By definition, a perfect storm is a particularly bad or critical state of affairs, arising from a number of negative and unpredictable factors.
The perfect storm could lead to devastation for an entire agency. The signs are there…
“When you begin to look, you begin to see!”
In a weather-related perfect storm, the weatherman can predict when danger is coming. They help warn the public of how soon we need to seek shelter.
In public service, this perfect storm can often be fueled by a chain of events that can build up in an agency, as well as in an officer’s career.
And just like a tornado, your house can come crashing down in seconds.
5 Perfect Storm Questions
- Is it difficult for your agency to retain officers?
- Do you have Leaders that resist change?
- What NEW training has been implemented to motivate and improve morale?
- How well do you integrate all (4) generations in working together?
- Does your FTO program promote morale, or try to beat new officers down?
RITE’s perfect storm in Public Safety is called Block-out Syndrome
Block-out Syndrome is defined as, When a situation gets escalated in a moment’s notice, all can spiral out of control.
During Block-Out Syndrome, the public safety officer is not thinking clearly, and only looking for one outcome; their own. In RITE we call this falling off the emotional awareness ladder, into a fit of anger or rage.
Block-out Syndrome can be disastrous!
- Career-ending for the officer
- Causes harm to community
- Can put a black cloud over the agency
- Creates negative media press for the agency
- Creates community mistrust
Block-out happens in seconds and there is no way to predict when that employee will SNAP out-of-control. Just like a weatherman who can’t pin-point where a tornado will make landfall, but there are elements in weather patterns that can help predict where that a tornado could occur.
The same is true for block-out syndrome. Typically, it is a chain of events leading up to it, that an agency can see in that employee. This employee may display signs of a storm brewing inside of them.
Fueling a Perfect Storm
- Being angry, or blaming others (ie: missed promotion)
- Toxic employees or harassment – The Bully or Unprofessional Workplace
- Family, Relationship issues, Divorce
- Sudden personal tragic event – Loss of a loved one, or pet, or accident
- Pandemic Pressures (COVID 19)
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD Depression)
- Lack of sleep or bad sleeping habits
- Unhealthy eating habits (Gaining weight)
- Having addiction problems (emotionally eating, alcohol and drug abuse)
Officer Wellness, PTS(D), and Suicide
Officer Wellness Programs educate employees on ‘emotional intelligence vital signs’ of a perfect storm inside an agency. Many officers are walking around with post traumatic stress of some measure, but rarely get help.
In our RITE class we ask participants if they knew of anyone who committed suicide. Most raise their hands.
When we ask the second question…. Did you know before-hand that this person was going to do it? Everyone in class replies, “No.”
Most class participants said they knew the employee had some depressive issues or show signs of being different. In most cases that same questionable officer will always say…. I’m fine…. when they are NOT FINE!
Officer Wellness should include:
- Steps to help PTSD – Link to ideas
- Career Cumulative Trauma – Link
- SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder (A major depressive disorder) – Learn more
- Emotional Intelligence Awareness
- What Is Block-Out Syndrome – Education on it
- Emotional Intelligence Vital Signs – Learn the signs
When an officer starts to show signs that there may be something wrong, then it is important that they have access to help before that perfect storm blows into your agency.
Other Programs to include:
- Access to professional counseling
- Peer Support Groups inside the agency
- Mentorship Programs and Accountability Partners
- Providing each employee with coping tools like – RITE’s EI Tools
- Duty to Intervene Step In, Tap Out, Take Action
Every officer during their tenure experiences ‘low points’ in their profession. We just have to do a better job helping that officer through those low moments.
Let the perfect storm blow over your agency because you have taken proactive steps to help shelter your employee’s safety through the rough times, bad times, and even the good times.
A good Professional Workplace Culture should provide a foundation and shelter to help the agency prepare for the next perfect storm. Emotional Intelligence training and tools like what we teach in RITE Training, has benefited many agencies adapt and overcome.
RITE Academy Stats
- Trained 950+ agencies on Professional Workplace Culture
- Created over 930 RITE train-the-trainers
- Gave out more than 550,000 RITE Tools for employees
- Provided over 100 newsletters for agencies to give to their employees
- Helped agencies reduce their use-of-force incidents by 65%
- Educated local governments, state, and federal representative on public safety reform
At RITE Academy, we have provided training to fire, police, EMS, 911 operators and corrections officers, EI Tools and Exercises that help each person personally control their emotions. It’s a huge Ah-ha when you finally ‘wake up’ and realize that you have been holding yourself back.
With every class, the LADDER, Stop-Light, and NEW DAY Tools and Banners are included in the training, and left behind for the agency to use. RITE is not a one and done class!
Bring RITE to your agency…