In 2018, CareerCast ranked policing as the fourth most stressful job in the US brought about by the dangerous and demanding nature of the profession. When an individual’s stress is prolonged, they start walking a path that could lead to burnout. This webinar dissects the corrosive day-to-day of the justice profession that leads to stress and even burnout, as well as techniques to prevent it and reverse existing effects.
To talk about this important topic is Dr. Rich Martin. He is a retired police supervisor turned college professor. He has an extensive law enforcement experience across various roles including crime scene technician, undercover narcotics, and field training officer, just to name a few. He then became the Program Director for the Accelerated Criminal Justice Programs at Keuka College. Tying up law enforcement expertise and the academe through his researches, he was able to publish several journals and presented in regional, national and international conferences.
Specifics he expounded on this webinar include:
- The continuum that too often represents the trajectory of a police officer’s career.
- Rich’s experience in the justice profession and why the field must be seen as a vocation, not a mere profession.
- Understanding the corrosive nature of the profession by looking at stress levels in the job, the relationship between brain activity and performance, and its impact on people.
- The two specific sources of stress and the rate from which a new officer shifts from idealistic to a cynic upon exposure to the job.
- The concept of spirituality observed in the vocation of policing and how it is linked to putting meaning in one’s work and life.
- Viewing the spirit as a bank account filled and deposited with faith and hope and drained through evil and suffering.
- The rate of suicide in law enforcement, including the age group and tenure that are most likely to commit suicide, and the key role of hope and optimism in reducing burnout.
- The importance of teaching physical as well as spiritual survival in both academy and career training.
- The road to burnout or compassion fatigue and the three dimensions in which it is manifested.
- What can be done to counter stress and burnout.
- The concept of resiliency, its transformative quality, and the three components to build and foster it.
- During the Q&A, Rich addressed questions about:
- Suicide rates comparison between corrections and other aspects of law enforcement.
- Resources of the facts and figures mentioned in the webinar.
- Introducing the concept of spiritual bankruptcy and how it impacts work performance to management.
- How to encourage subordinates to seek help for problems they encounter.
- Recovering from burnout.
- Asking for a leave of absence due to stress and burnout.
Resources Mentioned During Webinar:
- Spiritual Survival for Law Enforcement
- Man’s Search for Meaning
- Dissertation: Psychological Resilience in Correctional Officers: The Role of Demographics
- The Assessment of Burnout and Resilience in Correctional Officers
- Resisting burnout: correctional staff spirituality and resilience.
- “An amazing webinar. Very impactful. We need more like this. Thank you.” –Wanda
- “Definitely a positive reminder about how important self-care is relative to secondary trauma for first liners and support personnel. Hearing that what we feel is important to our ability to serve others in our individual roles … thank you!” –Devorrah
- “Extremely good presentation. The topic of Burn-Out is an often overlooked issue that strikes at the foundations of Law Enforcement (and humanity in general).” –Michael
- “Great presentation and information. The concepts of resiliency and EQ go hand in hand. Appreciate you sharing your knowledge.” –Thom
- “Great Webinar. I think it certainly helps to have an educated speaker who was a former Law Enforcement representative discussing “Burnout” they can relate to the issues regarding our chosen profession. Thank you.” –Rick
- “I have never heard the focus on spiritual wellness in a presentation about officer burnout, and it was amazing. It was wonderful to put this issue right where so many of us know it belongs. We have all experienced those incidents that “take a piece” of our souls. It is so great to have it formally recognized! Thank you for doing this one, and thank you Rich for that great webinar.” –Hazel
- “I used to have a supervisor who made my law enforcement work very difficult. This supervisor then later told me I had “burnout.” Um, duh. This webinar helped me to sort through this particular difficulty and understand my reaction. The difficult situation resulted in me getting sent to a different unit where I am now doing much better. I thank you for your expertise and time, and am looking forward to “life after LE.” –Catherine
- “This was one of the most informative webinars I have ever attended. Rich is clearly informed and was well prepared on this important topic. I look forward to communicating with him to further discuss some of the points he made. This is related to my dissertation topic and I am grateful that this webinar was offered. Resiliency is key, and I hope to see a webinar in the future that addresses resiliency in law enforcement and correction officers (other than the generic eat right, work out and don’t isolate).” –Caroline
- “While I have always believed that there is a genetic component to resiliency, today’s presentation was extremely illuminating in making the connection between resiliency & spirituality. I have always had a strong sense of leading a meaningful life and a strong sense of moral purpose. So being able to connect that spirituality with my high level of resiliency has explained a lot of things for me, makes me feel truly blessed and has enhanced my ability to better interact with and understand others who do not have that.” –Mary Louise