Are you willing to help a cop living with the sacrifice?

Do not forget those who have been injured performing their duties

In creating the Living with the Sacrifice column, PoliceOne set out to establish a link with officers living daily with the sacrifice. Many injured and disabled officers, their caretakers and families, feel alone and forgotten. PoliceOne strives to make sure they feel anything but.

We encourage injured and disabled officers to email us. Tell us how this column can better support you and serve your needs. We have long wanted to become a link where officers can connect with each other who are living the sacrifice. Those who are veterans at living with the sacrifice can become FTOs, or mentors, to those who have recently been injured.

Reach out. Let us know if you’d like to mentor or connect with another officer, caretaker, or child of an injured officer. Even if you have not been injured in the line of duty, if you would like to connect and keep in touch with an officer who feels alone and forgotten, let’s us know. More often than not, retired officers have a desire to remain “connected” with the job. Consequently, retired officers might be very well suited to volunteer to reach out to the injured and disabled officers in their communities and beyond. Email, texting, phones are wonderful tools to allow us to communicate as human beings with fellow officers.

Taking Care of Our Own
The greatest tragedy is to have an officer who is living with the sacrifice become depressed or suicidal because of the injury they have suffered and the loss of their beloved law enforcement career. If you are in crisis, don’t reach for the bottle or the beer can. The culture of law enforcement makes it difficult for many to reach out in times of need, but please don’t hesitate to reach out to PoliceOne and ask for help.

We learn early on the job that we must take care of each other — that no one else is going to do that for us. Let’s not forget those who have been injured performing their duties.

Look at how we train. In law enforcement, trainers constantly use incidents where officers were injured or killed as a basis for teaching and instruction. Videos are shown and critiqued. We sit in training sessions and say “that won’t be me” or “I’d never do that.” No officer wants to become the star of one of those videos. Most think that it will never happen to them.

But it does. And our training culture leaves many an officer feeling like their critical incident will be dissected and analyzed by others who weren’t there at the time.

The Internet makes this fact even worse. Dash-cam and cell-phone video goes viral all the time on the web. All this further alienates the injured officers from other officers. Some put their heads in the sand. They retreat into themselves and their own personal hell.

Don’t let that happen.

Healing Can Take a Lifetime
We backup each other on the streets. We speed lights and sirens to assist another officer in crisis. Let’s do the same after they have been injured on duty. Let’s keep racing to assist them in their time of need. That need doesn’t disappear when they leave the hospital and go home. That need exists for months and years after the incident.

How would you like to be treated if you were injured and/or disabled in the line of duty? How would you like your family to be treated? You are only one call for service or high-risk entry away from it being you. Step up and help PoliceOne assist those officers who are living with the sacrifice.

About the author

Barbara A. Schwartz is certified as a first responder peer supporter by the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF) and the Law Enforcement Alliance for Pear Support (LEAPS).
She is a former reserve officer serving in patrol and investigations. She has been a contributing feature writer for American Police Beat for sixteen years. Her articles and book reviews have appeared in Command, The Tactical Edge, Crisis Negotiator Journal, The Badge & Gun, The Harris County Star, The Blues, The Shield, and The Police News.

She maintains memberships in the National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA), Texas Tactical Police Officers Association (TTPOA), and the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA). 

Retired after 30 years with NASA in Houston, Schwartz worked in Mission Control and Astronaut Training. Schwartz earned a degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from Purdue University with electives in Criminal Justice and Criminology. She helped fund her education by working for the campus police department.

Contact Barbara A. Schwartz

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  2. Officer Safety
  3. Police Jobs and Careers
  4. Off Duty
  5. Patrol Issues

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