Book Review on Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement

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  • Published : May 13, 2013
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Book Review
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Emotional Survival For Law Enforcement
A Guide for Officers and Their Families
By: Kevin M. Gilmartin, Ph.D.

Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement by Kevin M. Gilmartin, Ph.D. is a book that seeks to inform and instruct those seeking to be in law enforcement, law enforcement professionals and their families of the realities of a career in law enforcement- professionally and personally. And how to best prepare for emotional survival of “on-duty and off-duty” life. It also compares and contrasts what happens to officers at the beginning of this journey and what typical happens to officers overtime; focusing mainly on what happens to officers that don’t know the techniques of emotional survival. Though it does give some examples of officers who have emotional survival skills, it focuses on exemplifying the officers whose lives suffer from the lack of these skills and what great detriment it causes. Gilmartin begins by describing the early years of one’s law enforcement career. How typically- idealistic, enthusiastic and driven rookie officers are. And how quickly this world can change from positive to cynical and emotionally charged. How these long term behaviors if uncorrected, exacerbate, leading to mental and physical changes. Gilmartin uses personal experiences and stories to relate the topics addressed in this book, in a way that officers can readily see some of the same characteristics in themselves. Gilmartin also discusses psychological changes officers endure that can be caused by frequent exposure to horrific events. The most important definition made by Gilmartin describing officers on and off-duty is Hypervigilance; “the necessary manner of viewing the world from a threat-based perspective, having the mindset to see events unfolding as potentially hazardous.” (Gilmartin Pg. 35) According to Gilmartin this- “permits the on-duty officer to develop a subjective state of increased alertness/awareness of his/her...
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