Since its creation in 2004, 100 percent of the graduates of the Police Academy at McLennan Community College in Waco have passed the state test to become certified peace officers in Texas on their first try.
Friday, September 2, 2016
After Ector County Sheriff Lt. Steven McNeill was shot in the head in a standoff with a domestic terrorist in West Odessa in September 2010, he wanted to get back to work and return to “normal.”
“During the incident, I was focused and clear and knew what I needed to do,” said McNeill, one of two officers shot during a siege at a remote compound. “But later, when the adrenaline wore off and the reality sunk in, you realize ‘I almost died out there.’ I was lucky, but it was more emotional then. The reality set in about just how severe it was, and it was emotional to talk about.”
Not only was McNeill impacted by the incident, but so too were those around him. Even after his recovery, his wife still thought he would die and continued to mentally prepare herself to be a widow and single parent. Other officers involved in the shooting were haunted by images of their two felled colleagues or the barrage of bullets fired during the siege.
“Physically you survive, but you still have the emotional scars to deal with,” McNeill said.
To help officers affected by highly traumatic event in the field, such as colleagues who are injured or killed, officer-involved shootings, suicides, accident scenes, or natural disasters, the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas launched the Post Critical Incident Seminar in 2012. The program is open to first responders and their family members who may be experiencing difficulty coping with the aftermath of a critical incident.
“The overall goal of the PCIS is to turn vulnerability into strength through learning, as well as utilizing and offering peer support,” said James Senegal, Director of Professional Development for LEMIT.
In partnership with South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia , and Ohio, the hallmark of this program is peer-led support by officers from Texas and across the nation who have been through the program. It is not intended to be the initial debriefing held immediately after the incident, but rather is designed for officers who continue to be plagued by traumatic incident months or years after the occurrence.
In addition to small and large group discussions and personal experiences, the program provides education on trauma, patterns of resolution, and field tested coping strategies to promote recovery and resilience. It also offers a comprehensive, integrative psychotherapy approach called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, which helps to resolve the trauma caused by the event.
“This is an experiential workshop for officers who have ‘been there,” said Senegal. “Despite the best support immediately after an incident, there can be lasting effects. Going through a critical incident is like crossing a fence, with no opportunity to jump back.”
The next session of PCIS will be held on Sept. 21-23 in Huntsville. For more information on the program, contact Tiaya Ellis at (936) 294-4461 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, August 12, 2016
Law enforcement officers in remote areas of Texas will receive training on detecting drunk and drugged drivers through a special grant awarded to the Impaired Driving Initiatives program at Sam Houston State University.
Monday, August 8, 2016
I have served with the Dallas Police Department for 17 years, and I have never been so proud of the men and women who serve alongside me as I was on the night of 07-07-16.
“Why would you want to work for Dallas?” I have often heard. There are so many things wrong with that city and that department. Simple answer, I know that I am surrounded by over 3,000 men and women that in an instant will be there for me. Someone got on the radio that night and called for a “city-wide assist officer.” It brought the biggest storm of “blue” that our history has ever known. It rained police officers for hours and bathed the downtown area with reds and blues.
When officers started arriving they encountered officers from other divisions. Officers they really didn’t know all that well or had worked with previously. No matter! They formed small groups and marched into what must have seemed like hell on earth.
No one had to stop and tell them what they were putting at stake by going. . .They just put on a brave face and went. They saw their brothers on the ground and went forward unto the breach.
How do you even train for that? Simple answer is you don’t. You’re born with it, you hear the calling and you make the conscious choice to answer it.
“What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an angel! In apprehension how like a god!” (--William Shakespeare)
Rookies still on field training and senior officers alike held their ground shoulder to shoulder watching each other’s back.
"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” (--Nelson Mandela)
Even after shots began, the disapproving taunting and public criticism continued. Yet they never wavered. Their obligation to the preservation of life stood true.
They stood between the danger and the citizens and held the line… They swallowed their grief and HELD THE LINE!!! They knew the fallen officers, they had shared experiences with them, heard stories about their kids. Angry, scared, shocked and in disbelief, they pressed on through the night. No one complained, it was now about protecting the ones still alive.
Officers are often accused (by our critics) of being heartless. It’s true we have to do things most people couldn’t and, to do those things, sometimes we have to separate ourselves from our emotions for the time being. However, we are not heartless. We are very emotional beings. We got into this line of work for the very fact that we care. “If you prick us, do we not bleed?”(--William Shakespeare)
When I returned to my division from downtown, we had gotten reports that one of the other divisions had been attacked, or at least shot at, and that we should be on alert. We were still in the fight…
We commenced a call back of all personnel, and one by one they showed up. Some of them on their day off, most of them had already worked earlier that day and had just laid their head to rest for the night. But not one single complaint. Dressed in their uniform, only slightly disheveled and ready to work, they arrived. “Where do you need me Lt.?” As the hours stacked up and the night turned into the early morning, the heavy emotions of what had happened began to take a toll. I gathered the remaining members of 3rd watch, who would normally have been dismissed hours ago, and invited them to go home and rest. Most of them refused. We compromised, and they agreed to rest in our break room. I think they just wanted to be close to each other and pray silently for their friends.
The morning came, and the day watch commander arrived. He asked me how long I had been on, and it took me a moment to answer him. It had been 12 hours since the attack began. and we had all been going full speed the whole night. I was exhausted and hadn’t even realized it. I was ordered to go home, and I chose not to argue.
*Some others I would like to mention…
The honor guard performed their duty in 100-degree heat, while in full formal dress. They sweated buckets for hours, for days, all week. They never left the side of the officer they were entrusted to guard. I wanted to say something about the nurses. We truly love them. There are so full of love and compassion. They don’t even know us but they work so hard to try and save us.
On the route from the funerals to the burials, the roads were lined with people that had come out to show support, many of them with flags or signs, waiving and shouting thank-you’s.
I noticed a lot of them were wearing their work clothes/uniforms. They didn’t have the day off, they were at their jobs and when they noticed the procession passing by their place of business, they felt compelled to walk out and show respect for an individual who had given his life to protect society.
Regardless of the criticism we receive, our pride in our duty and the respect that we have for each other and our profession knows no end. I once made a presentation to a criminal justice class at a nearby college. A student asked me if I found it hard to recruit police applicants with all the bad press these days. I told him, we the few, the chosen few, do this job, not for popularity, or fortune, or fame. We do it because it is the responsibility of the strong to protect the weak and no amount of bad press is ever going to change that.
My friend was assigned to the protest. He left the station with a 7-man response them. Almost every member of his team was killed or wounded. It wasn’t his fault. IT WASN”T HIS FAULT!!! But how can I convince him not to have those feelings. Anyone in his position would. I would. He had worked harder than anyone I know to arrange specialized training for his team. I should know, I proof read his memos for him. He figured out new ways to get equipment for his guys that the city doesn’t provide. He’s a saint among men, and still it will take him a very long time to forgive himself. Never-the-less, when he got back to the station from the hospital, he actually went around thanking everybody for their efforts. It is my honor and privilege to know men and women like him.
Monday, July 18, 2016
James Senegal wants to help elevate the profession of law enforcement from police chiefs to front line officer.
Senegal, a former Captain at the Magnolia Police Department, recently joined the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT) as the Director of Professional Development. He hopes to extend the prestigious professional development programs offered to top leaders in law enforcement to patrol personnel.
“I want to give back to law enforcement and to help elevate the profession,” said Senegal. “Law enforcement is a profession, like doctors and lawyers, and I want to develop more leadership programs to target the line officers.”
Senegal has been in law enforcement for 13 years. Before serving as second in command at the Magnolia Police Department, he was a Police Officer and SWAT Team Leader for the Hempstead Police Department and a Police Sergeant for the North Forest Independent School District. Senegal is active in many professional associations, including the Texas Police Chiefs Association, Texas Municipal Police Association, FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association, International Association of Chiefs of Police, and East Central Texas Police Chiefs Association.
Senegal also serves as a Board Member for the OneStar Foundation and a Commissioner for the OneStar National Service Commission, both of which are appointments from Texas Governor Greg Abbott, which builds a stronger nonprofit sector for better communities through programs like AmeriCorps. He also serves as an instructor for Below 100 Intensive, an initiative designed to reduce death and injuries suffered by law enforcement officers in the line of duty through training and awareness.
LEMIT currently offers several programs that promote personal and professional development among law enforcement officers. There include:
- The Post Critical Incident Seminar for officers who need assistance following traumatic incidents, such as police shootings, accidents, or suicides
- The LIFE program for female officers interested in advancing in the law enforcement field
- Public Information Officer for officers involved in disseminating information to the media on a day-to-day basis or during crisis situations
- Incident Command Simulation Training for High Consequence Events for officers to learn the national incident command model for disaster response and management
- Larry T. Hoover Distinguished Lecture Series, which invites prominent criminal justice scholars to discuss research with practical applications in the field
- Forensic Statement Analysis for officers and investigators to learn how to detect deception and hidden information in a person’s written or oral statements
- The Definitive Field Training Officer and Program Administrators Course for officers and supervisors to provide a more effective training experience for new officers
- Crimes Against the Elder for officers to learn how to investigate cases of elder abuse, such as neglect, physical abuse, financial exploration, and emotional abuse
- Crossing the Yellow Line – Serial Killer for officers to learn techniques and tools for investigating complex cases
- New Supervisor Course for officers to be successful in their first supervisory position
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
In 2008, Glotzbach was hired to assist the Leadership Command College (LCC), the flagship program at the institute, and she has never had a bad day over the last eight years. Recently, she was promoted to Director of the Leadership Development Unit, which oversees LCC as well as programs for Constables, Command Staff, and First Line Supervisors.
“I admire law enforcement,” said Glotzbach. “There is something in law enforcement that makes them want to be servants and to do for others. They rush in when others are rushing out. Anything that LEMIT can do to help them, that’s what we’re here for.”
The Leadership programs are designed to assist law enforcement executives with leadership skills for 21st Century policing. The programs create well-rounded individuals who are confident in their leadership abilities and are exposed to a wide variety of experiences in the profession.
“It is my honor and privilege to serve the Texas law enforcement community,” Glotzbach said. “I am proud to represent LEMIT on a local, national, and international level.”
Glotzbach has 35 years of experience in training and development positions, with an emphasis in security management emergency response and risk management. Before joining LEMIT, she helped incorporate the Texas Medical Center campus into local, state and federal emergency preparedness plans and led a team of eight that coordinate patient movements at health care facilities during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. She also served as a compliance specialist at Dynegy; a senior training consultant at Tenneco; and as a training consultant for Houston Lighting and Power.
Glotzbach found a home at LEMIT, where she continues to strive for the institute’s mission of professionalism, excellence, and care and concern for law enforcement in Texas. “We want to help them do their jobs more successfully,” said Glotzbach.
Among the programs in the Leadership Development Unit are:
Leadership Command College
The LCC provides law enforcement executives with the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully manage a modern law enforcement agency. The nine-week program focuses on leadership and general management; political, legal and social environments of law enforcement; and law enforcement administration. The program consists of instructional modules, selected reading assignments, and a comprehensive Leadership White Paper (LWP).
Texas Constable Programs
LEMIT offers three programs for Constables, including a primer for those newly elected to the post, a continuing education program every four years, and the Texas Constables Leadership College. The initial course curriculum includes the roles and duties of a Constable, citations, evictions, liabilities, office management, writs, and protective orders. The continuing education program covers emotional survival, ethics/leadership, writs, citations, collections, and the detection of deception. The Leadership College, which is voluntary, is modeled after the LCC and includes such topics as practical psychology for policing; internal affairs; leadership and ethics; intergovernmental relations; officer-involved shootings; incident command; cultural diversity and team building; legal liability and civil rights issues; professionalism and belonging; today’s etiquette; suicide terrorism; human resource management; and communications.
The program is designed for individuals who are newly assigned to their first supervisory position. It includes such topics as role identification, transition, leadership style, planning/organization, cultural diversity, counseling, liability, special investigators issues, community, civil rights, racial sensitivity, values, ethics, and principles.
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
On Aug. 3, LEMIT will host Below 100, a nationwide movement to raise awareness about the most common fatal hazards facing police. The program provides innovative training with a goal of reducing deaths in the line of duty for the nation’s law enforcement officers to under 100 per year, a number not seen since 1943. The five basic tenets of the program are:
- Wear your seatbelt
- Wear your vest
- Watch your speed
- What's Important Now (WIN)?
- Remember Complacency Kills!
“These five actionable items will change police culture and save lives,” said James Senegal, Director of Professional Development at LEMIT. “It’s about each and every officer, trainer and supervisor taking individual and collective responsibility for the decisions and actions that contribute to safety.”
While many officers issue tickets to motorists who fail to wear seatbelts, police also need to use these safety devices. According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 42 percent of officers killed in motor vehicle collisions over the last 30 years were not using safety belts. Officers are more likely to be killed responding to a non-critical event than actually being on the scene of a call for police service. While many officers believe that seat belts are tactically unsafe, there are proven techniques to counter this myth that can be offered as practical exercises for quick release of safety belts at the scene or just prior to arriving on scene. Although there has been a rise in ambushes on police officers, officers must realize they are many times more likely to be involved in a vehicle crash than they are a felonious assault. “No matter what the vehicle codes says, you’re not exempt from the laws of physics,” Senegal said.
In recently years, there has been a spike in the number of officers who have been killed by gunfire, with an increase of 70 percent between 2008-2011. One-quarter of police department do not require personnel to wear bulletproof vests, and even in departments where it is mandated, administration often does not hold officers accountable if they fail to wear protective armor. Wearing a vest triples the likelihood that an officer will survive a shot to the torso.
Many law enforcement officers are dying in accidents, so it is important to watch your speed and to slow down. According to the National Fatality Analysis Reporting System, 42 percent of fatal law enforcement crashes involved a single vehicle that strikes a fixed object off the roadway. Excessive speed plays a role in half of deadly accidents involving officers. “We want to get there as quickly as we can, but step one is to get there safely. Slow down,” Senegal said.
WIN focuses on living in the moment, evaluating and prioritizing what’s going when an officer is on duty. It includes being in the proper mindset to go to work, paying attention to surroundings, planning ahead, and focusing entirely on the task at hand. Be prepared for trouble by focusing on what’s important now.
Complacency is feeling security while not aware of potential dangers. The law enforcement professions require high levels of motivation and awareness. Don’t take shortcuts in doing the job, using good tactics, or protecting personal safety. There are many instances in where complacency can kill with such simple actions as leaving keys in ignition of a squad car, forgetting to call in a traffic stop before approaching the vehicle, or failing to seek assistance for a building search. It is important to remind yourself daily to operate safely and effectively. “Complacency kills because it leaves us unaware of potential dangers,” Senegal said.
LEMIT will offer a day-long class to train officers and supervisors to be aware of these potential dangers on the job. For more information, contact Charlotte Harding at (936) 294-3482 or email email@example.com.