I have been specializing in counseling police officers and their families since 1983. Most notably, I am the the co-founder and executive director of The Police Assistance Center (TPAC) and St. Michael’s House and before that I was a supervisor with the Chicago Police Department’s employee assistance program.
I believe that my understanding of the unique characteristics of law enforcement officer along with my common sense and straightforward approach to counseling has earned me the respect and trust of the police community.
Rationale for Police Specialization
The police are a special population, unlike any other group. The stress that they experience on a day-to-day basis is profound. These “modern-day knights” are not immune from the emotional impact of the conditions of our cities, the constant exposure to human suffering, and the increasing levels of crime. The continuous interface with the sad, fearful, and frustrating side of life can have a cumulative and corrosive effect on a police officer’s values and outlook.
Unfortunately, the qualities and skills that police officers need to be effective n the streets are often contrary to the development of satisfying personal and family relationships. The ability to take control of a situation and be aggressive, for example, can insure a police officer’s survival at work but create problems in his marriage. In addition, aspects of the job itself, such as rotating watches, and working holidays, are detrimental to family life.
Over the past 35 years, I have helped hundreds of police officers address these issues. I am proud to report that I have been able to serve law enforcement officers from Chicago, the suburbs, the county, the state, and the federal government.
A Note to Police Wives
Police wives are an integral part of the law enforcement community with their own unique stresses. They are often placed in the precarious position of needing to strike a balance between the demands of their husbands’ jobs and personalities while looking out for their own personal needs and the needs of their children. I approach counseling in a manner that is particularly sensitive to the difficulties these women face and all of my services are available to the wives and girlfriends of police officers regardless of whether or not their partners participate in the counseling.
Police departments can purchase these services as a “package” or employee assistance program. An EAP can stand alone for the community’s police department or it can be expanded into a larger program for all employees of the municipality. These programs serve as an excellent job benefit for the employee and also as a resource for police chiefs and other administrators looking for creative ways to address personnel issues.