Books of Interest

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Police Suicide: Is Police Culture Killing Our Officers?
by Ron Rufo
Provides realistic insight into the life of a police officer through a police officer’s eyes. Presenting invaluable lessons learned by a Chicago police officer with more than 20 years of experience, it supplies detailed accounts of what an officer goes through to survive on the streets, as well what he or she gives up in return. A must-read for every new recruit and anyone currently working in law enforcement, this book addresses the critical issues involved with an occupation in policing. Providing comprehensive coverage of the subject, it includes coverage of police culture, stress and burnout, personal issues, emotional survival, suicide prevention, risk factors, and PTSD. The book is practical enough for line officers and has enough theory for an academic course on police stress and suicide.

Once Upon a Crisis: A Look at Post-traumatic Stress in Emergency Services from the Inside Out
by William May
An informative true story about a police officer cross-trained in law enforcement and emergency medicine that takes many unexpected twists and turns over a thirty-year career. An up-close account of surviving loss that takes a good look at post-traumatic stress from the inside out. A must read for emergency service workers, those close to them, anyone considering a career in the emergency response field, or anyone trying to overcome personal loss.

I Can’t Get Over It: A Handbook for Trauma Survivors
by Aphrodite T. Matsakis PhD
In this ground-breaking book, Dr. Matsakis explains that post-traumatic stress disorder affects not just soldiers, but also suruvivors of many other types of trauma including:

  • crime
  • vehicular accidents
  • rape
  • family violence
  • sexual abuse
  • natural catastrophes

Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement: A Guide for Officers and Their Families
by Kevin Gilmartin, PhD
Dr. Gilmartin is a behavioral scientist who specializes in issues related to law enforcement. With twenty years of police experience under his belt, he currently provides service to the law enforcement community as a consultant. In writing this book, it was his goal to aid officers and their families in maintaining and/or improving their quality of life both personally ad professionally.

Force Under Pressure: How Cops Live and Why They Die
by Laurence Blum
Describes the sources of danger, injuries, and victory to police officers in a down-to-earth, readable style. Blum’s main point is that there are missing “ingredients” in the training and socialization of police officers. In his book, these ingredients include techniques and tools to condition the officer’s decision-making and concentration during conditions of emergency; internal controls necessary to maintain the will to survive; and aids that will prevent officers being defeated by any threat. Blum offers tools to help police officers cope with unanticipated or rapidly changing encounters.

Deadly Force Encounters: What Cops Need To Know To Mentally And Physically Prepare For And Survive A Gunfight
by Loren W. Christensen
In a cop’s world it’s kill or be killed, but the truth of the matter is that a shooting’s aftermath is often the most dangerous time for the cop. This unique life- and career-saving manual contains every shred of critical information the police officer needs to survive the media, investigations and more.

So Others Might Live
by Terry Golway
On September 11, 2001, the courage and sacrifice of the New York City Fire Department inspired the nation, giving new meaning to the word “hero.” But the heroism of the firefighters was not unique to September 11–it has been part of the FDNY’s tradition from the very beginning. Journalist Terry Golway, whose father, father-in-law, godfather, and uncles were all New York firefighters, tells as no one else could the story of the men and women, tragedies and triumphs of the FDNY throughout its history. From the original eighteenth-century volunteer force to the New York Firefighter unit in the Union Army, from the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire to the arson epidemic of the 1970s, to contemporary issues of diversity and efficiency, Golway’s history holds up a mirror for firefighters throughout the U.S.

The PTSD Workbook: Simple, Effective Techniques for Overcoming Traumatic Stress Symptoms
by Soili Poijula and Mary Beth Williams
Based in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), the book is extremely accessible and easy-to-use, offering evidence-based therapy at a low cost. This new edition features chapters focusing on veterans with PTSD, the link between cortisol and adrenaline and its role in PTSD and overall mental health, and the mind-body component of PTSD.

I Love a Cop: What Police Families Need to Know
by Ellen Kirschman
Nothing worth doing is easy–and that includes loving a cop. Being a member of the law enforcement community is a source of pride for officers and families alike. But long hours, unpredictable shifts, and the crisis-driven nature of the profession can turn life on the home front into an emotional roller coaster. Dr. Ellen Kirschman, a psychologist who’s worked with police officers for more than 30 years, gives you practical ways to deal with the challenges that come with the territory.

Police Suicide: Tactics for Prevention
by Dell P. Hackett and John M. Violanti
This book provides information on dealing with law enforcement officers in crisis. Depression, substance abuse, domestic abuse, and suicide can be a part of law enforcement. Most of those individuals completing suicide often communicate their suicidal intent to someone. A successful intervention, by those trained in suicide prevention/intervention skills, can save lives.

After I Pulled the Trigger: Surviving Suicide’s Lie by Clinging to Hope’s Truth
by James Atkinson
Each year in the United States, according to the CDC, approximately 34,000 people die from suicide. On January 24, 1986, when I was 16 years old, I was about to climb over that wall. For seven months I had considered suicide as a way to release myself from years of despair and depression. I was spared that night through an intervention but not an intervention of this world. If you are considering going over the same wall I did, please sit and allow me to tell you my story.

A Change of Heart
by James Atkinson
No one ever arrived at a destination without first experiencing a journey, and no journey ever started without a thought. With only a few minutes to decide the fate of my life, I decided to turn my life towards a new destination. I decided I didn’t want to die after pulling the trigger, and I wanted to live. I made the commitment necessary to begin my new journey in hopes it would deliver my life.

Bulletproof Spirit: The First Responder’s Essential Resource for Protecting and Healing Mind and Heart
by Dan Willis
As a law-enforcement veteran, police captain Dan Willis has witnessed the damage of emotional trauma. Bulletproof Spiritoffers field-tested expertise designed to be used by all first responders – and their families – to heal themselves and continue serving with compassion and strength.

Visions of Courage: The Bobby Smith Story
by Dr. Bobby E. Smith
Bobby Smith was a Trooper in Louisiana and was critically wounded while performing a routine traffic stop, on March 14, 1986. He was shot in the face with a 12-gauge shotgun by a crazed killer. Bobby Smith is an authentic hero who has not only fallen but, through his personal determination and help from his family and friends, has successfully triumphed over his own adversities.

Jack Knife – The Crushing of a Policeman
by Paul “Little Jack” Horner
Jack Knife is the story of my journey as a fully operational police officer working at some for the busiest and hardest police stations within the State of New South Wales (NSW) in which I had the privilege of being both an apprentice and a leader. This book is the TRUTH as to what really goes on behind the front line of the policing world.

Scenes of Compassion
by Timothy Dietz
This book will offer the education and insight to become aware of the tremendous impact we have during even the most brief encounter with people going through significant emotional events, and will offer simple tools for scene compassion without becoming “too wrapped up in someone else’s emotions.” On the contrary, you will come away from even the most tragic scene with the knowledge and sense that you did the right thing.

56 Seconds
by Slyvio “Syd” Gravel
Gravel, a 31 year veteran of the Ottawa Police Service, shares how he survived post-traumatic stress as a two-time shootist during his years of work as a front line police officer.

How to Survive PTSD and Build Peer Support
by Slyvio “Syd” Gravel
In “How to Survive PTSD and Build Peer Support ” Sylvio Gravel has taken addressing Trauma and PTSD issues, along with building peer support to a recruiting / training / teaching / management level.

A Widow’s Awakening
by Maryanne Pope
When a woman suddenly finds herself a young widow after the on-duty death of her police officer husband, she is catapulted into a tumultuous emotional, psychological and spiritual journey through the grieving process.

Police Suicide, Epidemic in Blue
by John M. Violanti
The single most important book on police suicide. John M. Violanti succinctly points out how difficult it is to identify the problems when police agencies continue to hide and misclassify suicides under the ignorant premise that they are “shameful”.

CopShock 2nd Edition
by Allen R. Kates
This second edition is a valuable follow-up to the first, with new chapters that carefully lay out what PTSD is and how officers can take steps now to “prepare for the inevitable”.

No Time to Say Goodbye: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One
by Carla Fine
Suicide would appear to be the last taboo. Even incest is now discussed freely in popular media, but the suicide of a loved one is still an act most people are unable to talk about–or even admit to their closest family or friends.

Primal Wound
by Nancy Verrier
“You didn’t choose the job, the job chose you”. Behind this statement is a huge truth behind police and fire personnel. Originally written for adoptees, we chose to list it for emergency responders because there are some important messages that many of you may find valuable. We call it “filling in the pieces.”

I Can’t Get Over It
by Aphrodite Matsakis, Ph.D
This book is a comprehensive book for trauma sufferers/survivors. It’s a clearly written breakdown of PTSD, what it is, its symptoms and biochemistry, and the healing process. An excellent resource in understanding PTSD.

Cops Don’t Cry
by Vali Stone
A most sobering look at the challenges faced by a spouse in a police relationship while at the same time providing great insight for officers on the impacts of shift work, controlling behaviors, weapons in the home and more.

The Cost of Bravery
by Allan Sparkes
When policeman Allan Sparkes was awarded a Cross of Valour for rescuing a young boy from a flooded drain, he had no idea that the aftermath would lead to a diagnosis of chronic post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. This is one man’s story of recovery from debilitating mental illness, and it’s one many men and their partners will be inspired by.

On Combat
by Dave Grossman
A fresh and highly informative look at post traumatic stress syndrome (PTS) details how to prevent it, how to survive it should it happen, how to come out of it stronger, and how to help others who are experiencing it. On Combat looks at the critical importance of the debriefing, when warriors gather after the battle to share what happened, critique, learn from each other and, for some, begin to heal from the horror. The reader will learn a highly effective breathing technique that not only steadies the warrior s mind and body before and during the battle, but can also be used afterwards as a powerful healing device to help separate the emotion from the memory.

I Love a Fire Fighter: What the Family Needs to Know
by Ellen Kirschman
How can fire fighter families manage the stress that comes with life in the service? How do you keep a grip on fears and worries during long hours of separation from your spouse? Where can you turn when times get tough? With this practical, no-nonsense, yet compassionate guide, Dr. Ellen Kirschman provides the first self-help book written to address the questions and concerns of today’s fire fighter families.

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