Because I had participated in a Women's Self-Defense program (rape prevention) in 2013 and had met and conversed with our female police chief, I finally learned what actions I needed to take should another incident occur. This time, I took action.
Within a short amount of time, a fellow tenant who is about 70 years old and is in my exercise program told me about his participation in the Citizen's Police Academy. I had seen posts about it on Facebook. He had also participated in the Active Shooter program and recommended I go to one. He said the information was valuable because it can happen anywhere. While I haven't seen when it will be offered again, I became interested in brushing up on the skills I learned in 2013.
If something more intense had unfolded with this individual, would I have remembered how to protect myself? Just when I was feeling 'safe' someone I never suspected turned out to be dangerous. A short time after I filed my complaint, he was arrested for assault with bodily injury of a family member... and it wasn't me... but could have been.
In the meantime, I received an email from Critical Bench (which I subscribe to) about Mike Gillette's self-defense program. I was curious after reading the description on this website in addition to being intrigued at the timing of receiving it and purchased the program with the promotion price. You can check it out here: Real Life Self Defense. The videos provide me with just what I wanted to know.
Also, in the meantime, I grew curious about the word resilience again. Talking to someone who is involved in Citizen's police raised questions about what makes firefighters and police officers resilient. (along with military personnel)
I last wrote a post about resilience in 2015. You can read it here. The Many Faces of Resilience When I first learned about Resilience, I was fascinated... because I realized I didn't have it. Each time something "traumatic" happened to me, I adopted the belief that I was powerless to do anything to protect myself.
I Googled "what makes firefighters and police officers resilient" and found two articles of interest. The first is Resilience among first responders
In this article, three elements were studied: Sense of Community, Collective Efficacy, and Self-efficacy.
"The results of this study outline the need of interventions aimed at the promotion of resilience factors rather than the treatment of negative health symptoms."
"Stamm introduced the concept of Compassion satisfaction, defined as the benefits that individuals derive from working with traumatized or suffering persons. These benefits include positive feelings about helping others, finding meaning in one's effort and challenges, fulfilling one's potential, contributing to the work setting and even to the greater good of society, and the overall pleasure derived from being able to do one's work well."
"Efficacy beliefs pertain to the individual beliefs in one's own capability to exercise some measure of control over in one's own functioning and environmental events."
"The results of this paper evidence the protective role of self-efficacy, collective efficacy and sense of community in emergency rescue work." "We discovered that efficacy beliefs and sense of community have an influence on work related health outcomes, especially compassion satisfaction."
Mmmm. Good information! It helped me to understand what was missing in my inability to develop resilience in my earlier years.
The second article I found is Five Ways to Promote Officer Resilience
Dr. Jarrod Sadulski, a 20-year law enforcement veteran and criminal justice professor at American Military University (AMU) wondered what I wondered:
“I’ve seen police suicides. I’ve seen stress ruin marriages and ruin officers’ lives,” he said. Still, there are many who manage to avoid such tragic outcomes, Sadulski noted. “I’ve also seen officers who are highly effective at managing stress and I’ve always wondered what the difference was.” He noted five factors.
1. Peer support through communication – Peer support allows officers to actively process their stress by talking to others who have had similar experiences.
2. Experience – “I thought experience would be a stressor, but all participants mentioned that it actually helped build resilience,” said Sadulski. “It helped them put traumatic experiences in perspective.” Over time, experienced officers learn to develop conditioned responses to stress and are even able to view emergency calls as routine in nature.
3. Family Support – “Officers who are able to communicate with their spouses regarding what occurs out in the field reduces the long-term impact of stress,” said Sadulski.
4. Life and identity outside of policing – Maintaining a holistic identity separate from the badge allows officers to unwind when they’re not on the job.
5. Police Training – “Stress management training should be established through the police academy and it should be a part of annual block training that is required for offices to maintain their certifications,” said Sadulski.