Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement
Addresses the dynamics that can transform within a matter of a few years, idealistic and committed law enforcement officers/employees into cynical, angry individuals who begin having difficulties in both the personal and professional aspects of their lives. It points out how law enforcement personnel develop a social perceptual set that can potentially see employees engaging in inappropriate behavior patterns and decision-making that leads to both administrative and can unfortunately in some personnel lead to criminal difficulties. The basic theme and goal of the book is to provide information that lets the officer/employee see how the deterioration process can take place and what specific preventative strategies can be employed to reduce the negative emotional impact of a law enforcement career. The book was written with the goal to provide information that assists law enforcement personnel to remain committed and engaged in productive law enforcement.
A Foreword of the new book by Alexis Artwohl, Ph.D.
If you’re a cop, you’re going to love this book. It could change your life. It might even save your life, your career, your home life.
If you’re not a cop, you’ll still love it because the ideas in this book could certainly apply to you too. Maybe you’re in a relationship with a cop or have a highly demanding career that puts you on the “biological rollercoaster” ride, a concept that stems from Dr. Gilmartin’s brilliant insight into the cost of public safety work and other high stress occupations.
Author Kevin Gilmartin, Ph.D., is eminently qualified to write about emotional survival for law enforcement because he has lived it, studied it, researched it, and taught it. He is one of America’s very few “cop docs.” After earning his Ph.D. in psychology, he was a career deputy sheriff with the Pima County Sheriff’s Office (PeSO), in Arizona. He started with the PCSO in 1974 on a Law Enforcement Alliance of America (LEAA) grant, then became a sworn deputy in 1977 until his retirement in 1995.
In 1982 he was nationally recognized for his work in hostage negotiations when he was selected as one of America’s ten best “Police Officers of the Year” by Parade Magazine. Other operational activities during his deputy she rrif career included assisting investigators, criminal profiling, crisis interventions with emotionally disturbed persons, and dealing with extremist groups. The article he wrote on religious extremist groups, “The Lethal Triad,” is still used in counter-terrorism training.
A true police psychologist is a rare breed in itself, and Dr. Gilmartin was one of the early pioneers in this highly specialized area. He was invited to write articles for leading publications and developed one of the nation’s earliest police behavioral sciences units in the Tucson metro area. Although his initial interest was in operational work, his work in counseling police officers and their families soon led him to the realization that one of the most critical and ignored areas in law enforcement is the emotional toll this stressful occupation takes on its own people, and his focus turned increasingly to this area.
As deputy sheriff and doctor, living, working, and studying the unique world of cops and their families, he developed a penetrating insight into the daily work life of cops. He came to see how it insidiously dismantled the personal lives, health, happiness, and careers of officers who weren’t prepared to cope with the unique demands of the law enforcement lifestyle. These officers and their family members became emotional casualties. Dr. Gilmartin was determined to do something that could help them become emotional survivors instead.
Fortunately for law enforcement at large, Dr. Gilmartin is a gifted trainer who started training early in his career and soon became inundated with requests for training from all across North America. After retiring from the PCSO, he was able to devote all his efforts to taking his message on the road internationally and is teaching as many officers as he can about the hazards of the wild biological rollercoaster ride, a ride that can end in disaster if officers don’t learn to manage it.
I first heard Dr. Gilmartin speak at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) conference in 1993. I was instantly impressed by two things: This guy really knows what he’s talking about, and he is fun to listen to. Not only is he highly entertaining, his message is clear, straightforward, and easy to understand. His life-changing advice is practical and simple to apply once you understand the concept of the Hypervigilance Biological Rollercoaster®.
When he isn’t helping cops, Dr. Gilmartin chases steers as he enjoys the cowboy lifestyle on his horse ranch in Arizona. He and his wife, Anne, are avid team ropers and compete in the rodeos of the Law Enforcement Rodeo Association.
As a law enforcement trainer myself, I, like Dr. Gilmartin, travel all over North America training cops. Because I admire his work, I usually mention Dr. Gilmartin’s name and encourage officers to attend his training if they get the chance. Time after time officers have come up to me during the breaks to tell me they had been fortunate enough to listen to Dr. Gilmartin speak in person or on his videotape. They rave about how entertaining and informative the class was, but, more important, they tell me that hearing him speak changed their lives. Many of the older veterans wistfully tell me, “Better late than never, but I wish I had heard his talk at the beginning of my career.”
Now Dr. Gilmartin has put his message in print in this book, which is not only profound but almost as entertaining as he is in person. So enjoy, and go become an emotional survivor.
—Alexis Artwohl, Ph.D.
Co-author of Deadly Force Encounters
What people are saying
Gary Schofield, Captain, Training Bureau , Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department
“The lessons learned and taught about Emotional Survival need to be taught in every class of new recruits and to every officer working. The need to do so is great. We as a profession need to consider emotional survival as a part of officer survival.”
Brian Adkin, President, Ontario Provincial Police Association, Ontario, Canada
“Emotional Survival is an incredible book about the journey through the maze of police work. If you’re a front line officer, supervisor, or command officer, you will see yourself in this book. It is the first book I have read that describes what really happens to police officers in their careers, with incredible insight into the stress and difficulties of being a police officer. Dr. Kevin Gilmartin sets out proactive strategies for police officers and their families to survive the most dangerous profession.”
Paul N. Conner, Chief of Police , Round Rock Police Department, Texas , Retired Deputy Chief, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department
“Dr. Gilmartin’s book, Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement, is the tool we need to keep focused on the emotional well-being of our personnel. In addition, it provides those uninitiated to Gilmartin’s concepts the opportunity to experience his dynamic class as he guides us step-by-step through the personal challenges faced by every cop.
Armed with Gilmartin’s book, officers can learn to successfully cope with one of the toughest jobs in a free society. Law enforcement can be a rewarding career that leaves one fulfilled, not bitter, caring, not isolated, and most important, a survivor, not a victim. Gilmartin’s work is a significant tool to help us achieve this goal.”
Douglas L. Bartosh, Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety , Scottsdale, Arizona
“I have been through Dr. Gilmartin’s Emotional Survival training at least twice in my career and I found his lessons on surviving a law enforcement career the most valuable tool to my success and emotional survival both professionally and personally. . . . This book should be required reading for all new police officers and their loved ones.”
Ronald J. Guilmette, Director, Massachusetts Police Leadership Institute, Lt. Colonel, Massachusetts State Police (Retired)
“Emotional Survival is a must read for the men, women and families of those who enter the field of law enforcement. Kevin Gilmartin shares his tremendous insight into the real “roller coaster journey” that police officers will take during their careers. Reading this book could save your life, your marriage and the lives of your children. Thank you Kevin for sharing with all of us your insight and strategies for survival.”
Sergeant Alan Green , Los Angeles Police Department
“As a twenty-six-year veteran of law enforcement, I have had the opportunity to read many books and observe many trainers. Emotional Survival is a work of art! This book is perhaps the best law enforcement–related reading I have ever experienced. Whether you have twenty minutes on the job or twenty years, this book will make you a better officer and a better person, and just might save your life. Any person who wears a badge must read this book to better understand the climate of the profession. Dr. Kevin Gilmartin’s experience and background in this field make him a definite asset to the law enforcement community and their families. Kevin has hit a home run with Emotional Survival, and will ultimately impact thousands of lives.”
Robert J. King, Sergeant – President, Portland Police Association
“For years I thought my number one job was to live through 25 years of street encounters. After 13 years of experience I realize my goal is not just to survive the street but is to live a life filled with relationships that bring me happiness and fulfillment. Police work is a great profession but it is the kind of work that without intervention destroys people and families. Dr. Gilmartin’s book Emotional Survival breaks us out of our denial about the effects of the work and gives us helpful, practical concepts we can use to make our work and home life better. Dr. Gilmartin’s book Emotional Survival is good for cops, families, police departments and communities.”
Ann Marie Doherty , Superintendent Boston Police Dept.
“The unique and increased value of this book . . . is that it can easily be revisited periodically. There are many occasions where reading (and rereading) this book can be immensely beneficial—these include when an officer is hired, reassigned, and/or promoted. From a command perspective, this book provides insights which can directly influence how certain management decisions are made and, sometimes more importantly, delivered. Finally, this book provides guidance to agency heads and senior management as to the tone that must be set in order to increase survivors and decrease victims within their organizations.”
Deputy Kevin Ortiz – Taken from Command Magazine: The Journal of the Texas Tactical Police
“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 and professionally.” Read the full article.