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IPSA's Public Safety Column
The IPSA's Public Safety Column is an opportunity for our members and corporate sponsors to provide thought leadership articles about all topics facing public safety.
The articles we publish are not necessarily the views of the IPSA, rather they are opinions shared by each contributor.
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The beginnings of one emergency number in the United States can be traced back to the driving force of the coordinated efforts of members of public safety moved to service. Professional firefighter and law enforcement associations went to Congress on behalf of the citizens they serve requesting one nationwide emergency number, spanning the course of decades.
Download the Interational Public Safety Association's InfoBrief 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Celebrates Golden 50 Year Anniversary in the United States on February 16, 2018.
By Michael Yatsko, IPSA Health and Fitness Committee Chair
If you are struggling with your New Year’s resolution of enhancing your health, wellness or fitness levels you are not alone. It is estimated that 80 percent of people struggle with, or even quit, pursuing their New Year’s resolutions before the end of the year. Most individuals give up by the third week of January. Behavioral change is not easy, without a plan you are playing the odds.
The goal of this article is to help you develop a plan, so you can create healthy habits which are sustainable. This article will give you some tips that will empower you by taking small, incremental and purposeful steps toward achieving your goals. To form a habit, it generally takes up to two weeks, and in some cases up to 90 days.
Start by using a three-day commitment plan. By using a three-day plan, it will enable you to take small bites out of your overall goal instead of trying to everything at once. This article provides you three items to consider for all three-days of your plan. Program design is not the scope of this article as you likely have been on one since the beginning of the New Year.
Strategy one: Healthy intake
The first step for healthy intake is to prepare your food intake for three full days. This takes some preparation; however, it is manageable by having a list prepared prior to visiting your local grocery store. Give your grocery list some thought and identify what foods should you eat throughout the day to stay healthy and create a three-day menu around them, and steer clear of all unnatural sugar goods.
This leads into the second step toward your three-day healthy intake, and that is to prepare with portion control in mind. While I am not licensed to give in depth nutritional advice, stick to the basics and drink plenty of water, eat clean fruits, eat vegetables at every meal and include protein. If you need help with what your caloric intake should be, do some ancillary research on basal metabolic rate.
The third step is to not deviate from your three-day menu. Sticking to your plan creates a positive sense of accomplishment thereby enhancing your chances of creating long-term healthy habits.
Strategy two: Physical readiness
Similar to nutrition, physical readiness must also be planned out. Use the three-day plan approach to create a behavioral change that will be lasting. The first step of creating a physical readiness plan is to consider your own personal goal. This is a very individualized approach, and should be treated as such. Your focus must be on obtaining your goal, not the goal of others.
Once your goal is determined, the second step is to take the time to write out a three-day plan that you can use as a reference when you get to the gym, or wherever you chose to complete your workout. Not only will it be used as a reference, but it creates a sense of accountability.
The third step toward physical readiness is to have a set time to workout and do it. Be sure to reference strategy one when planning your post-workout snack or meal prepared. A post-workout snack helps restore glycogen levels, which is critical for first responders.
Strategy three: Sleep patterns
There is enough empirical evidence that should convince anyone that sleep is a critical component to health, wellness and performance. I know every first responder reading this article is shaking their heads and thinking good luck with that. Shift work, court and stress will always exist in first responders’ lives, so we must have a plan in place to preserve health.
The first step is to create that plan and stick to it. Have a definitive bed time and stick to it. Equally important, have a regular wake-up time and stick to it. Everyone should aim for seven to nine hours of sleep every night.
The second step is to design your nutritional intake around your bed time. Do not have caffeine, do not take stimulants or other disruptive elements at least five to six hours prior to going to sleep. Do your best to make sure you are finished eating for the day at least three to four hours before bed time to enhance your body’s ability to focus on sleeping, not digesting.
The final step to sleep is to shut everything down. Make sure you turn off (or silence) all disturbances. This includes anything remitting blue light, computers, TV’s and any major appliances.
Documenting your goals into a three-day plan will help ensure you stay on track. Having realistic and achievable timelines will lead to positive behavioral changes. Finally, take the fourth day to get prepared for the next three-days. This does not mean you go off your plan, it just gives you a day for light activity, refresh the meals for the next three-days and make any corrections to you sleeping environment.
About the Author
Michael Yatsko served 25 years with the Phoenix (AZ) Police Department, and honorably served 13 years in the military. Mike holds a Master’s degree in Human Movement (Kinesiology), and a post-grad as a Performance Enhancement Specialist. He also holds the prestigious certification of Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). He served as the Physical Fitness Coordinator at the Arizona Law Enforcement Academy for the last 8 years of his career where he assessed, designed, developed, implemented, and evaluated the Recruit Physical Readiness Training (PRT) program that is still in use today. He also designed thousands of programs throughout the years, specializing in first responder PRT, as well as Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Strength and Conditioning. He is currently on Hiatus from his Doctorate degree in Applied Sports Psychology as he fishes, works out, and golfs at his local club enjoying his retirement!
By Sean W. Stumbaugh, Battalion Chief (Retired)
When I was a supervisor in the fire department, my crews had a nickname for me: The Red Man. I embraced the moniker to some degree and I would joke with them, “Don’t make me take out the Red Man.” This was a term of endearment (at least that’s what I liked to believe) in many cases, but I knew it was born from numerous times that I led with anger. In hindsight this is not a great way to lead.
So, what was really going on here? I hadn’t been brought up in some military academy where I learned to be a drill sergeant when things didn’t go my way. Was there something else at work? Something I couldn’t really put my finger on? After retirement, I realized some of this behavior was born out of stress I was feeling, at work and at home.
I was confident retirement would fix this issue and my life would be a breeze. I soon found out that retirement was something I wasn’t fully prepared for. I went through a two-year transition that was more difficult than being at work. Fortunately, I had some support mechanisms that helped see me through.
This experience made me want to know more about the stress we face as firefighters. So I reached out to an expert in the field, Jeff Dill, founder and CEO of Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance (FBHA). In this article, I’ll share some insights Jeff opened my eyes to, with the hopes that they might be eye-opening for you, too. And in a future article, I’ll share three steps all fire service professionals can take to combat the negative effects of work-related stress.
1,100 and counting
One of my goals when I was a training chief was to design training programs that reduced the risk of line-of-duty deaths by targeting the root causes of LODDs. We commonly use the number 100 to explain how many of us die on the job each year. This number is an average, and the actual figure fluctuates, but unfortunately the deviation is small.
Jeff Dill stresses an entirely different number: 1,102—the number of confirmed firefighter and EMS suicides he has validated since he began studying the issue. “These are not merely numbers, they are the names and faces of brothers and sisters who have left us behind,” Jeff says. “That’s always been our message at the FBHA. We never want to forget them.” Jeff now dedicates his professional life to helping reduce this growing number.
Call it by name
So, what is it we are struggling with? We can—and should—call it Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). We’re hardly alone in being at risk for PTS; military personnel, police officers and other first responders face it too—not to mention anyone who experiences a traumatic experience, such as being assaulted or witnessing death or abuse.
Although the general public is familiar with post-traumatic stress, firefighter PTSD is different. “I’ve studied it for 20 years, and PTS is different in firefighters than in, say, a girl who is molested by a relative,” Jeff says. The differences extend to military and police as well. They generally face more violence, death and threats to their own lives.
While firefighters see their share of suffering, they may go months, or even years, before they are really scared or see a seriously traumatic event. Generally, the first few calls, or even the first few years do not affect them. I know I saw some horrific things early in my career, but they didn’t seem to bother me. Because PTS is often gradual in firefighters, we’re less primed to be on the lookout for it. In some people, symptoms don’t start until retirement—after the exposure to the trauma has ended.
PTS affects our behavior and our emotional state. There are different terms we can use to describe it, but some come with negative connotations. No one wants to be labeled “mentally ill” when something less than that (but still real and serious) is going on. Firefighters have concerns over these labels, particularly when it comes to job stability and promotion.
The struggle with PTS is real, however, and we need to move beyond the days where we just buried the problem or masked its symptoms. When we as individuals are struggling, we need the freedom to seek help. Our colleagues, and our departments, need to understand and provide support. We need to pay attention to the warning signs of behavioral health issues and their causes. If we don’t, we face the real risk of adding to the growing number of firefighter suicides.
One call or many
Time for change
One of the biggest problems facing the fire service in the realm of behavioral health is what Jeff calls “cultural brainwashing.” We as a profession tend to instill in our members that feeling pain over stressful calls and events is weakness. We need to “suck it up” and stuff our emotions. This has been our tradition for a long time.
Some traditions are ridiculous. We need to move the culture to one of awareness and assistance when a member is struggling. They need a confidential place to seek help for PTS and other behavioral health issues.
With this new and growing knowledge, what should we do? We need to employ strategies that can help us not just cope, but overcome.
Sean Stumbaugh is a professional services representative for Lexipol. He retired in 2015 after 32 years in the American fire service, serving as battalion chief for the Cosumnes Fire Department in Elk Grove, Calif., as well as the El Dorado Hills (Calif.) Fire Department and the Freedom (Calif.) Fire District. Sean has a master’s degree in Leadership and Disaster Preparedness from Grand Canyon University, a bachelor’s degree in Fire Science from Columbia Southern University, and an associate degree from Cabrillo College in Fire Protection Technology. In addition to his formal education, he is a Certified Fire Officer, Chief Officer, and Instructor III in the California State Fire Training certification program. Sean has taught numerous state fire training courses and has been an adjunct professor with Cosumnes River College in Sacramento. Sean is now continuing his career by serving as the volunteer Para-Chaplain for the Daisy Mountain Fire District in Anthem, AZ.
By the International Public Safety Association
You may be aware of the National Fire Protection Association's project to create NFPA 3000: Standard for Preparedness and Response to Active Shooter and/or Hostile Events. The proposed NFPA standard is now open for public comment, and the International Public Safety Association and the NFPA is strongly advising you to provide input.
Members of the IPSA leadership and Rescue Task Force Committee have been active participants in the NFPA 3000 standard development process. Given the vast amount of knowledge and diverse experience in the IPSA's membership, we want all of our members to access the NFPA 3000 web portal to provide and input.
Your input will help ensure the final version of the NFPA 3000 standard represents the best practices by law enforcement, fire, EMS and telecommunications as published in the IPSA's Rescue Task Force Best Practices Guide.
There is a limited window of opportunity to provide your input. The deadline is February 23, 2018. Take some time today and provide your input.
By Amery Bernhardt, IPSA Member & Sergeant, Westchester County (NY) Department of Public Safety
The concept of first responders working together and working with community members is gaining momentum in our society. The desire to expand perspectives and response capabilities is quenched by the whole community approach. “A whole community approach attempts to engage the full capacity of the private and nonprofit sectors, including businesses, faith-based and disability organizations, and the general public, in conjunction with the participation of local, tribal, state, territorial and federal governmental partners.” The whole community approach is also one of the underlying concepts of the International Public Safety Association.
Active shooter/hostile events
Active shooter/hostile event incidents require a whole community approach to have an effective response and recovery. Unfortunately, several municipalities still face challenges that set them back from achieving a whole community approach. These challenges may appear to be an overwhelming feat. This article provides some recommendations to begin the process based upon experience and recent national guidance.
According to Gerencser et al., the approach can be summarized by the formation of a megacommunity. “A megacommuity is a public sphere in which organizations from three sectors – business, government, and civil society – deliberately join together around compelling issues of mutual importance, following a set of practices and principles that make it easier for them to achieve results without sacrificing their individual goals.”
Start with schools
The first challenge that many first responders face is taking that first step. I recommend starting with a school in your jurisdiction. Schools filled with children provide an added incentive to the first responder community. I have observed firsthand the increase in motivation when the task involves saving children. There is an instinctive desire to protect children that can provide inspiration throughout the whole community approach.
The basic outline I recommend begins with an initiator. Next, progress to a stakeholder analysis. After the key participants have been identified they will need to come together to develop the vision, goals, and objectives. This process will involve potential challenges that can be identified early but must ultimately be overcome. Starting with a school and following this method may provide the needed momentum to inspire multi-discipline integration.
Identifying a leader, initiator
In order to ignite this type of megacommunity, Gerencser et al., identified that there needs to be a catalyst that provides visible leadership during the early phases. Two of the most important traits of the initiator are being passionate and steadfast. This person needs to take the lead on beginning the process and working through the different phases of the endeavor. Consistency is critical to keeping the momentum moving forward. This is not an exhaustive list, but the initiator can be a member of the local police department, fire department, medical services agency, 911 telecommunicator or the emergency manager.
School pilot program
The first step the initiator should take is to invite the key players to the table. Gerencser et al., recommends that a thorough stakeholder analysis be completed to identify the members needed in this megacommunity. To simplify the process, I recommend starting with a school within the jurisdiction. This may help to provide a pilot program that can be emulated throughout the community as the concept gains widespread buy-in and adoption.
Progress at this stage can be used as momentum to continue the collaboration effort throughout other areas of the municipality. This group would include representation from the school district, the school building, the community and each discipline of the first responder community. For example, the group may consist of a law enforcement officer, firefighter, EMT, 911 telecommunicator, parent, superintendent and a principal.
Creating a vision statement
During the initial meeting, the key stakeholders identified must develop a vision statement for the megacommunity. Kim & Mauborgne identified that engaging the stakeholders in this way will help to bring commitment, cooperation and trust. Gerencser et al., provides guidance to develop a statement that is clear and envelopes all the vital interests and values inherent in facing this challenge.
For illustrative purposes, here is an example of a vision statement.
“To develop our municipality into a resilient community that is adequately prepared to successfully respond to threats of active deadly behavior within our schools. This response will be realized through a comprehensive program that will engage the whole community approach in preparing and responding to such attacks.”
“To develop our municipality into a resilient community that is adequately prepared to successfully respond to threats of active deadly behavior within our schools. This response will be realized through a comprehensive program that will engage the whole community approach in preparing and responding to such attacks.”
Only after the group has successfully identified their mission can they truly make headway on collaboration.
Setting goals and objectives
The development of goals will flow from the vision statement. Gerencser et al., found that when organizations establish goals and milestones, it is a strong sign that they have a clear understanding of the community’s expectations.
Here is an example of one potential goal based upon the previously formed vision statement. “Train the school faculty to successfully respond to violence within the school.”
Given that objectives are the steps taken to reach a goal, each objective must be S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound). An example might be, “conduct active shooter response training with all members of the faculty of the high school within one year.” The development of the goals and objectives will require active participation and follow-up to sustain the efforts and complete the mission.
Prepare for challenges
The activity of collaborating is filled with potential challenges that must be overcome. Some of these may include cultural differences, lack of quality relationships, inadequate communication and understanding, lack of participation or commitment and disagreements. There may be a major challenge of getting true participation and commitment from the stakeholders.
One of the best ways to move people toward a common goal is to focus on why you are doing what you are doing. According to Simon Sinek “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it, and what you do serves as the tangible proof of why you do it.”
The key is to tap into what inspires people to act. For example, the goal is to save the children in the school. All the decisions of the group should serve this purpose. Often, challenges are closely related to each other and their solutions are intertwined. If the group maintains focus on why they are doing what they are doing, they will be more driven to work through each of the challenges.
For example, cultural differences between schools and first responders, and between fire and law enforcement services will need to be overcome through a consorted effort in understanding. The more the group works to understand each other, the more likely they are to build relationships. These relationships will help them prevail over communication barriers which in turn helps them better understand cultural differences. This becomes an endless cycle that builds collaborative strength throughout the sequence.
There are bound to be disagreements. Throughout the process of creating a megacommunity, there will be opposing points of view; however, differing opinions are a necessary part of the process. The danger lies when one person or a single perspective drives the outcomes.
It is important to understand the importance of conflict and understand an important point made by Lencioni that relationships need conflict to grow. A win/win environment will need to help shape the relationship. Stephen Covey provides this insight when he wrote, “It’s not your way or my way; it’s a better way, a higher way.” This can pull people away from the view that their engagement is one of a competition and place them into a realm of collaboration to produce something better. A realm where forward-thinking really does prevail. It is not my idea wins and yours loses, it involves progressive ideas that help everyone to win.
The challenge of beginning a multi-discipline approach to active shooter and hostile event response will appear daunting. But, regardless of appearances, this is a task that must be embraced by the first responder community. A true whole community approach can be realized by someone refusing to give up and courageously taking the role of the initiator. This individual can lead a stakeholder analysis and progress through the development of the vision, goals, and objectives of the newly formed megacommunity.
Focusing on the why and anticipating the challenges that will arise will prove to be invaluable. Start with a school and tap into the incalculable drive that seems to flow from first responders when they are rescuing children.
About the author
Amery Bernhardt, M.A. Homeland Security, is a Sergeant with the Westchester County Department of Public Safety in New York. He has 17 years law enforcement experience and is certified as an instructor for law enforcement and civilian active shooter response through the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training program. He has conducted training and numerous exercises with schools and first responder agencies throughout Westchester County.
By Shirl Tyner, Lexipol is an Official IPSA Corporate Supporter
Some people think about it from time to time. Some people dream about it. Some people can’t even imagine it. Some people already did it. What, you ask? Retirement. Are you ready?
After a career in public safety, you probably have an idea of the legacy you’ve built and the effect your departure will have on the agency. But have you thought about the impact leaving will have on you? Public safety agencies prepare for retirements though succession plans, but most agencies do a very poor job preparing the actual retirees, which is an is an issue because retirement is not easy.Dying for the job
One theory is that public safety retirement is not easy because working in public safety itself is not easy. We lack good statistics about suicide among public safety personnel, but what we do know is alarming.
Law enforcement officers and firefighters rank sixth on the Center for Disease Control’s list of occupations by suicide. One study showed firefighters are three times more likely to die from suicide than a line-of-duty death, and the number of firefighters lost to suicide has increased each year for the last five years. The Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance has documented 175 firefighter retiree suicides—36 of whom took their lives in the first week of retirement.
It’s even worse for law enforcement. The occupational fatality rate of law enforcement officers is three to five times greater than the national average. As John Violanti documented in his 2014 book, Dying for the Job, male officers commit suicide at a rate 8.3 times greater than those who are murdered on the job, 3.1 times greater than those killed in work accidents, and 4 times greater than firefighters.
Contributing factors to suicide by public safety employees include:
These contributing factors don’t disappear with retirement. In fact, they may get worse. In a way, retiring from public safety is much like a grieving process. We have made differences in people’s lives and when we retire it’s easy to lose that sense of purpose and believe our lives no longer have the same value. We feel like something has been taken from us and we lose our identity.
Note: Among all these statistics about firefighters and law enforcement officers, what is missing? If you said civilian employees, volunteers, support staff, EMTs, nurses, etc., you’re right! The number of people affected goes way up when you include—as we should—all members of public safety.
The next big change
When we think about retirement, we think about the things we look forward to doing—travel, reading, sports, time with friends, church, volunteering and maybe even a part-time job. These are all wonderful ideas, but for public safety employees, retirement can be extremely difficult. Many public safety employees cannot even picture themselves outside the job. This isn’t what we do but who we are.
So when you retire, what will you miss? For starters, the people. This is a family, your family, one you’ve never been without and never want to be without. You’ll miss your partners, those you have worked beside and counted on, vented to, protected and leaned on, the ones who always had your back. There’s also the activity—the sights, smells, touches and tastes. Let’s not forget that adrenaline rush, hearing the dispatcher over the radio and the rush of getting to the call. And being part of something so great, something you never imagined being without.
Retirement is the next great adventure after all this. But it’s a mistake to look at your life and see a clear dividing line between your life in public safety and your life after public safety. In fact, retirement is another in a series of changes you’ve been experiencing your entire life.
Believe it or not, you have changed during your career. And I’m not just talking about your physique! You have changed physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. Maybe you’ve put on a few pounds. Have you grown more sluggish or more alert over the years? Has your faith become deeper and more personal, or has it waned? How do you deal with emotional turmoil now compared to 20 or 30 years ago?
Remember when you promoted? You probably asked your friends and family to not ever let you forget where you came from. You wanted to promote and be the best supervisor you could be, but you never wanted to be “one of them.” Now is a good time to remind yourself of that.
When you look at retirement as another in a series of changes, it’s possible to be as excited about retiring as you were about entering public safety when you were younger. Knowing that you have changed, believe that you can and will change again—mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. You are no longer part of your job even though the job is a huge part of who you have become. And that is not necessarily a bad thing.
Retirement requires preparation. The more you plan, the smoother this transition will go. Here are just a few considerations:
Make sure you are ready to retire and don’t give in to outside influences. Go when you know the time is right for you! Don’t make a rushed, emotional decision. You’ve always controlled your career, now you must control your retirement—and your preparation for it.
Make it count
It is easy to forget how much we love being needed until we no longer are. Watching the lights and hearing the sirens go somewhere without you is a bittersweet experience. Curiosity about the call, memories of past calls, and the desire to help all flood in.
Now, those of you who can’t wait to retire and don’t have to worry about any of this, I say hallelujah and lucky you! For the rest of us, attitude is everything. It is the key to understanding you are not who you were, that you earned this retirement and that you deserve to enjoy it. So, make it count! You love what you do or you would not be doing it. You were born with a servant’s heart. How can you put that to work in your retirement? After all, it’s retirement, not death!
As Charles Swindoll said, life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we react to it. We may not be able to stop retirement from coming, but we can choose how we react to it.
So here’s to a happy, healthy retirement—and on to the greatest adventure of all!
Shirl Tyner is a Management Services Representative for Lexipol and has 25 years of law enforcement experience as a civilian (non-sworn) employee, serving with the Oceanside (CA) Police Department and the Tustin (CA) Police Department. Her tenure included positions as front desk officer, field officer, report writer, field evidence technician, crime scene investigator and fraud investigator. In many of these areas she held supervisory positions, and she served as a field training officer for 20 years. Shirl has experience as a Trauma Intervention Volunteer and has been heavily involved in peer support, with a special focus on PTSD. A graduate of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Deputy Leadership Institute, she has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Graduate Certificate in Forensics and Crime Scene Investigations and is currently working on a master’s degree in Forensic Science. Shirl teaches Criminal Justice and Forensic courses at both the high school and college levels.
Lexipol provides essential policies and training that support operations in law enforcement agencies, fire departments and corrections facilities. Contact us today to find out more.
By Gregory L. Walterhouse, Bowling Green State University
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reports that in 2011 the Commission received 11,364 sexual harassment complaints down from a high of 15,889 in 1997. However, the recent proliferation of sexual harassment claims surfacing in the entertainment industry, media and Congress on the heels of the numerous claims of sexual harassment against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein is suggestive that many instances of sexual harassment are still not being reported and there is still work to be done.
Considering these statistics and allegations, do public safety agencies have their houses in order with regards to sexual harassment? A quick internet search indicates they do not. There is no benefit to singling out and identifying individual agencies in this article, but an internet search revealed many articles detailing claims of sexual harassment against police, fire and EMS agencies in the U.S., U.K. and Canada. This suggests that it may be timely for agencies to review their sexual harassment policies and procedures.
Defining sexual harassment
The EEOC defines sexual harassment as “unlawful harassment of a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex.” “Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.”
Two types of sexual harassment have been identified.
According to the EEOC, although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision such as the victim being disciplined, transferred, demoted or terminated.
Hostile work environment claims may be accompanied by claims of constructive discharge. Constructive discharge occurs when the employee’s working conditions are so intolerable that he/she feels compelled to resign. If the claim of constructive discharge is proven as a result of a hostile work environment, then the claim also becomes one of quid pro quo harassment.
Harasser’s may be a supervisor, co-worker or someone who is not an employee of the agency, for example a contractor or visitor. The charging party and harasser may be of the same or different gender. In Oncale v Sundowner Offshore Services the Supreme Court held that same-sex sexual harassment is actionable under Title VII. The Supreme Court in Faragher v. City of Boca Raton also held that employers are generally vicariously liable for the actionable harassment caused by supervisors
An affirmative defense is an assertion of facts and arguments that if true serve to defeat a plaintiff’s claim even if the facts in the complaint are true. Employers may have an affirmative defense against sexual harassment claims if they have taken reasonable steps to prevent and correct sexual harassment in the workplace. However, no affirmative defense is available when a supervisor’s harassment results in a tangible adverse employment action such as discharge (including constructive discharge), demotion, or undesirable work assignment.
The Court’s holding in Faragher provides guidance on establishing an affirmative defense.
First, there must be an established written policy with a strong statement prohibiting sexual harassment.
Second, the policy must provide a multiple avenue complaint procedure. There must be a provision in the complaint procedure that by-passes the immediate supervisor and the chain-of-command when necessary. The best approach is a provision for complaints to be made directly to the human resources department.
Third, the policy must be disseminated among all supervisors and employees. Simply disseminating the policy however is not sufficient. Periodic training on the policy needs to be conducted for all employees with preferably more advanced training provided to supervisors.
Fourth, complaints must be promptly and thoroughly investigated, and every attempt must be made to maintain as much confidentiality as possible under the given circumstances.
Fifth, the victim must be made whole with regard to any lost benefits or opportunities and prevent the conduct from recurring.
Finally, appropriate disciplinary action ranging from reprimand to termination must be administered against offenders. As with all discipline, the corrective action must reflect the severity of the conduct.
Once an employer has taken reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct sexual harassing behavior, the Court has held in Burlington Industries, Inc. v. Ellerth that an employer may raise an affirmative defense where a victim unreasonably fails to take advantage of preventative and corrective opportunities. However, absent a complaint, if an employer knows or should have known that either quid pro quo or hostile work environment harassment is occurring, it is incumbent upon the employer to immediately correct the behavior.
General policy guidelines
A policy must clearly and explicitly state that sexual harassment is strictly prohibited.
The policy must also make clear that there will be no retaliation against those who report harassment. It is important to note that any employee may report harassment not only those who are alleged victims. As stated previously there must be multiple avenues of reporting complaints. The policy must encourage an open culture where employees feel comfortable in approaching supervisors or human resources to report when such conduct is occurring in the workplace. The policy must be posted and distributed to all employees. Finally training on the policy should be conducted at least annually.
A hostile work environment is created by severe and persuasive conduct. While an isolated or single incident generally does not create a hostile work environment, it could if the single incident is unusually severe. What rises to the level of severe and persuasive is viewed by the courts from the objective standpoint of the “reasonable person.”
Employers should use the same approach in evaluating whether an incident is isolated or repetitive constituting severe and persuasive conduct. Employers must also understand it is not the intent of the conduct but how it was received. The guidance for this is whether the conduct is “unwelcome”.
Participation by the charging party can substantially complicate claims of sexual harassment.
Participation may range from participating in off-color jokes, using sexual terms in conversation or voluntary participation in sexual activity. Due to space limitations this cannot be discussed in-depth here, but employers should consider fraternization polices or use fraternization contracts for intimate employee relationships that my later turn bad and result in claims of sexual harassment.
Finally, employers must refrain from retaliating against charging parties, victims or witnesses. Neither the EEOC nor the courts look favorably upon claims of retaliation, and if proven awards against employers can be substantial.
Greg Walterhouse is a full-time faculty member in the Fire Administration and Master of Public Administration programs at Bowling Green State University. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from Oakland University, a Master’s degree in Legal Studies from the University of Illinois and a Master’s degree in Management from Central Michigan University. Before joining BGSU he had over 35 years of experience in fire/rescue and emergency management with 18 years in upper management, including Manager of Emergency Services and Chief of the Rochester Hills (MI) Fire Department and Chief of the Mt. Pleasant (MI) Fire Department. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Group Mobile, an Official IPSA Supporter
Time is one of the most valuable assets for first responders. Reaching critical situations quickly, having access to the right information in crucial moments, and the ability to communicate real-time, accurate data all impact first response teams' capacities for making pivotal decisions when it matters most. Well-informed decisions, even when made in a split second, bolster the safety of victims, civilians, and personnel.
In-vehicle connectivity enables educated, on-the-spot decisions and improved response efforts by providing first responders the resources to move as quickly as possible. Leveraging reliable hardware and software, like mobile gateway routers and rugged computers, is key.
Rugged mobile technology explained
Rugged mobile technology encompasses a variety of hardware and software including, but not limited to, smartphones, tablets, laptops, gateways, scanners, printers, and more. Designed to 1) provide seamless connectivity and 2) withstand harsh environments, rugged tech is the go-to for a variety of industries. First responders, especially, reap benefits when utilizing rugged mobile tech, because it allows them to further improve upon what they already do best: tactfully respond to critical situations.
Rugged mobile technology's improves response time
Rugged gateways create emergency vehicle mobile hotspots
Dramatically increased download links and seamless communication provide first responders with mission-critical data as they're responding to a situation. Fast access to real-time data, like federal criminal records and important incident location data, improves a response team’s ability to make the best decision based on the information available.
Briefly mentioned above, in-vehicle rugged gateways provide consolidated connectivity with dispatchers, IT teams, and other first responders. Most consumer routers use a 3G network, which causes delays and other time-consuming issues with in-vehicle applications, which first responders rely on to receive and communicate important information in real time. Rugged gateways, however, utilize secure and reliable networks to increase productivity and, ultimately, improve response time.
Group Mobile works closely with Sierra Wireless and Getac to offer the world a comprehensive offering of hardware, software and services for connected devices and machine-to-machine communications. Together, Group Mobile and Sierra Wireless provide innovative, reliable and high performing solutions. Group Mobile’s team of industry experts can assist you in selecting, designing and implementing a multi-network environment for mission-critical fleets, as well as request a free personalized quote. Group Mobile is an official IPSA Supporter.
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Sgt (Ret) Charles Kean MA, EMT-P, IPSA TEMS & RTF Committee Member
In 2016, a cooperative training program was developed and introduced in Springfield, Illinois with the goal of providing basic life-saving skills and equipment to officers. This program was established because SPD officers received little, if any, medical training after they left the academy. While the initial concept was limited to the Springfield Police Department, it has since flourished far beyond that one agency.
SPD’s Emergency Response Team is essentially the same as other agencies’ SWAT teams. The ERT includes an active TEMS program, and as a sworn officer and paramedic, I was the TEMS leader and trainer. I was supplemented with eight emergency medical responders, who were also sworn officers. In addition, four emergency medicine physicians participated in training and supported SPD’s ERT.
Many officers on the ERT have a military background and several are combat veterans. A lot of officers were comfortable equipping themselves with tourniquets and other first aid equipment. However, there was no consistency in what they were acquiring, supply-wise, or the training they were getting.
In early 2016, I was introduced to Kari Jerge, MD (also a member of the IPSA’s TEMS Committee). Dr. Jerge was brought in as the Trauma Medical Director for HSHS St. John’s Hospital. She brought a wealth of trauma care knowledge including holding certification as a Tactical Combat Casualty Care instructor. I was fortunate to work with Dr. Jerge to design a comprehensive program using TCCC principles coupled with established law enforcement methods.
Training, costs, time and buy-in
Establishing the training program took nearly a year. In that time, every aspect of the training was analyzed. What became clear almost immediately was that this could not be a program built exclusively by the medical providers. As a police officer and paramedic, I could provide information related to what police are looking at and what EMS or medical personnel would see.
Financial considerations must be weighed. There are costs for instructors and equipment. Law enforcement, much like other public safety entities, is in a constant tug-of-war in the fiscal arena.
Another challenge we faced was time. SPD runs an in-house, in-service training program with five sessions annually. During that 40 hours per year, the Training Coordinator must squeeze in three shooting course and training required by the Illinois Training and Standards Board.
The third hurdle, and the most troublesome, was officer buy-in. Having been an officer for over 20 years and involved in department training for more than 10 years, I was aware that police officers are wary when ‘outsiders’ come into their training domain. Convincing officers that the program was paramount to their training, was challenging, on-going and necessary for it to be successful.
Tourniquets, wound packing and lifts/carries
To stay in line with recognized and proven training, SPD modified the training presented in the TCCC All Combatants (TCCC-AC) course. Acknowledging the many tenets in TCCC do not translate directly into civilian law enforcement and EMS care protocols, the decision was made to focus on the greatest pay-off for line officers. The training focused on the use of hemostatic agents, tourniquets and lifts/carries.
While recognizing the importance of bleeding control and the relative ease in training these skills, we needed something to drive the lessons home for the officers and the command staff. What evolved was a two-prong training approach.
The first portion of the training laid the groundwork for why they should care, both at the user level and why commanders and chiefs should care from a liability mitigation standpoint. The second part of the training was getting the students to apply the skills in practice.
Tourniquet use was demonstrated by the instructors applying the tourniquet to themselves and using a Doppler to demonstrate the occlusion of the distal arterial blood flow. Students were then evaluated on putting the tourniquet on themselves and then a putting a tourniquet on a partner with the instructors evaluating each application.
Wound packing was demonstrated using as near a live tissue model as possible. Bone-in pork shoulders were obtained and then were shot with duty ammunition of both the department issued Glock 17 9mm pistol and M-4 rifle. Students were use training Combat Gauze© to pack the wounds in the pork shoulder.
Lifts/carries were demonstrated and applied by the officers in the training. An important aspect to this is to make sure the officers are in body armor and duty belts to replicate the difficulties and issues that may be encountered by officers in the field.
Overcoming programmatic challenges
Costs were the first issue we addressed. HSHS Trauma Service approached the HSHS St. John’s Hospital Foundation and secured a grant to purchase equipment for SPD officers. The hospital further supports the program by resupplying officers when they used their equipment.
In addition, all the instructors involved in the initial training declined payment. This was a labor of love and collectively the instructors felt it was more important to get the information to responders than to be paid.
When I approached the Training Coordinator, I believed that I would be asking for time the upcoming year. As it were, there was a four-hour block of uncommitted time during the October 2016 in-service session. That provided the team with a target window for structuring the training for the officers. Since that initial training each successive group of new officers joining the SPD attend the 4-hour training and are then equipped.
Officer buy-in was initially my greatest concern. That turned out to be the least problematic issue. At the time of the training, SPD had approximately 240 officers from Chief to rookie patrol officers. As of today, 230 officers received the training. Usually the Criminal Investigations Division conducts a separate training program separate from patrol. In this instance, CID wanted to be involved in this training. In my mind that is a testament to the officers understanding the importance of the training.
The program’s future
Since SPD completed the training, the program has taken on a life of its own. Through the work of HSHS Trauma Service, the program has expanded beyond the officers of the SPD. Through the outreach of the HSHS Trauma Service combined with those who have attended the training, the program has grown much faster than anticipated.
A significant step forward was made when the team was invited in February 2017 to present the training to the Lincoln Land Chapter of the FBI National Academy Alumni Association. This organization is made up of command staff personnel of state, county, local and tribal law enforcement agencies. By presenting to the FBINAA, we gained another level of respectability. We have achieved that rare accolade of acceptance by line-level and command-level personnel.
As of October 2017, the team has trained 700+ responders. Agencies include the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Department, the Illinois Department of Conservation Police and numerous smaller agencies. The program was accepted by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board as a certified course for Illinois law enforcement officers.
To date officers and deputies trained and equipped through this program have been credited with saving at least three lives with tourniquet applications.
This training has progressed into the greater responder community. Numerous fire departments and EMS agencies, both paid and volunteer, have been trained. This was a welcome, yet unintended benefit, of the program. Since the skill sets translate across public safety disciplines and they often work together, it is intuitive to provide the training to them.
It’s important, regardless of the discipline we come from, that we do what is necessary to bridge those gaps and collaborate on solutions to common problems and situations. This program is a testament to cross-disciplinary training. It’s a program that started with a law enforcement agency collaborating with a healthcare provider to benefit both disciplines and, ultimately, those in need of emergent care in an unstable environment.
Charles Kean is a member of the ISPA TEMS and RTF Committees and retired from the Springfield (IL) Police Department after 21 ½ years of service. He has been involved in EMS since 1984 getting his start in the US Army as a Medical Specialist. He established the SPD Emergency Response Team (ERT) TEMS program in 2005 and served as the leader and educator. He continues to serve the TEMS element with training and support. He is an instructor in the EMS Program at Lincoln Land Community College as well as a TCCC/TECC instructor. He holds a Master’s Degree in Crisis Management and Emergency Response.
By Joseph “Paul” Manley, Lieutenant, Nahant Police Department
Certain words or phrases can be verbal indicators of deception. The presence of one or two of these indicators is not necessarily a sign of deception, but a good interviewer should treat them as cues to probe further. Investigators must always look for clusters of verbal indicators and treat them as markers for where to insert more probing questions.
Stalling tactics, such as asking the investigator to repeat the question, provides additional time for deceivers to think of an appropriate answer. Some stalling phrases include:
Deceivers typically ask investigators to repeat questions without realizing that honest conversations do not require the restatement of questions.
Distraction techniques can be easy to spot and are crucial to note. These can take place in a variety of forms. For example, asking for directions in the middle of questioning, asking for advice on places to stay in the area, showing great interest in your work as well as complimenting you on your uniform and profession. It’s important to be aware of distraction techniques that can divert your attention from your original purpose.
Trust anchors are statements or expressions offered by the potential deceiver to try to convince you that they are worthy of trust. They may even seem out of place or offered for no reason. It is typically because they don’t believe they have convinced you yet. Below are some commonly used statements:
These types of statements are often used as part of an effort to deceive.
Pitch changes or mumbling
Pay close attention to the rise and fall in pitch or tone of someone’s voice if you suspect they are telling you a lie. It is common for a liar’s voice pitch to change when they are speaking something deceitful. There are a few reasons for this change in pitch. For example, anxiety and nervousness cause a change in voice pitch. A change in voice pitch may be used to add emphasis on certain words to make it sound more believable. Voice pitch changes can be used as a distracting method.
One of the best ways to detect untruthfulness is to discover when what someone is saying and doing doesn’t match up. For example, a person may state, “Yes, everything is fine,” but they are shaking their head no. It is normal to forget or morph certain aspects of a story when it is retold, but obvious consistent changes are a red flag that the story may be fabricated.
Just having read this article, your behavioral awareness has increased. This means that your chances of spotting these warning signs have improved. Use this information wisely and be vigilant for those who may seek to manipulate you or do you harm.
Lt. Manley is a 30+ year law enforcement professional and adjunct faculty member at North Shore Community College in Danvers, MA. Paul is the Founder of Risk Mitigation Technologies, LLC and currently serves as the Executive Officer for the Nahant Massachusetts Police Department. Paul has a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Anna Maria College, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from American International College. Paul is proud and honored to serve on the IPSA Memorial Committee.
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