Service: A Pathway to Meaning and Healing

Service: A Pathway to Meaning and Healing

Families, Leaders, Officers/Agents
[mc4wp_form id="746"] By: Joshua Browne, M.P.S. This morning, I began pondering the mission of Heal the Badge Consulting, or simply put, the reason I have chosen to expend the effort to create articles, organize and deliver presentations, and finish my first book.  I asked myself why I “seek to realize the goal of fortifying law enforcement professionals, leaders and their families, by providing the necessary resilience tools for success within, outside and beyond the law enforcement career.”  I also pondered my extended vision to utilize my “law enforcement and academic experience, to lead individuals outside the first responder community, towards reconciling their traumatic experiences and realizing the meaning and growth embedded therein.”  It occurred to me that while I have articulated my motivation in various portions of my website, I…
Read More
The Healing Power of Autonomy: Attenuating Career Over-investment

The Healing Power of Autonomy: Attenuating Career Over-investment

Leaders, Officers/Agents
[mc4wp_form id="746"] By: Joshua Browne, M.P.S. The Meme of Autonomy The ability to pursue our own course is embedded as a meme or shared relic in western culture.  The concept of autonomy has been communicated in many cultural traditions throughout time, with its western cultural significance manifested in historical events, government structure, media productions and contemporary philosophy.  The founding document of the United States of America, the Declaration of Independence, can be characterized as a forceful assertion of the cultural tenet of individual sovereignty.  This value was so entrenched in the American cultural tradition, the idea of securing individual freedom was deemed worth reckless rebellion against the preeminent world military power, leading to the American Revolutionary War (Burger, 1988).  While the codification of individual liberty, as contained in the Bill…
Read More
Marriage and the First Responder: Defending the Homefront

Marriage and the First Responder: Defending the Homefront

Families, Officers/Agents
[mc4wp_form id="746"] By: Joshua Browne, M.P.S. The Value of Marriage: The new book authored by Adam Davis and Lt. Col. Dave Grossman (2019), entitled “Bulletproof Marriage,” opens with an exchange familiar to first responders.  After locating a new officer in the patrol briefing room, a “pasty looking sergeant” inquired as to the reason the officer was present.  The conversation progressed as follows: “Hey sarge, I was wrapping up some paperwork and heading back out.  About to meet my wife for lunch.”  “You married?  How long?” the sergeant asked.  “We’ve been married six years.  Two kids.”  The sergeant responded, “I give it five more.  Five years on this job and you’ll be divorced.  It’s impossible for a cop to stay married with the crap we see every day.  Good luck kid. …
Read More
First Responder Trauma and Resilience: Remembering the Resilient Majority

First Responder Trauma and Resilience: Remembering the Resilient Majority

Leaders, Officers/Agents
[mc4wp_form id="746"] Unintended Consequences Dr. Stephanie Conn’s (2018) recent book entitled, “Increasing Resilience in Police and Emergency Personnel,” commences with a chapter labeled, “Are Police Resilient?”  She explores the emergence of a growing trauma, PTSD and suicide awareness campaign within the first responder community, examining its positive implications for organizations, as well its unintended consequences.  As one engaged in the culture war, seeking to champion the cause of addressing first responder resilience needs within our organizations, I have often sounded the alarm in my articles, university teaching roles, training sessions and personal communication.  As Conn (2018) discussed in her book, the urgency in some of our communication drawing attention to first responder PTSD and suicide, may inadvertently portray the false idea that the preponderance of law enforcement and fire/paramedic personnel…
Read More
Leading First Responder Well-being: Love as the Catalyst

Leading First Responder Well-being: Love as the Catalyst

Leaders, Officers/Agents
[mc4wp_form id="746"]                  Leading First Responder Well-being: Love as the Catalyst Emotional Well-being and First Responder Culture: Fortunately, a slow cultural shift towards first responder well-being is emerging.  Although much work remains in altering organizational cultural impediments towards realizing greater levels of success in the arena, I am encouraged by the steady positive developments in awareness, advocacy, education and mostly, the burgeoning cadre of leaders wielding love as a catalyst towards leading their subordinates, peers, and superiors towards recognition and action.  Especially in police and fire/paramedic cultures, where steely grit in the face of trauma and tragedy are expected and required, displaying vulnerability by acknowledging or expressing love towards colleagues can be problematic. Yearning for Resolution: Throughout my nearly 19 years in law enforcement,…
Read More
After Columbine: Purpose and Meaning Embedded in the Trauma

After Columbine: Purpose and Meaning Embedded in the Trauma

Officers/Agents
[mc4wp_form id="746"] After Columbine: Purpose and Meaning Embedded in the Trauma By: Joshua Browne, M.P.S. Prelude to Columbine: As a career law enforcement officer, I have accepted interaction with direct and vicarious trauma, as a component of my professional commitment.  I understand I am required to run towards the sound of gun fire, even as others flea, regardless of personal risk to mind and body.  Lt. Col. Dave Grossman’s reference to the “Wolves, Sheep and Sheep Dogs” analogy best describes the law enforcement and military ethos (Grossman, 2004; Grossman, 2006).  According to Grossman (2004), the Sheep Dog confronts and neutralizes the wolf, relying on the empathy he feels for the sheep as motivation to use his gift of aggression.  As a Sheep Dog, I accept the responsibility to protect the…
Read More
Joy in the Process: Reframing Happiness

Joy in the Process: Reframing Happiness

Officers/Agents
[mc4wp_form id="746"] By: Joshua Browne, M.P.S. Unfortunate or Blessed? A couple of weeks ago, an off-duty officer employed at my police department was walking in his apartment complex in route to check his mail box.  Along the way, he was intercepted by two young males, who attempted to rob him at gun point.  It appears the males were unaware he was an off-duty police officer carrying a concealed weapon.  During the encounter, gun fire was exchanged.  The off-duty officer sustained a non-life-threatening single gunshot wound to the foot, while one of the suspects incurred a single gunshot wound and the other two.  Both suspects were apprehended at the hospital a short time later and are currently in custody.  All involved are expected to make a full recovery.  As you contemplate…
Read More
Orientating Towards Learned Optimism and Post Traumatic Growth

Orientating Towards Learned Optimism and Post Traumatic Growth

Officers/Agents
[mc4wp_form id="746"] Orientating Towards Learned Optimism and Post Traumatic Growth By: Joshua Browne, M.P.S. Suddenly Summoned Back on Duty: I reside in a quiet suburban neighborhood in a low crime area, near Salt Lake City, Utah.  The neighborhoods I serve while on duty as a police sergeant, are substantially more active with prolific crime.  I anticipate responding to violent crime scenes while on duty, but rely on the ability to return to a place of safety, where I can enjoy the suburban bubble.  This was true early in my career while working in inner city San Diego neighborhoods and continues as an expectation today. A few years ago, those expectations were suddenly interrupted, as I exited my police issued vehicle after a full day of work.  While in the process…
Read More
Purposeful Planning: How the Execution of Autonomy Moderates Stress and Produces Contentment

Purposeful Planning: How the Execution of Autonomy Moderates Stress and Produces Contentment

Officers/Agents
[mc4wp_form id="746"] Purposeful Planning: How the Execution of Autonomy Moderates Stress and Produces Contentment By Joshua Browne, M.P.S. The Prison Sentence Anyone possessing moderate experience interacting with law enforcement professionals, is well versed in the tradition of officers providing regular status reports on their retirement exit date.  Officers will routinely offer this update whenever a discussion regarding some stressful or other despised aspect of their job is discussed.  Recently, I had a telephone conversation with a patrol sergeant from a neighboring agency.  While discussing the issue of insufficient staffing levels at both of our agencies, he spontaneously offered his personal countdown status, “333 days and I’m out of here.” Although I have never served time in or worked in a prison or jail, I can confidently assert a similar statement…
Read More