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CopShock: The Secret Cop Killer

                                            
                                                Book Review

           
                                                    by Cheryl Kipp-Casati and Roscoe Chait
                                                          From a review in The Epoch Times, September 17, 2008
                                                             

At first look, the book CopShock, Second Edition: Surviving Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) appears to relate only to the profession of police officers. As one reads, that idea is dispelled. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can happen to anyone. It can develop not only in the one experiencing the trauma directly, but also in the witnesses or the family members of the traumatized person.

The information in CopShock brings new insights with clarity and compassion to the often bewildering experience of PTSD. It is much more widespread than realized.

PTSD can be found in any war-torn area like Darfur, the Sudan, Tibet, and countries ruled by suppressive communist dictatorships such as China and North Korea. It also affects thousands of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and is found in abusive family situations.

In discussing law enforcement, CopShock describes how PTSD kills more police officers than bullets do.


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9/11 Caused PTSD

  

For 98 horrific days, New York Police Department K9 officer Jonathan Figueroa worked on the pile retrieving body parts, and searching for the remains of his brother-in-law, an EMT killed in the collapse of the World Trade Center towers in New York City.

"I can't  eat. I can't sleep. I can't think. I feel sick. I can't do this anymore," said officer Figueroa.

  

But it wasn't until five years after the 2001 terrorist attack that he got PTSD and tried to kill himself. Developing PTSD years after a traumatic experience is not unusual. There are cases of World War II veterans not showing symptoms of PTSD until 30 years after the war.

Preventing PTSD

  

Jimmy Brown was one of many first responders on 9/11. A few weeks before, he gave up his job as a cop and became a firefighter, finding himself climbing the stairs to the top of the north tower to save people trapped on the floors above. Seconds before the tower collapsed, he escaped, but was nearly buried alive. He developed trauma-related symptoms a short time after the attack, but managed to prevent getting PTSD by seeking help from a police peer support group.

The stories of Jonathan Figueroa and Jimmy Brown appear in CopShock, Second Edition: Surviving Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), by trauma expert Allen R. Kates.

PTSD Symptoms

Nightmares, flashbacks, anger, concentration problems, emotional detachment, avoidance of people and places are some of the signs of PTSD, a condition that can lead to depression, suicidal thoughts, addictions, eating disorders, as well as job and family conflict.

LAPD Officer With PTSD

  

Detective William H. Martin (Ret.), former coordinator of the drug and alcohol rehabilitation program for the Los Angeles Police Department, knows what PTSD can do. He suffers from it.

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Responses To Violence

In CopShock, Martin says: "As police officers, we have a very real problem.


"We don't recognize how what we see, hear, smell, taste, and feel affects us on a daily basis. Our responses to violence are so subtle and long-term that we do not realize what is happening to us until we begin to lose what is most important in our lives: our families, friends, health, spirituality, honor, commitment, and sense of self-worth."

Addicted to Alcohol, Drugs

He adds, "For most of my police years, I was addicted to alcohol and prescription drugs. I often had suicidal thoughts and once tried to kill myself. I didn't realize that my exposure to frequent trauma was causing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder."

Investigated Thousands of Deaths

Over a 33-year career, Detective Martin investigated thousands of shootings, homicides, suicides, and natural deaths. Often he felt fear, helplessness, and despair.

Thought His Feelings Were Abnormal

Thinking his feelings were abnormal, he repressed them, pushing them down, not realizing that his feelings were normal. He did not realize that the situations he found himself in were abnormal. As a result of ignoring his emotions, he developed PTSD, which is often considered the most severe form of traumatic stress reaction.

6 Years of Research

  
During six years of research for CopShock, author Kates interviewed hundreds of police officers, their family members, therapists, peer supporters, treatment center counselors, and police administrators.

Chapters On 9/11, Police Dispatchers, Police Spouses, Resiliency

The chapters include stories about police officers and firefighters on 9/11 trying to save survivors from the burning World Trade Center, and stories about police dispatchers and police wives who suffer from vicarious trauma, but are often ignored because they did not witness the critical incident firsthand. In another chapter, CopShock investigates how police officers can develop resiliency, the ability to bounce back from horrific events to help prevent PTSD.

Includes Self-Tests: PTSD, Anxiety, Stress, Panic Disorder, Depression, Resiliency

In addition, there are stories about police officers trying to cope with PTSD as a result of brutal assaults, shootings, death investigations, military combat, bomb explosions, and even as a result of not shooting. The book includes self-tests for PTSD, Anxiety, Stress, Panic Disorder, Depression, and Resiliency, as well as information on treatment centers.


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Peer Support

         
The key to both Jimmy Brown's and Jonathan Figueroa's survival and healing was the Police Organization Providing Peer Assistance (POPPA).


POPPA is a New York City volunteer peer support group made up of retired and active-duty cops trained in crisis intervention.

They were instrumental in preventing suicides and getting cops back to work after the devastation of 9/11, and continue to work with police one-on-one and through their telephone help lines. An independent nonprofit group, POPPA is a model for what police departments and police unions worldwide can do to help their officers cope with severe trauma (See www.poppainc.com)

PTSD Greater Cop Killer Than Guns

"PTSD is a greater cop killer than all the guns ever fired at police officers."

These are the prophetic words of Lt. James F. Devine (Ret.), former director of the NYPD Counseling Services. At least 300 police officers kill themselves every year, more than are murdered by felons. Many of these suicides occur after officers have given up trying to cope with the deadly symptoms of PTSD.

A&E Television Network Documentary Based On CopShock

  

CopShock has been reviewed and praised around the world. The A&E Television Network produced a documentary called "Cop Counselors," based on the book, that is shown in police academies, colleges and peer support groups today.

Law enforcement officers in the United States, Canada and eight other countries use CopShock in their post-trauma programs and units.

Everyone Benefits From the Book, Not Just Cops

  
 --Senior Chief Shannon Pennington
       www.firefighterveteran.com


"The book is a life-changing and life-saving read for law enforcement officers, but cops are not the only ones benefiting from the book. Firefighters, war veterans, first responders, families of trauma sufferers, or anyone suffering from trauma, find that the stories of survival and healing apply to them."

         -see more below, left-

                              PTSD can result in depression, which can lead to suicide.


                                          
                                                           Real Men. Real Depression.

                                               Jimmy Brown speaks out about asking for help,
                                       not just for depression, but also for the symptoms of PTSD.


 For more information about CopShock or to order:


CopShock, Second Edition: Surviving Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) by Allen R. Kates can be ordered online at www.CopShock.com or from www.Amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, www.nleomf.com, or through any bookstore.

Chapter samples and more information are at www.CopShock.com or call (520) 616-7643.





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