Law enforcement has been through the ringer this year, both physically and psychologically.
A cycle of support, followed by increased tensions, then outright abuse, has taken place for decades. Law enforcement is the victim of both physical and mental abuse at the hands of American citizens, local politicians, and Washington, D.C. bureaucrats.
Following an officer-involved shooting in Philadelphia in which deadly use of force was likely warranted, over 30 officers were injured by rioters.
This "d****d if you do, "d****d if you don’t" mentality is actually only one typical characteristic of abuse.
In a cycle of abuse, there are three distinct phases:
First — tensions build, followed by an explosion, then a "honeymoon" period, before the cycle repeats itself.
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Dr. Kuhlman was asked to discuss recent law enforcement retirements and resignations during this period of political unrest. The full episode can be viewed online. Dr. Kuhlman is featured in the 31-minute mark.
Dr. Kuhlman and Charles Marino of Sentinel Security Solutions recently co-authored an op-Ed featured on Fox News.
How would you like to work in a job that is currently under physical, political, and budgetary attack? Or better yet, show up to work and be told not to do your job and face the threat of criminal charges, firing, or both for carrying out your duties?
Following the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd caused by police officers, this is the environment that law enforcement officers now find themselves in. It is the reality of working as a police officer in places like New York City, Seattle, Minneapolis and Portland, Ore.
Dr. Kuhlman spoke with Dave Knighter of the First Responders Wealth Network to talk about first responder stress and trauma, the stigma of mental health, and how officers and their agencies can better support mental health initiatives. Check it out!
It’s no secret that the Coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on first responders. Many agencies are becoming short-staffed due to responders contracting or being exposed to the virus, and families of responders are worrying and their loved ones venture to the front lines daily, putting themselves at risk. Responders have admitted to fears of contracting the virus, which has symptoms all over the board. Many police and sheriff agencies have had to make a number of adjustments, whether it be limiting response to traffic violations or issuing citations and warnings instead of making arrests for some charges. Individuals in specialized assignments are finding themselves on patrol for the first time in years. Fire and EMS, along with some law enforcement, have seen new policies around personal protective equipment (PPE) as well. Some responders have no idea what their assigned task or role will be until their shift starts. Both the psychological and administrative impacts can have an effect on mental health and morale. The stress is real.
You are not alone if this is how you feel about the last couple weeks:
By Katherine Kuhlman, PsyD
Yesterday, the FBI released a report on Lone Attacker Terrorism. The BAU examined 52 lone offender terrorist attacks between in 1972 and 2015, with the goal being to understand motivating factors, social networks, behavioral characteristics, and more. Lone Attacker Terrorism is really a subset of generalized targeted violence, the difference being that the motivation or injustice is based on ideology. The individuals that carried out these attacks did so outside of any ideological group.
You can read the whole report here.
10 Key Takeaways
In October 2019, Dr. Kuhlman was interviewed by Patrick Fitzgibbons of the CJ Evolution Podcast. In the podcast she discusses law enforcement stress, trauma, and threat assessment. Listen to the podcast online!