Developing Smarter, Safer, More Successful Law Enforcement Officers

Posts by Jeff Shannon:

Promoting Agency Morale Up & Down the Food Chain

Nov 30, 2017 in Law Enforcement Today & Leadership & Patrol & Training
By: Jeff Shannon

The nerd in me I wish there were some objective, universal measure of LEO morale that would show us trends over the decades. That would be an interesting chart to look at. While the intuition and anecdotal evidence presented here may not be as convincing as a double blind randomized experiment, it still has good value. Based on my own experience—and that of speaking with dozens of officers, both as I was approaching retirement and after actual... Full Article »

“What’s on Your Mind, Brother?”

Aug 23, 2017 in Leadership & Officer Safety & Survival & Patrol & Training
By: Jeff Shannon

Law enforcement, like the military, doesn’t have a "suicide problem." We have a suicide project. For every officer that takes his/her own life, there are thousands of us pushing patrol cars around wondering why we don't floor it into a wall or off the road. We need some grassroots help with this. This is our project. Recognizing this project, in the late 1960s the Los Angeles Police Department started one of the nation's first peer support pr... Full Article »

The 5 Fundamentals of True De-Escalation

Jan 12, 2017 in Defensive Tactics & Law Enforcement Today & Leadership & Officer Safety & Survival & Training
By: Jeff Shannon

“De-escalation” has become a buzzword in the law enforcement industry. A confluence of forces have thrust our ability to talk to people into the forefront of modern policing. As tempting as it is to critique these forces, I think we have to accept that the community, the courts, and our departments now expect a whole lot from us and our ability to talk to people—specifically, agitated people, in a rapidly changing environment, with lots of ... Full Article »

On Policing the Mentally Ill

Nov 21, 2016 in Law Enforcement Today & Leadership & Training
By: Jeff Shannon

It's become abundantly clear to just about everyone that there is something mightily wrong with our mental health system. As LEOs, we don’t spend much time in places where things are going splendidly. We spend our time in broken places. And so it is with the mental health system. Police executives have been wringing their hands, asking how in the world we can manage the tidal wave of mentally ill subjects in crisis our officers are interacting... Full Article »

When Grief Calls: Supporting Your Brothers & Sisters in Blue

May 23, 2016 in Fitness & Health & Law Enforcement Today & Leadership
By: Jeff Shannon

[Publisher's Note: Darrin Fulton wrote last week of his recent experience with losing a colleague and friend in the line of duty. It's raw, painful, and important, because too few discuss these difficult feelings in public, which only adds to the pain. In response to that article, licensed family therapist and police officer Jeff Shannon offers these sage words.] Grief is both a feeling and a process we experience when we lose someone or somethi... Full Article »

Coping with Police Stress

Apr 18, 2016 in Fitness & Health
By: Jeff Shannon

Abide at the center of your being. For the more you leave it, the less you learn.—Lao T’zu You’ve just gotten through your front door after a particularly stressful day at work. What do you need to do to unwind? Jump right into bed for a good night's sleep.     A few drinks. Exercise. Watch T.V. or get online. Read Bible verse. Spend some time with your family. Watch porn. The one thing these all have in common: They... Full Article »

Retirement for Cops, Part II: The Joys

Mar 23, 2016 in Fitness & Health & Leadership
By: Jeff Shannon

After working through the challenging transition from a law enforcement career into retirement, life after being a cop affords us many joys and opportunities. After the typical service retirement the officer is still in his or her 50s, allowing for a second career if that’s what's desired. For some, one of the joys of retirement is finally being able to express their entrepreneurial spirit, long pent up within the confines of civil service.  ... Full Article »

Retirement for Cops, Part 1: The Challenges

Feb 11, 2016 in Leadership & Officer Safety & Survival
By: Jeff Shannon

[Author's Note: This is the first of a two part series. The second part will explore the joys of retirement.] Usually at the 12- or 13-year mark of an officer's 20-year career the countdown begins. The thrill of the job has faded. The officer has been burned on more than one occasion (suspension, losing a promotion, internal politicking, etc.). This is typically where the work slowdown begins. No longer enamored with chasing crooks down the bloc... Full Article »

New Year’s Resolution: The Annual Wellness Check

Dec 18, 2015 in Fitness & Health & Leadership
By: Jeff Shannon

Question: How important do you think it is for officers to be emotionally healthy? And another: How important is it for the performance of their duties? How important is it for their personal and familial lives? Chances are you agree with me that emotional health is pretty important. Now: How much time do we spend checking to make sure our mental health is in good order. I don’t mean your self-assessment, like, “I exercise regularly, I think... Full Article »

Active Listening for Patrol: The 60-Second Solution

Nov 04, 2015 in Leadership & Patrol
By: Jeff Shannon

In a previous article for Calibre Press we discussed the surgeon-like precision active listening can have in clearing up conflict in our marriages and partnerships. The benefits of listening, however, extend beyond our homes and right into the work place. Here’s a proposition for you: knowing how to listen effectively to agitated persons in the field can significantly decrease the chances that you have to go hands on. You’re less likely to... Full Article »

Resolving Conflict with Active Listening

Aug 27, 2015 in Fitness & Health & Law Enforcement Today
By: Jeff Shannon

[Editor's Note: It's no secret that many in this profession see their marriages collapse. The reasons for this are many and complicated, but communication is often at the core of conflict. In this article, police officer and licensed family therapist Jeff Shannon takes a look at how active listening can support healthy relationships by improving communications. In a future installment he'll examine how active listening can also improve your patro... Full Article »

Present Moment Awareness

Jul 02, 2015 in Uncategorized
By: Jeff Shannon

We make investments in our health and happiness all the time. Every one of these investments comes at a cost and offers a reward. We believe we’ll be happier if we buy a newer home or spend a few weeks in Tahiti. We’ll be healthier if we get a calorie-counting phone app or sign up for a new class at the gym. The cost-reward ratio is in play for all of these decisions. We ask ourselves, “Is it worth it?” “How much money and time do I nee... Full Article »

What Is Cynicism?

Jun 04, 2015 in Fitness & Health
By: Jeff Shannon

Developing and maintaining a cynical attitude toward life, but particularly about other people, might just be the signature hallmark of police culture. Cynical cops are usually given a certain amount of “cred” within the department. It’s supported. But outside the walls of the police department, most people look down on cynical people as somehow damaged. They’re certainly not fun to hang out with. Our culture has a deep fascination with ... Full Article »

Ego: Leave It Out!

May 26, 2015 in Law Enforcement Today & Leadership
By: Jeff Shannon

With the media vultures waiting in the wings and the omnipresence of video cameras, it's now clear that law enforcement officers everywhere are blamed for an individual officer’s transgressions anywhere. We can no longer breathe a sigh of relief that the officer(s) caught on video behaving badly doesn’t work in or near our community. Even though he or she is on the other side of the continent, they may as well work for our department because... Full Article »

Psychotic Subjects

Mar 19, 2015 in Officer Safety & Survival & Patrol & Training
By: Jeff Shannon

For many police officers, working with the mentally ill is routine. But it's not often easy, especially if the subject is agitated and presenting a threat to his- or herself and others. Following are five general tips to make it, hopefully, an easier and safer interaction. 1) There are many potential scenarios LEOs regularly face for which attempting verbal deescalation will actually jeopardize officer safety, and it is therefore is inadvisable.... Full Article »

Officer Wellness Is Officer Safety

Feb 24, 2015 in Fitness & Health
By: Jeff Shannon

Besides courage, there’s nothing more valued in law enforcement than safety. Courage is a given, but safety is learned. One simply can’t be too safe: firearms training, searching and cuffing techniques, defensive tactics, vehicle stops, pedestrian stops—all have “office safety” as cornerstones. Most of us are exposed to the Cooper Color Code system as well, which applies not only to being at work, but when we’re sitting in our livi... Full Article »

Mental Health Break

Jan 28, 2015 in Fitness & Health
By: Jeff Shannon

By anyone’s standards these are tough times to be cop. We’re getting more stink eyes and middle fingers from people in the community than at any other time in recent memory. Just the other night I got a text message from a frustrated colleague who asked, “Why should I continue doing this job?” He was stopped at an intersection and smiled at a guy crossing the street. The citizen raised his two middle fingers and started in with the FTP rh... Full Article »

The Stress-Proof Career

Dec 26, 2014 in Fitness & Health
By: Jeff Shannon

Highly publicized events of the last year confirm for me that these are difficult times to be a cop. In addition to the usual family, organizational and personal stress we carry with us, we’re now up against homegrown violent extremists. Additionally, antipathy for law enforcement is particularly high in many communities throughout the country. Not surprisingly, more cops on more skirmish lines facing more hatred from the public stresses us out... Full Article »