Stephanie Samuels is a Police Psychotherapist and has been in Private Practice for over 35 years with Law Enforcement Officers. She is also the CopLine Founder and Director. She founded CopLine.org 18 years ago as a Pay It Forward.
The CopLine heartbeat continues with the volunteers that share a Servant’s Heart
MANY PEOPLE EXPERIENCE SITUATIONS REQUIRING DE-ESCALATION. WHAT TOOLS HAVE YOU FOUND TO BE EFFECTIVE IN THESE SITUATIONS?
HOW TO KEEP IN TOUCH
IDEA - the International De-Escalation Association, is dedicated to Saving Lives, Reputations, & Relationships through Conflict De-Escalation & Communication Training for Teachers, Parents, and Public Safety Providers.
Find more about
How to Calm an Angry Person in 90 Seconds or Less
Come visit us at the IDEA website (International De-Escalation Association):
Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter to stay up to date on the latest news and blogs about Schools, Police, Fire, Medical Services and Flight Attendants.
Do you or your organization need Communication Skills and De-Escalation Training? You can reach us directly at: Team@TheIdea.World or by filling out a contact form at https://www.TheIdea.World/contact
Welcome to the De-Escalation Conversations podcast. I am here with an absolutely amazing lady, Stephanie Samuels, and I want to introduce you to Stephanie. She is a Police Psychotherapist. She's been in private practice for over 35 years with law enforcement officers. She created Copline that we're gonna be talking about, , a Crisis Line for, Law Enforcement Officers only 18 years ago, as a pay it forward and the heartbeat continues with the volunteers that share a servant's heart. And Stephanie, you absolutely have a Servant's Heart and the level at which you operate, taking care of your patients, taking care of every, all the Copline , volunteers taking care of Copline . I, I don't know I suspect it's about four or five minutes, here and there. I think you probably catch a lot of cat naps, but welcome to the show.Stephanie:
Thank you. Thank you very much forKerry:
having me. Yeah, I'm honored that, you're giving us some time, and I know that your time is really limited and really valuable, so thank you. Along the lines of what you do to make this world a better place, which you do a lot of that, your titles, you, have two of them, a Police Psychotherapist as well as the Cop Line, Founder and Director. Tell me aboutStephanie:
both of those. So I don't think I'd have one without the other. So I, I knew early on that I wanted to go into the field of psychology. Just wasn't quite sure what had called me um, When I was younger as adolescent that had that had really drawn me. And then and then over time I actually ended up dating somebody who was an Officer. And saw a very a very different side of not just Law Enforcement but truly the pain that goes along with the calls the, the stressors the maladaptive behavior that that they use to, to deal with that. As well as, interestingly enough, a history of abuse from childhood that. That ended up coming into play and I was young, you know, I was in my, I was in my early twenties at the time. I was getting my first Master's in Clinical Psych and And this individual had been involved in a near fatal car accident when he was on the job and had lots of physical stuff. But what I hadn't really realized that obviously came to fruition is I was, for the first time in my kind of young adult cognitive world, I was looking at P T S D. And more than looking at it, I was now living it with somebody who I absolutely adored. Absolutely adored. And I remember telling him that, you know, I, I'm no genius here, but I think he had P T S D and he and I ended up, you know, going our separate ways or what have you in probably the past five years. I actually, you know, through social media, had reconnected and, and it was really interesting cuz one of the things he said to me is, you know, you were really the first person that ever diagnosed me with P T S D. And, you know, and it was just interesting that, that nobody else had that, that this wasn't stuff, you know, and again, it's a lot of years ago. That it hadn't been discussed. So so I ended up going into a private practice, moved from the west coast to the east coast. I had grown up on the east coast, left when I was 12, so came back, had gotten married. And, and now I needed to look at kind of the population that was still kind of calling to me. And And I started doing ridealongs when I was out in California. Oh, crap, man. That, that, I got bitten by that bug. Hard, really hard . Like there was no game in town like, like law enforcement. Like, you know, I, I think one of the guys that I rode with described it as 59 minutes of of boredom and one minute of shear terror, and how you just chased that shear terror. So so then I debated whether or not I was gonna go into Law Enforcement, ended up getting engaged and my husband had made it clear that he was not going to marry somebody in Law Enforcement, that a close friend of his had died in the line of duty, which was kind of interesting. A one car motor vehicle accident. So anyway, that, that wasn't happening, moved back east and ended up working on the lower East side of Manhattan with America's Most Wanted youth. There are more deaths on Sixth and D than any place else. And ran G E D programs for them. They had to be part of the juvenile justice system. So so I got schooled on the D. And really truly learned interestingly enough that there are lots of similarities in cops and convicts, except at some point in time somebody took a right hand turn and somebody took a left hand turn. Or some of my guys will say, I just didn't get caught. But But it was a, a phenomenal experience for me. And then I moved out to Jersey and once I moved out to Jersey, ended up started starting to do ride-alongs out in in Jersey because they weren't doing critical incident debriefings at the time. They weren't doing a whole lot of, of psychological Stuff for Law Enforcement. So it kind of became my quest. And I just never stopped and realized at some point in time, so, you know, I was the, you know, I was, I was every cop's nightmare. I mean, I, you know, you, you were gonna take a shift and you had a 12 hour shift. So if you did 8, 10, 12 hours, like I took the entire shift with. So, you know, my poor guys that were doing midnight shifts were like, what? What do you mean? Like, like how many hours? And you know, and I realized that they cooped, so I'm sure there's a pillow in the trunk, but you know, so for the first few hours they figure I was either put there by their Chief or Internal Affairs, and by like hour three they realized clearly nobody had vetted me because there was no way that anybody had put this in their vehicle. Absolutely, totally Politically Incorrect and every other Incorrect that there could be. So by the end of a shift, what ended up really happening was, was a bond, was, was, was being able to talk about stuff because of the questions I asked. really they must have picked up. I mean, and I gave a shit, you know, I had ridden a lot with LAPD and Los Angeles Sheriff's Department when I was out west, and, and being able to see kind of some of the differences in my first ride along back east was in a small, small town. I think they had 12 full-time officers. it's a summer it's a beach community, so they dropped down to a little under 1200 during the, during the winter. So it was, it was a midnight shift, dead of winter. And and it was probably one of the most difficult emotional. Ride alongs that I had, the officer that I rode with talked about an incident that he had had 12 years ago, and here's where I started realizing. So most of the guys were patrolling the areas they grew up in. They had been raised in these towns so that every call was not a Jane or John Doe. It was, this is Aunt Mary's best friend who I used to go over and, and she used to make me breakfast. This is, you know, John, who, you know, who my dad hung out with. Like, so, so the, the emotionally charged component to this town was significant and this officer described one of the most horrendous child calls. That anybody could experience. And and he had never spoken about it and he was just sobbing, finally being able to talk about it, you know? And I thought to myself, you know, you know, so for the first three hours, you know, I'm not trusted. And for the next three I could wear, you know, a color like a priest. And then just thought about, How invaluable it is for them to have somebody that gets it. And again, I've never worn that, that, that badge and patch, I've never had that honor. I didn't earn it. I still, to this day have not earned it. And, and no matter how close I am, even on cop line, that I, I will never rightfully be able to penetrate that outer circle. Because I've never had to put myself in a situation where I could die to save others. And that was my job. Very different mindset and I'm well aware of that. So so when I was in high school, I had been part of a original peer focus group for teens that one of the people I went to high school with, her mom was a psychologist and worked out of Thalians Mental Health at Cedar Sinai, and they they decided that they felt a hotline a teen line for teens answering calls for teens would be incredibly. So active listening skills in Stephanie's life was born when she was 14 years old, and I remember going to to one of the psychologist offices to help her, you know, Work on the active listening skills and their manual or what have you. And I think we went live when I was 16 and I always say, you know, when you're 18 years old and you age out of a hotline, you really feel like you've got some issues going on. But I stayed very close to to the founder of that who's Dr. Elaine Leader. And so, you know, kind of as you move on into my own life and my career, it was a, a very normal. Thought for me as I was doing these ride alongs, thinking, wouldn't it be amazing if we had a hotline for Police Officers that could call and talk to other Officers? And then, you know, my private practice grew not uncommon for a lot of the people that I rode with that realized that I wasn't. I wasn't a flaming liberal. That was that felt that three rounds of Kumbaya was gonna solve their problems. And I said the word fuck a whole lot. So they were cool. So so not uncommon that they would call and typically what they came in for is not what they stayed. Dealing with, so whatever the initial issues were, that sense of, of somebody that gets it, kind of the checkup from the neck up became really normal to them. So it's not uncommon that some of my folks have been with me for over 20 years, really common. So I was losing a lot of officers. Untimely to work-related incidents and, and the sadness that came out of that was that they were leaving a career that they loved, that they felt like they were making a difference. And obviously as I went on and I understood law enforcement more, more, I also realized that confidentiality was the, was the absolute highest hurdle. To law enforcement officers seeking, seeking help and the perception of it, it made no difference if it was real or if it wasn't. Their perception is reality, and I got that. So when I thought about doing a hotline, it had to be with retired police officers because I also knew that I wasn't breaching for suicide and for a general population to hear. Freaks people out when I do the vetting, cuz I'm always the first round of vetting for retired officers. I have to be very upfront when I, when I vet them, because if there are strong thoughts or feelings, religious reasons or what have you, it needs to be on the table. They need to make a decision because they're not gonna be rogue. I need to do everything in my power to, to prevent rogue on these lines. So I also knew that I was smart enough to never go into a venture without grabbing somebody who is stupid enough to be your, your Wingman. And in Dr. Jay Nagdimon was, was it Jay and I will tell you that we have no clue when we met, but we clearly met over 20 years ago. Over 20, 25 years ago. We think it probably had to do with something dealing with probably Teen Line and probably an event that he was at and I was at. But, but we don't know. But what I do know is that he was the only one that could do what I needed. He was the only one that got it. And for my ying, he's my yang. He is, he is like the monorail. And I am like Cyclops . And you know what? It, it just, it works. And, and Jay's expertise, which I know nobody else in the country. So Jay came from the Los Angeles Suicide Prevention Hotline, which is the oldest hotline in the United States. And he's the Director of that. And then he went on to Los Angeles Police Department, their Behavioral Science Services. So Jay would have. The knowledge he would have, the insight he had, the personality he had, what, what was going to be needed because this was gonna be a miracle. This was one of those things that if Cop Line was to make, it was going to take something that we were grabbing from beyond Logic. And, and, and I think. I truly do believe that the secret ingredient is love. And you know, I know that's can't be shit, but, but it is. It's the love that my retired officers have for their fellow officers and their families. It's love that came from me for a population and a. That I had not borne that badge. It was an understanding from a private practice where there was coinage that my job was to try and make sense of the senseless and help them piece together a life, and that those pieces were not gonna fit exactly how they had. But it didn't mean that their life was going to be worse, that some of those changes and those pieces not fitting back were going to be essential for their own growth. And it was, with all of this, that Cop Line was born and still exists today. And I also knew that I wasn't going to be able to take government money. So the, the, so again, high, high hurdles. Of, of making sure that the integrity of these lines would always be maintained. And I remember this gentleman and you know, I would always love for him to hear a podcast or whatever he called from, from Connecticut every year. Okay, so, so Copline was founded in 2005. And I would say from like 2007 on every year he would call and say, we're just seeing, I think they had like a two 11 or a three 11, whatever it was in, in Connecticut. We're just seeing whether or not you're up and operating. Nope. You know, this year I think we're gonna get funding. I had, you know, I, I have no idea how I was getting the funding. Speed ahead to to 2016, to June, which was the Pulse Shooting in Florida. And I remember thinking to myself, this is ridiculous. The phones were ringing into my office that I needed to pull the phones off of my office and I needed to get a separate phone, mobile phone to have it ring onto, and then I would keep. Because there's no advertising. You know, we weren't getting calls, calls, you know, I wasn't sure we had ever rang except for that lovely man from I think 2 11 in Connecticut. It always rang for him. So so I tried to get it off of the lines and, and the phone company it took forever. It, it did not make it off. Now go to July 7th, 2016, the Dallas Five, I was sitting in my. And the phone rang and I see Dallas. The word Dallas came up. I had known about the shooting. I was with a patient, told my patient I needed to answer the phone, answered the phone, and it was a female, I assume, an Officer who was screaming. Very emotional. In tears and she's screaming and she said, they're killing my brothers and sisters. You've got to do something. I beg of you. They are killing my brothers and sisters. You've got to help. And I thought to myself, you know, this is the moment I'm either gonna shit or get off the pot, that I had the ability to help. I had the ability to pull these lines off and at this point needed to, needed to, to believe that if you build it, they will come . And was able to, you know, called the phone company. I was no longer kind that I had gone from the bees to the C's at that time. And, you know, I figured I'd start with like the head of, you know, the C E O of the company and work my, my way down. So, finally was able to get those lines off and for two weeks had. Had the Counseling Team out in California that helped that, that they, they took those lines so I didn't have to, cuz I was still running a full-time private practice. And then after that I was kind of thrown into, you know, you're gonna have to do this. And I had met this incredible Assistant Chief Sarah Creighton from San Diego, who was who headed her Wellness. She and I were at a. a conference that both of us had been invited to in DC and she and I had stayed close. Well, Sarah called me up and she's like, , I dunno, if you, Sarah's just awesome. You know, Sarah is just the real deal and Sarah's like, I'm gonna be retiring in January or in February. She's like, Cop Line needs to be up and running. We need to do a training. I can arrange it in San Diego. When can you come out here to talk about it? I literally, I, I think was inside of three weeks. I got on a plane before I sat down. We were on the phone with Jay Nagdimon and we were now committing to a date in April. No money , absolutely no funding, and just figured we gotta do, we gotta do so, So so that was it. And I will tell you, and Jay, you know, probably gets embarrassed, but that first training, I mean, you know, Jay gets paid that he turned around and gave back the paycheck, but that's, that's cop line, that's the heart that has kept us going and still to this day. Exists, and I think it's what the volunteers love. I think it's what they pick up on. I think they realize that none of us are full of shit. I think they realize that none of us are getting paid. You know, we, we get reimbursed for expenses, don't get me wrong. Some of them at least you know, and Jay still needs to get paid, but LAPD has been incredible at putting him on loan for us as well. So just. Just been amazing. Just truly been amazing toKerry:
watch. What an absolutely incredible journey. You've been on , so, so very interesting. And it's a small world. I don't know if you know this or not, but Sarah Creighton was my, I I had known her for many years and then I worked directly for her. She was my Lieutenant when I was a Vice Detective and I didn't work for a Sergeant. I actually worked for her as a Lieutenant. And later on she became the Wellness Captain. Mm. . And so I was on our Peer Support Team for 22 years. And so when she came aboard, I'm working for her as a, being on the Peer Support Team. And she's an amazing lady. Mm-hmm. And I mean that with a Capital L Lady, she's just all around, just amazing. So. , that's, that's cool that you got to meet her. And she was so influential in Cop Line andStephanie:
She, she was, she was in that first, I mean, and she got the group together. I mean, she made sure that we had, you know, you know, asses and seats and she made all the arrangements to make that happen. She actually had the Chief at the time call LAPD's Chief to get Jay sent over. It was just, I mean, but, but that was Sarah. But that's, but that's the caliber of people that are truly attracted to Cop Line. Yeah. A a and, and you know, when you sit in the trainings, you just realize, you know, wow, you know, it, it's amazing to sit in the room with, with people, you know, that, that have done so much and so much good and still want to give back. I mean, just incredible. Just incredible.Kerry:
Yeah, it's cool. Cool stuff. So let me ask you this. When we talk about De-Escalation mm-hmm. , a lot of people have different views about De-Escalation. So when we talk about the term, what's kind of your view on De-Escalation when you think of that term and, and what's the lens that you look through for that? SoStephanie:
it's interesting. So I look through, so I look through two lenses. I look through the lens as a therapist for my own patients when it comes to deescalating stuff at home. So, so that's probably my primary lens. If they're in my office and there's you know, there's substance abuse, there's. There's fighting, there's communication issues. So, so those so that becomes an issue in private practice. But the, the macro piece of it, not the micro in my world, is is dealing with officers in De-Escalating Use Of Force. You know, and a lot of, you know, of the courses that they're taking in the De-Escalation. And it immediately brings. hypervigilance and fear because of my officers being so concerned should they use deadly force mm-hmm. , and they didn't De-Escalate that it's going to cost them and their families, everything they ever worked for. So, so those are my, my two pieces on De-Escalation.Kerry:
Yeah. And a, and a and a very valid concern. And having myself been involved in two fatal OIS's, I, I, I, I get that in my first one, there was no time to De-Escalate because the suspect was already pointing a gun at us. And then the second one they were trying to De-Escalate through the Emergency Negotiation Team, and it just turned out to be not effective. But You know, there's a lot of people experience situations requiring De-Escalation, and a lot of our listeners, they, they range from School Teachers, Law Enforcement, Firefighters, Medical Services, Flight Attendants, Security Guards, and whether you're in a classroom dealing with misbehavior or Law Enforcement, Officer dealing. Uncooperative people or Medical Services being in a home delivering Hospice to grandpa and the family is emotionally upset. There's a lot of situations requiring De-Escalation. I'm just curious when we, when you and I have talked before about the tools that you've found to be effective in these situations, one of them you talked about was addressing symptoms. Tell tell me more aboutStephanie:
that. So, so I, interesting. I, I just so the patient that I saw just before doing the podcast is now retired from a dual career. He's retired First First a Sergeant and retired from the United States Army and then retired as a Sergeant from the Police Department. It's done over 40 years of service with with both and. and we were looking at he was easy to diagnose with P T S D. P T S D is kind of, you know, I don't really think that that's necessarily too difficult to, to diagnose given specific incidents and kind of changes that one goes through afterwards. But but I also knew that he had been exposed to an in, he had done four tours for combat tours. So I also knew that he was exposed to. To not just the psychological pieces, but the physical and physiological pieces as well. So so I have developed with the help of, you know, leaders in the, in the industry, a concussion intake. So when he was there, we did this concussion intake. Holy crap. I mean, you know, it's ju I mean, he and I were just looking at each other and he was laughing. He is like, yeah, so much for for you getting rid of me after retirement, . It was just, you know, there was some truth to it, but the piece on emotional liability. Is so, so key for for my officers. And I'm gonna actually give you, cuz I think it's just a brilliant description of of what emotional liability is. If you don't mind, of course I also need to bear to, I don't mindKerry:
it. I, I want you to say that second word really slowly cuz I'm not sure I'm catch.Stephanie:
Yep, it's liability, L I A B I L I T Y. Liability and what emotional liability is. Is it refers to a rapid, often exaggerated change in mood where strong emotions or feelings, uncontrollable laughing or crying or heightened irritability or temper occur. These very strong emotions are sometimes expressed in a way that is greater than the person's emotions. So the situation didn't call for the level of emotion that you're seeing. Okay. So so as we went down this very voluminous checkoff list with, you know, some loss of consciousness, others non-loss of consciousness, the sub-concussive blows from flash bangs from being a breacher from You know, he's like, he goes, you didn't include grenades. I'm like, you're right. You're right. I didn't, my bad. I'm like, RPGs. He goes, yep, that would be a type of grenade. But yep. There are other grenades, you know? And so, so you're kind of looking at this and then when you're kind of, now we're piecing it all together. And the behavioral pieces the cognitive pieces, the memory loss, the stuff that when he and I. Begun our journey together, which is probably 15 years ago. We didn't look at that. We, we just looked at the symptoms that were clear with post-traumatic stress disorder and, and he has gotten better. But part of that is also bringing in. Others. So his wife is a key component. So the De-Escalation piece is here, is helping educate his wife on that six week period. So with critical incidents, and incident dates. I think I, I've, I always mentioned that they're not anniversary dates because anniversary dates have hopefully a positive connotation and incident dates do not. So so that, that typically six weeks before an incident to two weeks after those incident dates, that symptoms. Typically exacerbated. So being able to help spouses, children, depending on ages, loved ones that are going to be exposed to this individual, they need to be very aware and kind of marked down in a calendar. Six weeks before, because when concentration starts to go, when irritability, outbursts of anger, sleep is typically affected and we know when sleep's affected. So is the irritability in outbursts of anger, like it just kind of all ties in. And to be able to figure it out and makes sense to the senseless is so important. So now add on to that, a potential for a brain injury for a post-concussive brain. And we know that, that we're gonna have that emotional liability, not just during those incident date periods. We know that memory that's gonna be affected. We now need to look at the possibility that memory is affected, not from a psychological piece, but a potential for a physiological piece, A brain. , so, so being able to work with a spouse and tell them when they are escalating, one of the best ways to deal with it is to give them their space because not uncommon to us talking about this in session, not uncommon that this spouse wants to be there. In this incredibly loving, wonderful way for their spouse that's having a rough time and they want them to talk about it. Mm-hmm. , no, no, no, that is not going to work. So being able to, to help educate them and say, this isn't a psychological piece, this is a physiological, you need to look. What it's like to have frontal lobe damage so that you can understand that you can't love your loved one enough. To do this. So I know that Frank Gifford, thank God, who's lived, you know, a, a, a full life did donate his brain. And he did have C T E. C T E cannot be diagnosed. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, certainly made front page with the N F L. And Will Smith doing a brilliant job in the movie depicting Ben Aalu who had come up with with the, I believe it's pronounced T Protein, it's T A U protein, which is what's developed for C T E. And we just, we, we, we can't diagnose it. You have to be dead in order to do the pathology on a brain. But what we do Dr. Cantu, Dr. Robert Cantu has been studying concussions, is, is over as part of that, the group that's doing the the research. And he has come up with a criteria for T E S Traumatic Encephalopathy Syndrome and being able to help loved ones see that if this is what's going on, we know what can be kind of expected. And one of the things that one can expect is a shrinking of the brain. And so, you know, we need psychiatrists to understand that you need to do a really good concussion background because the medications that you are potentially prescribing for psychological injuries and memory deficits, which post-traumatic stress disorder, difficulty concentrating, difficulty with memory is there. Those medications are very. Then those that would be prescribed for somebody who is experiencing memory loss due to a shrinking of the brain. That's where your Alzheimer's meds and your dementia meds now come into play, so, so helping a spouse understand. What's going on, how to best navigate it. If it's P T S D, we know that's six and two, six weeks before to two weeks after. But if, if it's something deeper, then we need to also educate them on on brain injuries. And there's an incredible website called BrainLine. We might be Cop Line, but found Brainline.org does a brilliant job, absolutely phenomenal job at being able to to look at brain injuries and, and have suggestions on just what you're talking about, the deescalation on how do you live with somebody, with with a brain, with a brain injury.Kerry:
So if you're watching this on video, on YouTube or Facebook, Instagram, any of those platform LinkedIn platforms you can look in the show notes and we'll have these links in there for, for Cop Line, any of the other websites or resources mentioned. Awesome. If you're listening to this, Then come back to the show notes, cuz the, that's where you'll find that stuff. So if you're driving, don't worry about it. We, we've got this documented for you. We'll, we'll have it available for you when you, when you get to wherever you're headed. Let me ask you this, Stephanie, one of the tools that you've found to be effective in De-Escalating or dealing with angry people is you, you said, leaving the situation. Mm. What is a, what is an effective way to leave the situation without having the other person think it's the, into the relationship or that you don't care or that leaving them with a feeling that they're being abandoned. How do you navigate that?Stephanie:
So leaving doesn't necessarily mean leaving the house. But I'm going to tell you that if there is a potential for violence, both parties are going to want that person to leave the house because the person that potentially escalates to a point of violence has absolutely horrendous regret, horrendous regret afterwards. And the person that's the receiver of the abuse. It is also absolutely overwhelm and now has to make some, some horrendous decisions because most of the time they love the person and they don't understand the violence. I. . So so being able to say to somebody, so if it doesn't escalate to violence and if it hasn't in the past, and I would tell you just like when you're in law enforcement, past behavior is a predictor of a future behavior. It's how profiles profile, it's kind of, you know, when you guys go out to calls with mentally ill, you know, d when, when, when when mentally ill patients are off of their psych, They typically escalate the same way they always have. So if you are hearing voices from the TV telling you to kill the dog, And that's typically they get auditory hallucinations. Now, if you walk into a home and they're seeing stuff, it's, it's your moment of saying maybe they took something . Maybe they're hallucinating because they get a hold of something else because this has never been so if the person's never been violent, I, I would be unsure why all of a sudden they would become violent. Obviously you, you, you make sure that you are safe. But to be able to say to somebody, I can see how incredibly angry you are, and anything I say is just going to piss you off more. I'm gonna go into the other room. Take whatever time you need. I'm here. So it's, yeah, that's great. Yeah, that's great. It, it's being able to, to tell them I love you and I'm going to give you what you need. You know, I, my, my kids, because I used to have a, the nasty habit. And okay, so now you're gonna find out I'm not perfect. That when I get pissed off, I'd like hang up. I'm like, I'm just done. And my kids would be like, Mom, you can't hang up. I'm like, you're right. So then I would say to them, just so you know, I'm so pissed off, I'm hanging up the phone right now, just so you're aware. They're like, all right, . But I think they felt less abandoned by me, you know, truthfully. And I, and I think that was, that was actually important. And I, you know, I do the same thing on the hotline. You know, when we train that, that that retired Officers that, that our volunteers are not to be abused, that Law Enforcement has been abused enough. That is not what they're volunteering for. They do not need to put up with shit. They do not need to put up with an abusive drunk. They have done that forever that you can say to the person, I can hear how angry you are and it, this is not going to be fruitful for either one of us. Please call back when you're, when you're sober or you know, have had less to drink or you know when you are not. Please call back, but I'm, I'm not going to stay on the line to be abused. Yeah. Feel very, very strongly about thatKerry:
and that, and that's wonderful advice. I like that. And I like that aspect that you carry for the, for the Cop Line Listeners. You know what they're there for and what they're not there for. So let me ask you a question. Cop Line. I, I think there's a, a lot of officers that might feel like. If I call Cop Line, what I'm going through isn't that big of a deal. You know, I don't wanna bother them. I don't wanna tie up a Listener for me. And it's almost like a self minimization. So if you're looking at a, a tee totter on a children's playground, what's the, what's the tipping point? When should I call Cop Line and when should I not?Stephanie:
So, so I a pretty simple rule of thumb. I remember I had I had a kidney stone. You gonna be like, what the hell does a kidney stone have to do about calling Copline? I digress. And I remember saying, so I found out that the kidney stone was caused because I was training for a, a century on, on a bike. And so I had become dehydrated. And so I remember saying to, to the guy that I was training with, I'm like, he's like, you, you're not drinking enough. I'm like, I don't know when to drink. He goes, if you think you drink, I, I, I mean, and that was like, you know, should I take a drink? Well, at, at that point, the answer is yes. If you are thinking that you should be taking a drink of water, take the damn drink of water. If you are thinking I w you know, I, I, I do. I call Cop Line. That's it. That is it. That's your tipping point. Because throughout your day, typically you're not thinking to yourself, I wonder if I should call a Hotline. So if you're thinking, if you're thinking that that says there's something going on that we, we wanna hear, everybody thinks that if I don't have a gun in one hand and a bottle of Jack in the other, I'm not suicidal. We've missed a whole lot if that's our threshold. Yeah. If we have a safe place where officers can call and not have to worry about repercussions, we should be able to prevent that suicidal caller down the line, so that person that calls us for low hanging fruit relationship issue. Fight with the spouse working too much overtime. The supervisors, that's an asshole. The, the being passed over for promotion, the, the, the, the public that has now turned on them, you know, I, the low hanging fruit, if they have a good experience, if they call and they just can blow off steam, we also know that when it becomes more significant, They'll call back, you know, IA complaints. The fear of losing a job, the fear of not being able to support the family Officer Involved Shooting where the Officer was killed, their partner, a child was killed. The cumulative stuff. If we have a safe place to deal with that, we should be able to start to combat the suicide.Kerry:
Yeah. And we absolutely need as, as high of a level as First Responder suicides are. We absolutely do. And, and if you're listening to this, again, you don't have a opportunity to glance at the show notes right away, but you're feeling like. Oh my gosh, I think Stephanie and Kerry are talking to me or about me, are talking to me about needing to call that. It's a simple number. It's 1-800-267-FIVE 4 6 3 2 6 7 5 4 6 3, which isStephanie:
1-800-COP-LINE , and it just don't, don't wait. If you think you need to drink, you need to drink, we're talking water. Exactly. If you think you need to call, you need to call. Yep. Well that's awesome.Stephanie:
So, and we've had some wonderful calls that are, are obviously not lethal. I think the sweetest call that I had heard was a Officer's daughter who is in her thirties. Her Father had passed away a few years. And she just wanted, honestly, father, just somebody who she could talk to that would be similar to her Dad to run something by. And the, and the volunteer that took that call said to me, he said, all I could think about was when I'm no longer here, that I hope that my daughter calls to talk to one of our guys when she's struggling with something and they can. So 95% of our calls are just bad day calls are just kind of stressors that that officers are dealing with. Not uncommon that Officers are calling on their way home, kind of, it's a nice place to just be able to get shit off your shoulders, you know, so that you can go home, you can enjoy your time with, with your family, which is always so limited. And, and be able to, to be with somebody that gets it. Yeah.Kerry:
Well, and, and what's awesome is on the other end of every phone call to Cop Line, you're gonna have a vetted retired Police Officer to make sure that you're not only just heard, but you're understood. And you know, someone who has at least 10 years of experience who retired in good standing, who's been through. Significant training. And if you wanna know more about that Cop Line training, check out the De-Escalation Conversations episode with Chuck Stringham, who's the, the head of the training for Cop Line. And he, he ta he talks about that. And Stephanie, I'm so glad that you were able to be here with us and thank you for sharing your journey. And thank you for, thank you for sharing that story about the daughter that called. Actually barely able to talk right now. I'm, I'm choked up. And, and, and that's, that's the essence of Cop Line is, is cops being there for other cops and not just cops, not just active duty and retired cops, but for their families as well. Yeah. So maybe you're not in Law Enforcement, but you know, somebody who is, you're listening to this episode, let them know. One 800 COPLINE. It's, it's free. It's a hundred percent confidential, and it's effective. So thank you Stephanie, for being here. Any last thoughts before we wrap this episode up?Stephanie:
No. I'm, I, I'm grateful. I'm grateful to you to, to doing these podcasts to help us get the word out for having done the career that you did and still wanting to, to pay forward and making a difference. Thank you. Thank you for being part of the solution.Kerry:
Thank you, I appreciate that. To our listeners, again, 1-800-COP-LINE Cop Line.org. The rest of the things that we talked about would be in the show notes, so check that out. And while you're there, please be sure to like and subscribe and hit that little notification bell thingy so you know that. When a new episode drops and every Monday at 6:00 AM Pacific, new episode of De-Escalation Conversations will be coming out with a wide variety of guests. Thank you, Stephanie, for being here and to our listeners. As always, Stay Safe.