By the time I was a junior in high school, I knew that I was going to be a police officer. My sense of right and wrong had always been strong, and I was the one who often stood between bullies and the bullied. I knew without a doubt that this was my calling – to don the uniform, badge, and gun.
At seventeen, I became a police explorer, Troop 247 to be exact. The first meeting was at the Harker Heights Police Department. I walked into the first meeting not knowing anyone, and told them I would someday work for that very same department. They laughed, but I knew then this would be the place for my life’s work. When I was told I had to learn at least half of the 100 required 10-codes and half of the phonetic alphabet, I memorized all 100 of them and Adam through Zebra. I got excited every time I was given permission to ride with the officers. Even traffic stops fascinated me – everything did. I watched, and I learned. Immediately upon graduating high school, I began taking Criminal Justice classes at the local community college, and, as they say, the rest is history. I was hired two weeks after I turned 21. Continue reading “Life Outside of the Police Badge: A Story of Alcoholism and Sobriety”→
Suicide. What does that word mean to you? Do you think it would change if someone close to you died by suicide? Think about that for a minute. Think about if you worked in a high stress job day in and day out with the training and conditioning to believe that you cannot feel sad or depressed or you would be considered or seen as weak.
Think about what it would be like to be a police officer or first responder. Think about how each day you see people at their worst. Think about how people do not call first responders when they are having a good day or just to say hi. Think about seeing things no one should ever see in their lifetime over and over again, and not being able to express how deep it may hurt you or sadden you. How would you deal with that? How would you handle depression or PTSD as a result of the job you do and not being able to go to your co-workers without being stigmatized or taken off of the road for fear of being a liability? Continue reading “The First Responders Mental Health Stigma: Can It Be Changed?”→
I am reminded of an experience that took place at a police funeral and the aftermath, the loss of an officer to suicide.
It was December 2005. We lost two officers in a motor vehicle accident where their emergency services truck drove off an open drawbridge in dense fog on Christmas night. The bridge was shut down because the lights and gates that would stop traffic when the bridge was in the open position weren’t working. They closed the bridge entrances in Kearney and in Jersey City. The Jersey City unit in Kearney was running low on flares and the emergency squad truck drove over the closed bridge to give them more flares. After wishing each other a Merry Christmas, the emergency squad headed back over the bridge to Jersey City. Due to the thick blanket of fog, Sean and Robbie didn’t see that the bridge was open and they plunged to their deaths. Continue reading “Jane”→
First annual Project Blue Light Memorial Ride – Ride For Honor
Date: July 13th Time 10:00 am
Place – Philadelphia, PA
Location – the ride will start at the Philadelphia Police Academy located at 8501 State Road in North East Philadelphia and will end 27 miles away at South Detectives, 24th & Wolf Street in south Philly
This ride is being held in memory of two Law Enforcement officers from different states – Joseph Gibson and David Mcllwraith because they served with honor
It is not how they died – it is how they lived .
Project Blue Light – Remembering Police Officers fallen to suicide. We will always remember and honor David and my brother, Joseph and every officer in our nation fallen to suicide. Please join me on July 13th to bring honor to these officers and their families.
In 2006, my best friend and fellow police officer committed suicide while he was on the phone with Rick. I viewed the in-car camera footage of him shooting himself which lead to the onset of PTSD. I lasted on the department another six months, and have struggled through PTSD which has led me on a path of suicidal thoughts , hospitalization, separation from my wife for a year and many struggles and battles on the road through the valley of the shadow of PTSD.