

”But what if I don’t know where to start?” you may ask. That’s an easy one. Find someone who does. Peers can sometimes be a source of information (we all know that person who is enamored with their spouse after being married forever. What do they know that I am not considering?). Sometimes we have to turn to counselors (I know, some people in Public Safety avoid them like they all have a contagious disease) , and chances are you know one and you wont need 10 years of sessions to figure out what you need. Maybe even consider chaplains, ministers and clergy in (or out) of your jurisdiction.  The point here is this: Why should your life be any more stressful, anxiety-filled or painful than it needs to be. Make 2020 better than 2019, and start that TODAY.

I always add this in for the holidays. We all know that the holidays can be a time of sadness, anger, frustration extra stress 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 (my contact information is at the bottom) 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, and it’s most successful when fought alongside 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.

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

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

 

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.

Thoughts on the Dr Phil interview with the mother of Michael Brown

I used to like Dr Phil. I mean, catchy southern expressions, and a “say it like it is”  discussion, what’s not to like? But after the recent interview with the Mother of Michael Brown, I’m not sure I can support him any longer. Brother Kenneth Hagin used to say “Be as smart as an old cow, eat the hay and spit out the sticks”, so I can tolerate some things from people that I disagree with.But his seeming anti-police (and in this case anti-Darren Wilson) thoughts can not be tolerated.

Look, are we still sticking by the “he was a good kid” story? Haven’t we seen the videos of not only the store robbery moments before, but other videos that testify that his character wasn’t quite as wholesome as some would have us believe?  Come on, both investigations cleared Wilson. The actual facts, scientific evidence, lines up with his story, not the “hands up, don’t shoot” lie that was told time after time. it’s been said “If you tell a lie long enough people start to believe it”, and the “Hands up” is just that kind of lie.  so I am asked to make a choice between an officer with a good record whose story is backed by facts, or the story told by a criminal about a FELON (which is what Brown became after his assaults) which has no basis in fact. I think I know which story I would choose.

Then he asks”Has anyone apologized?” I seem to recall Darren Wilson saying he was sorry it happened in his interview. But even if that is not the case, why should I expect a man to say “I’m sorry that I chose to defend my own life against a much larger man that was attacking me?”

The apologies need to come FROM the Brown family and those who surrounded them that kept the lies going. To Darren Wilson for having to defend his life from a criminal attack.To the city of Ferguson of which they said “Burn this @#$%@ down” and to the shop owners in Ferguson who lost their livelihood because the crowd was incited by the lie that Brown was just a good kid and Wilson was the monster. And an apology to every cop who has hesitated in the moment when they have to choose to defend themselves from a criminal attack because they are afraid of being the next Darren Wilson. And to every one of us who were called racists, bigots, or backwater hillbillies who dared to show their support for Darren Wilson.

Sorry Dr Phil, this one was over the top.

Distribution: Please distribute to all law enforcement personnel – Police Week 2016

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, sizes and locations. 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 and I hope it will be beneficial to you.

May 11-17, 2016 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. Some of you may just gather together to reminisce about our fallen comrades. Most of us will do something so we remember them and never forget what they have done for us.

As Cicero wrote, “The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.” During this time, I think it is fitting to ask ourselves “What am I doing to bring honor to their memory?” The way I look at it, I’m the product of many people back in my family tree.  I could be dramatically different, or maybe not even be here today if one of those couples had not met. I might not think the same; feel the same, like the same things. So I feel that I owe it to them, to my family, both here and no longer living, to be the best version of me that I can. The harsh reality of that, however, is that some days I live up to that, and some days I don’t.

So how does that affect us in our career? How do we bring honor to those who have come before us in our career? Here are a couple of thoughts that I think may help us do that.

1) Live life to the fullest.  This means different things to different people. Donate time to a church or charity. Volunteer in the neighborhood or homeless shelter. Play basketball with the neighborhood kids. Attend a 12 step program or finally kick that habit that has been a thorn in your side.  Maybe start a group workout.  Help someone with a hobby you have in common.

2) Never stop growing. Life is an unending series of changes. Make some on your terms. Never stop training. Never stop learning. Read a book, take some training time, learn another language, skill or talent.

3) Tell the stories for those that came before us. Those that are just starting their careers need to hear the stories of those that came before us. Why do we do things a certain way? There is probably a good reason, find it and tell the story. That guy who told great jokes when someone was having a tough day, tell his story. Share the stories of those officers that your department has on a memorial wall. Set aside a day in the memory of an officer to do special events in your community, or to the less fortunate.

4) Learn from costly lessons. Some of the changes in the way we do things are learned by sacrifices of those before us, like seat belts, vests, back up weapons, traffic stop safety etc. 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. Take those accidents from the realm of “statistics” or something that happens somewhere else and allow it to motivate us to help one person at a time, maybe that officer that may be in roll call with us next time.

For all law enforcement reading this, I’m praying for a peaceful and safe week for you: 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.

In closing, thank you for who you are, and 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.

 

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

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.