Even with a handful of negative press and publicity, the overwhelming percentage of police protect us from the dark side of life and must cope with the unimaginable. The life-saving film “Keeping The Peace” supports their wellness on all levels. On May 14, 2019, that film premiered during National Police Week at the beautiful Peace and Justice Theatre at the University of San Diego.
Next up – in 2020 – “One Force – Keeping The Peace For All” and an all-new site.
Registration for the special event will open shortly. “One Force” will recognize and celebrate the best relations between all law enforcement and the community it serves. The police are there for us. Let’s be there for them. We’ll be there for each other … in One Force.
To Purchase a DVD for your own screening, connect with the director HERE.
Support this campaign directly HERE.
Why I’m Standing up for our Law Enforcement HERE.
Promotional Video of what officers have seen while on duty HERE.
A little bit of context
Out on the streets, police officers are given the task to uphold the laws and keep the peace. No matter your impression of officers, these are human beings who need to be in sound mind, steady emotion and physical balance. We need them to be at their best.
But there’s a problem
- “More than any other occupation, law enforcement is an emotionally and physically dangerous job. Police officers continuously face the effects of murder, violence, rape, child abuse, accidents and disasters. Long hours, rotating shifts and constant exposure to tragedy exacts a heavy toll on police officers and their families.”
~ Researcher and therapist Beverly J. Anderson
- Former Police Commander speaks on the rise of police suicide HERE
- According to Officer.com, there are an estimated 150,000 officers who have symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Injuries (PTSI). Recent research indicates that 1/3 of active-duty and retired officers suffer from post-traumatic stress, with some unaware of this condition.
- The Badge of Life Organization states law enforcement officers are 1.5 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population. With over 100 suicides per year – the #1 one killer of police officers is … law enforcement suicide.
- The rise of social media has helped to sensationalize the more unfavorable views of police officers, bringing more negativity and therefore more stress to those in the field.
Here’s what we’re doing about it
- We have created a 35-minute educational training film – “Keeping The Peace: Mental and Emotional Wellness For All Law Enforcement” – that brings awareness to the stresses and traumas experienced by officers and law enforcement personnel while on duty in order to empower them to normalize their emotional and mental responses and to take action in alleviating, diffusing and treating the symptoms of trauma.
- The purpose is for these officers to receive the clear message that they do have options in dealing with the stresses, and they can retain wellness in all areas of their lives.
- The purpose is to make sure we give retiring officers back to their families as healthy citizens: emotionally, mentally, spiritually.
- As the documentary – filmed in San Diego but shared with police departments nationwide – makes its rounds, we will see a cultural shift, as officers are seen as humans needing the same sort of support we all need. The shift will improve relations between the public and law enforcement, something greatly needed today.
- A larger purpose will be the change of a culture, where officers know it’s safe to receive the support they desperately need but may not feel free to ask for.
- The largest purpose is the vision of peace officers who truly keep the peace, for themselves, our neighborhoods, and our society.
- This documentary will have the same sort of long-lasting impact that Legacy Productions’ previous documentary “Indoctrinated” has had. See that documentary HERE: https://youtu.be/uBqm4VLogxY
- A world premiere May 14, 2019 at the “Peace and Justice Theatre” on the University of San Diego campus drew over 200 officers, citizens and chiefs in order to see the film, hold a panel discussion and listen to speakers – all in the drive for wellness of body, mind, spirit and community.
You Can Join Us
- Inclusion – Let us know if you or a contact would be a helpful addition to the footage to be used in a future Wellness Training throughout California.
- Promotion – Getting the word out by sharing this webpage as well as forwarding other social media posts about this project.
- Fundraising – We are raising funds to cover costs of further dissemination of the film, in public forums and in mailings to agencies throughout the nation. Click HERE.
Summer Stephan, San Diego District Attorney
Stephanie Samuels, Founder and Director of Copline, Inc.
Deanna Dotta, of the Wellness Unit San Diego Police Department
Heather Seddon, Detective, San Diego Police Department
Sarah Creighton, Retired Assistant Chief, San Diego Police Department
Phillip C. Tingirides, Ret. Deputy Chief / Commanding Officer, LAPD with 38 years of service
Manuel Rodriguez, Ret. Chief, National City Police Department
Retired captain of the La Mesa Police Department, Author of “Bulletproof Spirit”
Lori Luhnow, Police Chief, Santa Barbara Police Department
Terry McManus, Police Chief, Capitola Police Department
Erin Hubbard, Chaplain, SDPD Mid-City Division
Dr. Sara Gilman, Psy.D., L.M.F.T., President of the Coherence Associates Inc
On September 13, I had the great privilege of speaking with Erin Hubbard, the chaplain of the San Diego PD, Mid-city Division. On film, he spoke passionately about his love for the officers and the ways he can support their well-being as well as the families’ well-being. His endorsement is here: https://youtu.be/ELC6nXOUOwE
Part of his duty is to go along with the officers on their patrols and the incident calls. I rode along with both Mr. Hubbard and Sgt. Omar Sinclairof the SDPD to capture footage as well as document the way the chaplain serves the officers who serve our community.
Also on this day, we started to receive input from family members who are relaying their highest vision of wellness for their loved ones who serve on the force. They are finishing the sentence “What I want for my loved one is…” This will be a powerful montage towards the film’s ending.
On September 12, we got clearance to use our insightful interview with Dr. Jay Nagdimon, police psychologist currently working for the LAPD in its Behavioral Sciences Services unit. His vast experience in the field is immensely valuable to the officers, and to this film.
Had a very productive day, a DREAM DAY, in terms of capturing needed footage for the “Keeping The Peace” project that supports first responders / police in addressing and preventing post traumatic injuries. A sensitive subject, but one that must be approached directly.
Today, had the honor of attending the All Chiefs/Sheriff meeting where I was able to capture soundbites from the Chiefs from Chula Vista, Harbor Police, El Cajon, La Mesa, Escondido, Oceanside, the SDPD, Coronado, and also the San Diego County Sheriff and the San Diego District Attorney.
Click picture for endorsement from the District Attorney here:
Each was gracious, humble and so caring about their officers’ wellness. I was overwhelmed by what they delivered. I KNOW that their words of encouragement in this film will help shift a culture where officers asking for necessary mental, emotional, physical and even spiritual support becomes commonplace.
This will help everyone in ALL our communities. Shifting perceptions and experiences to become one force in the good for us all.
Carlsbad Chief of Police Neil Gallucci – In the middle of the month I had a great conversation with Chief Gallucci about what his department is doing for officer’s wellness. He is very open to being a principle interview for the project.
Lori Luhnow, Police Chief, Santa Barbara Police Department – With the help of former Assistant Chief of SDPD Sarah Creighton, I was able to connect with Chief Luhnow who was in town presenting a class to law enforcement lieutenants. She spoke candidly and passionately. See endorsement here: https://youtu.be/Jhqeu4jxyvE
Jennifer Tejada, Police Chief of Emeryville, CA – I spoke today August 29 via phone with this amazing chief. Four years ago, she was spiraling down and needed help herself. She found it in “mindfulness” modalities such as meditation and biofeedback. She now offers such techniques to her department, and every week she hears from another interested party wanting to learn more about what she is doing for what she calls “the humans behind the badge.”
Heather and Brian – I was privileged to interview the success story of this film Heather Seddon and her husband Brian at their Oceanside home. It is so important to hear from the family members, as they are intimately involved in their loved one’s well being. In this case, they spoke of the traumatic 2015 incident where Heather was shot in the neck after a foot pursuit of a suspect. Both Brian and Heather were very open and honest about their responses to this life-changing and yet life-affirming experience.
On The Scene – In the upcoming week, I will be filming Heather at the site where the shooting incident took place. She has told the story many times. I believe having film footage of her recounting the story at the precise location will make the story more immediate and impacting for the audience.
Terry McManus, Police Chief, Capitola Police Department – Along with Chief Tejada, Chief McManus was in town teaching a class to law enforcement lieutenants. He too believes a solid focus is needed on officer wellness. See him here: https://youtu.be/5mc9q9z2A_E
All Chief’s Meeting – I will be attending the September 5 meeting where all the local chiefs are in attendance, requesting a short soundbite from each around their support of wellness for their officers. Nothing gives a bigger green light to ask for and get the needed help than a commanding officer’s endorsement.
Sponsorship – Over this month I’ve also reached out to a five potential sponsors for this project, in the drive to ultimately find an agency, business or angel donor whose support for these officers and the belief in this higher purpose project inspires them to fund “Keeping The Peace.”
I was so honored and thrilled to interview retired assistant chief Sarah Creighton today. She was present in 2011 to help develop the Wellness Unit at the San Diego Police Department. This gave a space for officers to deal with any emotional or mental trauma they faced in the line of duty. Groundbreaking then. And it’s only going to improve. The great work being done there will continue on, as documented in “Keeping The Peace,” an educational film to support officers in facing, treating and preventing any post-traumatic stress symptoms. This film will have positive rippling effects and touch lives in many ways. We’re on it! See her HERE.
I had a great conversation with Dr. Sara Gilman, Psy.D., L.M.F.T., President of the Coherence Associates Inc in Encinitas. She has worked extensively with officers in their treatment of PTSD, using a highly effective modality EMDR. More on that later. We’ll be able to interview Sara in the next two weeks. The big focus for her: prevention!
- I am so excited to let you know that today I had the honor of interviewing Manuel Rodriguez, Chief of Police for the National City Police Department. He was articulate, positive and uplifting in his message about supporting his officers in their full state of wellness. The best part was our aligning on the highest vision for the film. (See that HERE.)
- Chief Rodriguez and I spoke about the monthly Chief of Police meeting for July. He mentioned that he’ll see if I can attend and bring the concept of the project.
- San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan is also following up on the agenda for this July meeting of the police chiefs.
- I’m getting closer to confirming the male police officer who can provide his success story. Three candidates at present. This will provide a good example to accompany the story from Heather of the SDPD, who is already confirmed.
- On June 27, which just by chance was PTSD Awareness Day, I was a guest on the radio show “Rescue the Rescuer” along with retired special agent Victor Resendez. It was a lively discussion about the plight of first responders, and how we need to ensure they are taken care of in ways not routinely considered. Victor kicked butt. So did Stephen, the host. The show will be broadcast in the next couple weeks HERE.
- A funny one. I was interviewed by Leland Dieno for his podcast … AND I DIDN’T EVEN REALIZE IT! Ha. I somehow mistook an actual recording with a preliminary conversation, and after our phone call ended, I realized that this may have been recorded. I checked and, yup, that was the interview … recorded while I drove from Rubios to Starbucks on Broadway. 🙂 The link for this broadcast will be available in the next two weeks.
- Chris, my close contact from New Jersey who has ties to the NYPD and Homeland Security, is supporting me with securing input from family members of police officers. I felt it important to hear from the family of officers, so Chris will help me in gathering some soundbites of their experiences. If you know of any family members of law enforcement who would want to contribute to this project, let me know and we can talk.
- The Questions for Family include:
- What have you seen in the behavior of your loved one? Answer by starting with the line “I have seen…”
- How has it impacted you in your life?
- What do you want for your loved one? (ie “I want to see them happy and relaxed” “I want to go on vacations…”)
Today is PTSD Awareness Day. The goal has always been to bring awareness to the topic of trauma experienced by law enforcement and first responders and then provide solutions to address, treat and prevent further symptoms of this trauma. That is the goal; the higher vision is peace for our peace keepers and for best relations between the police and the public. We’re all in this together.
Interviews are now set in the near future with:
- Chief of Police Manual Rodriguez, National City (Video testimonial above)
- Wellness Unit, San Diego Police Department
- Commanding Officer, LAPD, Alfred Labrada
- Retired Assistant Chief Sarah T. Creighton
- Two present-day officers who have success stories to tell
- Heather Is a Yes! – A wonderful, open and transparent police officer in the San Diego Police Department got approval to speak on film about her experiences on the force and her healing from trauma. Heather was shot in the neck after a foot pursuit. Her comeback story into wellness will inspire many. We’ll be filming in two locales in early July – on the job in the Clairemont area, and her home with her supportive husband.
- La Mesa Officer – I have two contacts who are reaching out to an officer Tim who has an incredible success story – coming back from his own post-traumatic injuries. This would help me round out the real-life “stories” of present-day officers for the film.
- National City PD is a Yes! – I’m in conversation with Sgt. Shepard about the best time-table to interview appropriate personnel from this department, including the high possibility of the chief of police here.
- NYPD, Homeland Security – I’m in contact with a supportive friend of mine, Chris, whose father was a commanding officer over 15,000 officers in the NYPD in the 1970s. Chris presently has connections with NYPD and Homeland Security, and will assist me in gathering various footage. He was 10 when his father was held hostage by the Black Panthers, and has his own trauma he has had to heal. He will tell his story.
- Sycuan Police Department – A close contact is reaching out to this agency to speak with its chief.
- Border Patrol – Another close contact is reaching out for commentary and participation from the nearby border patrol, which would have their own stories to tell.
- On June 13, retired special forces agent Victor Resendez and I presented the project to the La Mesa Rotary. We were very well received by the club, and a number of contacts were made, including Jerry who brought the idea of expanding the audience of the film to law enforcement families, and officers who have already retired or left the force. Great idea Jerry!
- Chaplain is a Yes! – At the Rotary event a chaplain, Dani, introduced us and later agreed to be part of the film. I was searching for a chaplain to be a part of this, and there she was introducing me at an event!
- On June 27, Victor and I will be the guests on an Internet radio show called Rescue the Rescuer (LINK HERE).
- On August 10, I will be a guest at the local Sunrise Rotary off the 8 freeway and 70th street in San Diego. I’m still confirming who will co-lead this with me.
- LAPD is a Yes! – A mutual friend got me in touch with an LAPD Commanding Officer who is willing to speak about how Peer Support and his agency helps officers needing to overcome any symptoms of stress and trauma. I am sending questions over so he can clear them with his Public Information Officer. The Los Angeles Sheriff will also be contacted in case I can film both on the same day.
There you go. So much good news!
Ready to tell a story of wellness, healing and hope. Thank you for your continued support.
UPDATES / MOVING FORWARD
I filmed an interview with Nancy K. Bohl-Penrod, Ph.D., director of The Counseling Team International, which oversees officer support in agencies across the nation. This was an eye-opening interview that put a new vantage point on wellness for our law enforcement. Her bio HERE.
NBC TV’s Rory Devine is working on granting me permission to use footage from one of her story segments HERE. This San Diego Wellness Unit is supporting the project in varous ways.
Big News – The Chief of the National City Police Department has given the green light to support the film, and asks what ways the department can assit. I have asked if the chief himself, Manual Rodriguez, will go on camera stating his belief in officers receving support in their wellness. Think how huge that will be for all the officers below him in knowing how safe it would be to reach out for support.
On June 13, retired special forces agent Victor Resendez and myself will present the project to the La Mesa Rotary. PowerPoint all ready to roll!
On June 27, we’ll be the guests on an Internet radio show called Rescue the Rescuer (LINK HERE), whose audience are those same first responders who are dealing with results of post-traumatic stress, and look for the hope we all can share.
Two more days before this campaign closes, midnight Thursday, May 31!!!
An update to our campaign to bring peace to the minds and hearts of the law enforcement, to the streets, and ultimately to the relations between the police and the public.
- Along with an officer highlighted in the film, I have been invited to be a guest on the Radio Show “Rescue the Rescuer”. (Link: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/rescuetherescuer).
- I’ll be joined by retired DOJ undercover agent Victor Resendez as we present the film project to the La Mesa Rotary on June 13. Polishing up a PowerPoint for this and other presentations to come.
- I met the La Mesa police chief at a local gathering, we addressed the project, and he took documentation to review.
- The San Diego District Attorney continues to be supportive of the project and wants to discuss my potential presentation at the gathering of the local Police Chiefs. I truly believe if we can have the chiefs participate in the film, endorsing the idea of officers getting the support they need around their wellness, it will change a culture where some may be concerned about asking for help.
I will continue to offer brief updates to this project, even after the completion of this particular campaign. This film will be made.
Thank you again for your support.
If you know anyone who has shared interest at all, let them know about the deadline: Tomorrow – Thursday, May 31, midnight.
Keeping you all in the loop on the gift we are giving to the law enforcement agencies – both local and nationally. The progress on the educational film “Keeping The Peace” is gaining momentum!
The word is getting out about this project and people are talking about it, sharing it across social media. It’s a topic that goes under the radar for various reasons. At the same time, it’s a conversation we need to have. Lives are at stake.
I’ve reached out to 18 special interest groups that support police on the wellness front. Groups include the “National Alliance for Law Enforcement Support,” “National Police Wives Association” and “Stand With Blue Line.”
I will be presenting at the La Mesa Rotary on Wednesday, June 13, along with retired special agent Victor Resendez. We’ll have 30 minutes to present our PowerPoint on the effects of stress and trauma on law enforcement, and what can be done about it.
Much more is going on behind the scenes, but we’ll keep it here for now.
If you ever have any questions, please let me know.
It will take a team effort to see this through.
Thank you for being on this team.
Hey there supporters of the “Keeping The Peace” campaign.
Although it’s only been two weeks since I kicked off this project, there has been a flurry of activity. It’s true what they say: leap and see what happens!
And I wanted to give an abridged bulletpoint update for you all:
- I interviewed 2 wonderfully genuine and authentic retired police officers (Victor Resendez and Valinda Sutton) about what they endured as officers, for a promotional video. (https://youtu.be/wl2vUSirTp0)
- Dave Hall of the “CopLine” support hotline contacted me requesting we join forces on this project, as they provide a solution for officers suffering with PTSD.
- Dan Willis, retired captain, author of “Bulletproof Spirit” and expert trainer on the topic of PTSD, was interviewed in depth about his knowledge on the subject. A short endorsement video was created. (https://youtu.be/YnU7265rf9s)
- Deanna Dotta of the SDPD Wellness Unit is lining up two current officers to share their current story of overcoming PTSD through the wellness program.
- I met with National City Police Department’s Sergeant Steve Shephard, who liked the project so much he is taking it to his chief, who is a huge proponent of wellness on the force.
- I received a call from Nancy Bohl of the Counseling Team, which offers counseling to a number of agencies throughout Southern California. I will film her on May 21 as she will be in San Diego at a training.
- A listing of 94 other contacts are organized in a spreadsheet, all potential contacts to make this gift a reality.
To help ease the post-traumatic stress that may haunt local police officers’ dreams and waking life, Lemon Grove resident and filmmaker James Anthony Ellis has taken on a project to document some of those traumatic triggers as well offer pathways of support.
A 30-minute educational film – titled “Keeping the Peace” – will be gifted to police agencies across San Diego and then the nation for in-house training of officers. The purpose? To bring awareness to the stresses and traumas experienced by officers and law enforcement personnel while on duty in order to empower them to normalize their emotional and mental responses to on-the-job experiences and to take action in alleviating, diffusing and treating the symptoms of trauma (PTSD), so that they can retain wellness in all areas of their lives.
Today’s stats can be grim:
- According to Officer.com, there are an estimated 150,000 officers who have symptoms of Post Traumatice Stress Injuries (PTSI). Recent research indicates that 1/3 of active-duty and retired officers suffer from post-traumatic stress, with some unaware of this condition.
- Badge of Life Organization states law enforcement officers are 1.5 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population. With over 100 suicides per year – the #1 one killer of police officers is … law enforcement suicide.
- According to researcher and therapist Beverly J. Anderson: “More than any other occupation, law enforcement is an emotionally and physically dangerous job. Police officers continuously face the effects of murder, violence, rape, child abuse, accidents and disasters. Long hours, rotating shifts and constant exposure to tragedy exacts a heavy toll on police officers and their families.”
Says Ellis, who is presently fundraising to complete the film, “Police protect us from the dark side of life and must cope with the unimaginable. This film guides them to address emotional trauma they face. The police are there for us. Let’s be there for them.”
Donations can be made though the Chuffed crowd-funding platform from May 1 through May 31.
Ellis took on this project after the success of his previous documentary “Indoctrinated; The Grooming of our Children into Prostitution” garnered so much attention and created large-scale positive impact. After viewing “Indoctrinated” at a 2017 screening, Sergeant Matthew Blumenthal of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department told Ellis he wanted to show that film to everyone in his human trafficking department. This inspired Ellis to consider other types of documentaries that could serve in a like manner.
Said Ellis, “No matter your impression of officers, these are human beings who need to be in sound mind, steady emotion and physical balance. We need them to be at their best.”
Ellis says he understands there exists a conflict for police officers who may fear appearing weak and unsuitable for a job if they ask for help in dealing with emotionally wounding experiences. But he believes the time is right for caring for the plights of these officers.
A steady supporter of the film, Sergeant Katherine Lynch of the La Mesa Police Department Training Unit, said, “For too long, officers have suffered in silence. We can no longer afford to ignore the effects of critical incidents on the men and women who wear the badge. Until the day comes when we no longer lose a single officer to suicide, we have a tremendous amount of work to do and any tool in our toolbox can help us save a life.”
If Ellis has his way, the officers will know the responses to trauma are normal, and realize reaching out for support is completely understandable. His list of purposes for the film include:
- For officers to receive the clear message that they do have options in dealing with the stresses, and they can retain wellness in all areas of their lives.
- To ensure retiring officers are given back to their families as healthy citizens: emotionally, mentally, spiritually.
- To see a cultural shift, as officers are seen as humans needing the same sort of support we all need.
- To see an industry shift, where officers know it’s safe to receive the support they desperately need but may not feel free to ask for.
- To support a vision of peace officers who truly keep the peace, for themselves, our neighborhoods, and our society.
Ellis has already gathered a list of 40 potential interviews, along with the verbal support of the San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan.
Funds that are raised will go towards three months of production costs, to include: equipment rental, pre-production research, the production of outlining the film and filming the footage, and the post-production of editing, adding music, titles, and disseminating the film where it can be of best use.
Said Maxine Lynch, Past President of the California Peer Support Association, “Having a training film such as ‘Keeping the Peace’ available will absolutely help us educate the people in the departments who will need to know about and need to utilize peer support systems.”
Those wishing to support this campaign can contact Jim Ellis HERE.