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Police and Law Enforcement Home  >  Copline - Retired Officers Needed

 

Retired officers needed to
man confidential hotline
for stressed-out cops

Press Releases Issued by Copline™

NJLawman.com
Tuesday, January 3, 2006 11:21 a.m.

Remember the guy in your department who drank too much? Or the one who picked fights with his wife and flirted with other women? And how ‘bout the guy that intentionally left his vest behind every time he answered a “hot” call?

When you were on the job, you knew the signs of a stressed-out cop and you still know them today, years after retiring. Well now those insights and your on-the-job experience could make you the perfect active listener volunteer for stressed-out active cops.

“Copline,” the first toll-free national hotline exclusively for law enforcement officers and their families is being developed as a confidential way for officers to talk about on and off the job-related stress, alcohol abuse, relationship issues, depression, and even thoughts of suicide.

Seven days a week and 24 hours a day, active officers will be able to call Copline and talk with retired officers from their own state, people who understand the job, know the local politics, and have experienced the trauma.

Stephanie Samuels, a New Jersey-based psychotherapist with a practice devoted exclusively to law enforcement, is the primary force behind Copline.

“Officers in this country continue to choose to talk only to other officers,” when it comes to almost all issues, she says. For many, the impediment to better mental health is fear of being de-gunned or labeled crazy once the department finds out there’s a problem.

In New Jersey, Samuels initiated legislation and found start-up funding for a statewide hotline. The Statewide helpline continues to operate, but Samuels stepped back to devote more time to her own practice. Now she’s committed to creating a national hotline and the key to its success will be tapping the resource of retired officers.

“There’s a wealth of knowledge that a retired officer has that is lost when he or she leaves the department,” said Samuels. “Many of them miss the job they loved and gave so much to, and some are forced out early because of disability or other circumstances. This is giving back to a career that is part of their lives long after they separate from it.”

Here’s how the hotline will work:

  • Callers will be routed to the nearest retired officer from the state they are calling from.

  • Copline will be strictly confidential and nonprofit. Callers can trust that their agencies will not be informed.

  • All volunteers will fill out an in-depth questionnaire and will be thoroughly trained by licensed professionals who specialize in law enforcement.

  • Free training will be provided in each state.

  • At all times, licensed clinicians will be on call to assist the volunteer when a call goes beyond his training.

  • A network of medical and psychological referral resources will be established in each state so that volunteers can be a conduit to further help.

  • Lines will be connected to the retiree’s location, either at home or in a central locale. Even if you’ve retired out-of-state, lines can be connected to you at your new home state and you’ll still talk to officers back home.

Cops’ spouses and kids also are expected to use the hotline. “If somebody wants to speak to a spouse, we will have spouses trained to take the calls,” said Samuels. Eventually she wants to identify and train interested teens who can answer lines for other law enforcement children because, “Police officers’ kids go through different stress than kids in the general population.”

While Copline is in its development stages, said Samuels, “We welcome input from any active or retired officer in the country who’s interested in talking to us.”

If you’d like to become a Copline volunteer, call (800) 267-5463, x8, or send e-mail to copline@optonline.net.

Be sure to name the city, state and department you retired from, the number of years you were on the job and an address and phone number where you can be reached.

NJLawman.com
Tuesday, January 3, 2006 11:21 a.m.

 

 

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