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Over the last 17 years, POPPA has been instrumental in changing the culture of isolationism and avoidance of police officers seeking help. Through our Resiliency Support Program (RSP), officers started to hear on a regular basis who we are, what we do and how to identify one’s own level of stress. Our outreaches to the different commands, units and supervisory personnel have been instrumental in facilitating this cultural shift. More officers are aware of our confidential services that are available for them.
In February of 2006, 26 retired police officers attended our weekend training and the Retirees Peer Support Team was created. The retired officers were very receptive because many of them remembered a department lacking assurances of confidential assistance. Some had received assistance through the department, yet many did not because of the stigma and possibilities of repercussions. The retired PSO has been very instrumental in helping foster the concept of self-help, resiliency and psychological well-being.
POPPA’s services have been called upon since 9/11 to assist with many other traumatic and life-changing situations police officers face everyday around America. Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the Boston Marathon Bombing are two incidents where PSO’s from New York offered PTSD debriefings to other police department’s First Responders and survivors. POPPA’s expertise in these situations was welcomed and has opened doors to other departments implementing similar protocols for their officers. As our world continues to deal with devastating crisis, POPPA will always be available to answer the call for officers in need
Founded : 1996
Trauma Response Team
Our Trauma Response Team (TRT) is a direct result of 9/11. We were privileged to respond to one of the saddest tragedies in America with the National Critical Incident Stress Management Association. Their techniques and our protocols created a unique set of skills to address both the immediate and short-term response to traumatic incidents experienced by NYPD officers. Because of our inimitable relationship with the Department, we are notified of any situation in which an officer has been impacted. Whether a shooting, accident resulting in serious injury/death or a horrific crime scene, our TRT team is ready to respond to offer a level of care and regard for the officers emotional and psychological well-being.
Resiliency Support Program
Once again POPPA’s distinguished services have opened many of the NYPD’s doors to offer support to our officers of all ranks. The Resiliency Support Program has primarily been facilitated at the different ranges located throughout New York City. During the presentation a brief overview of POPPA is given, along with printed materials and our easy to carry phone cards with the toll free POPPA hotline number. This program gives the officer in the field easy to remember tools to check the level of stress and resiliency over the last six months. During the outreach, a small group is conducted by two PSOs and a clinician. Often the officers have commented about how educational it has been to learn about hidden levels of stress, PTSD and remaining resilient.
Self-Care has always been a suggestion for police as a way of maintaining balance and perspective. Given today’s environment and the ever increasing stress associated with policing, self-care as become more than a suggestion, it has become mandatory. For members of the NYPD, self-care is at best, awkward and goes against the core belief that made you join the force in the first place; put others before yourself. Members of the NYPD often feel guilty and selfish if they make themselves the priority over others, including friends and family members. In reality, the opposite is true. By not making yourself the priority and engage in self-care, you are doing a disservice to those who depend on you. Simply put, if you are not at the top of your game, you can’t be there for others when they truly need you. Consider the flight attendant when demonstrating the use of oxygen when traveling with a small child. The instructions call for you to put the oxygen on yourself and then tend to the child.
Self-Care Assessment Worksheet
This assessment tool provides an overview of effective strategies to maintain self-care. After completing the full assessment, choose one item from each area that you will actively work to improve.
Using the scale below, rate the following areas in terms of frequency: 5 = Frequently 4 = Occasionally 3 = Rarely 2 = Never 1 = It never occurred to me
POPPA TRAVELS OUT-OF-STATE TO HELP FELLOW OFFICERS IN NEED
POPPA to present at International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference
POPPA is proud to announce that we have been selected to present at the annual International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in San Diego, California. Director John Petrullo, Medical Director Frank Dowling, MD, and Psychologist Dr. Tom Coughlin will will discuss the importance of a Peer Support Program within law enforcement organizations. Topics will include the logistics of establishing and maintaining a peer support program, confidentiality,departmental considerations, clinical collaboration, establishing a referral network and coordinating resources. In addition, the importance of self-care will be highlighted.
Peer Support Officer (PSO) Rich Mack
Rich started his career at the 75th Precinct in East New York. He has served throughout the city in the 9th Precinct, Midtown South- Operation Impact, Manhattan South Peddler Task Force, 79th Precinct and eventually, the 40th Precinct. Currently, Rich is assigned to the newly formed SRG (Strategic Response Group).
For over fifteen years, Rich has volunteered his time with POPPA as a PSO (Peer Support Officer). During 9/11, he spent several months as a PSO and assisted in coordinating logistics for POPPA’s temporary facilities (Including POPPA’s Fresh Kill’s facility.) He also responded with a POPPA crisis response team to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the Boston Marathon Bombings. More recently, Rich responded with a team to the situation in Baltimore to help his fellow brothers and sisters in blue.
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