One CRITICAL Thing Cops Aren’t Telling You

Law Enforcement officers are suffering but aren’t likely to be forthcoming about it. I’m not OK with that. It’s time to make a real difference.

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Author: rafael.nieves


42 thoughts on “One CRITICAL Thing Cops Aren’t Telling You

  1. If you're a cop, EMT, firefighter, military, please know there's help out there. Cops like to keep things in and bottle up emotions because of the stigma. Their city or department may toss them away for reaching out for help but this day and time it's much more understandable for officers to need help and lots of agencies understand this. Please end the stigma and reach out to your agency if you need help. Don't drown yourself in alcohol and/or prescription medication to try to heal from all the death, destruction and hate you've had to experience over the years. Mike the cop gives great advice! Definitely a good mentor for police officers and public servants in general. People always say "Well that's what they signed up to do so deal with it." No. That's not right. They didn't sign up for nightmares, PTSD and so much hate. The amount of death they see, the stressful events and the evil side of humanity just takes the the toll. Believe me, I understand. Wish the general public had a clue or a care for the things these officers and first responders sacrifice for the better of society and humanity. Let's reach out and help our first responders. When you meet a first responder, you have no idea what their eyes have seen and their ears have heard. Especially a first responder with ten or more years experience, no matter if they work in a large city, small town, big or small county, it doesn't matter. They take so much in over the years. Let's be there for our responders like they are there for us. And believe me, they're there for the public whether they're hated or not. They'd take a bullet for you. They'd help you, listen to you and arrest you if necessary. These are the unsung heroes of society and they don't get anywhere near the amount of respect and appreciation they deserve. Not to mention the politicians that want to cut their salaries and budgets in today's cancel culture. I have mad respect for any group that supports the mental health and well being of our first responders. Keep up the good work and let's save some first responder lives!

  2. I think a big part of the problem is alot of officers are afraid to say anything or ask for help due to the fear of having their job terminated. so not only are they having to deal with something so difficult they are also dealing with it alone with no help at all.

  3. Saw it in the Military and think part of the issue is fear of being "benched". Let's face it, yours is a career that requires a level of drive and dedication that many other people will never know. Asking for help risks appearing flawed or weak or otherwise incapable of performing your duties. There is such a stigma placed upon those with "mental health issues" the fear becomes "if I ask for help, I'll end up on the other side of the thin blue line". Type A personalities cling feverishly to their professional endeavors, anything that puts that at risk is terrifying. I have seen soldiers critically injured whose only concern was "will they let me jump again?". I can only imagine what someone with suicidal thoughts must be going through when they fear even asking for help. You are doing a fantastic job bringing light to this issue. 22+ year Vet in awe of what you do.

  4. When it comes to PTSD, the hardest part it the fear of the reaction, if you even mention moments. The fear is justifiable with certain laws and the risk to your job is possible. Being in USMC and then a LEO, admitting to not dealing with certain stresses was like death. It was death to my career and I wasn’t able to do anything else job wise. I had family so I’m able to live, I know many who didn’t.
    I love law enforcement, but felt I couldn’t handle it. After coming home from Iraq, I worked gas stations and went to college, but after 4 years, only place not giving that weird uncomfortable looks during interviews was Law Enforcement. Interviewers would hit that USMC and ask about active combat. As soon as you said “yes” the interview was over. After being a LEO, never hardly got an interview, but many times I was turned down from even being able to turn a resume in. Excuses as “you’re overqualified” or “you could make coworkers uncomfortable”.
    I think military veterans are more accepted these days, but I only know 2 LEOs that got jobs after leaving. Security guard and county maintenance, both was out work for over 2 years. The rest of us are retired, like it or not. Most of us like it or learn to deal with it.

  5. Thanks so much for addressing this! As an volunteer EMT and fellow first responder, I've seen the devasting effects that the stress and gruesome/traumatic calls can have on first responders. Both of my older brothers are in law enforcement and they know people who have taken their own lives. Sometimes the things you see haunt you and never leave you. I hate it when people are like, "you shouldn't be in that type of work if you cant handle it" like no one is eqipped to see that much evil and pain. I've heard this sentiment echoed by even other first responders, which is awful because we should be the ones supporting each other.

  6. Mike, I really appreciate all of your videos you put out… I've been involved with law enforcement since a very early age and couldn't have imagined doing anything else. I think i heard it said best on the show Southland…. You're a cop because you don't know how not to be a cop….. I just love your stuff and fully support what ya do my dude…..

  7. A nephew of mine became a Firefighter 1 and 2, then became an EMT, then a Paramedic, and now is on the SWAT team for Medical. I helped raise him because his dad worked 12 hours shifts and his mom was basically worthless. So, when he came to live with me he was having problems figuring out what he wanted to do with his life at 15 (I was with my nephew from birth all the way up to me working for the Feds, 6 month out of the year, that my brother was on night shift. My nephew was going to study lizards and things of that nature. I was a certified 1st Repsonder, working for the Feds and still am certified. So, if someone got hurt or had a heart attack, I got called before the ambulance because I was literally on scene. Having been certified, I started to help people in horrible car accidents and even life threatening injuries from fights (yep). Anyway, through the times my nephew saw me be the first on scene, taking over the scene until Police; or if the person was injured to the point of possible death, even the Police Officer would let me keep the scene as the medical-on-scene, but he or she would take over the dealings of the wreck. I would keep the medical part till I released it to the firemen, paramedics, etc.. When my nephew was 19, he was in a horrific car accident, sadly I couldn't go to the scene but met him at the hospital when they got him there 2-1/2 hours later. I got the call from the chaplain on duty that my nephew was so critical that he was more than likely going to die and that I needed to get there as soon as possible. My brother was 4-1/2 hours away. So, when they finally got my 6'4", 320 lb. nephew enough pain meds on board, I was able to go into Trauma 1. He wanted me to tell him the absolute truth, so I had to tell him that they didn't think he would make it. As family started to be called in, my nephew would not let me out of his sight. Even though 2 could be in the room, everyone else including my mom, his grandma, had to take turns because I had always been the one beside when he was injured or had surgery, plus I had babied him from birth, so even though he was so big, he needed to be treated like a child. I did tell him that God wasn't going to let him die. That I had been watching his stats and even though he had lost so much blood, he was little by little turning from "critical" to "critical-but-stable". I think what he liked so much is that I was very truthful with him and his injuries. Even though he had his safety belt on, his friend had run off a mountain going over 100 mph, the car and they boys flew 200 feet out and 60 feet down. His safety belt broke and somehow he had the car land on him. His injuries were so multiple but the most visible was that his right lower leg looked like a shark had taken a bite out of it. As his pain meds worked better for him and I got him calmed he wanted me to explain every single injury. Mind you, he had seen me treat a lady who was in a car wreck, not wearing her safety belt, got out of her car on a 4 lane on each side of the highway. Her brains were literally coming out of her head. I had to physically restrain her. With him seeing that, he was prepared to hear the worst. When I told him about seeing broken bones, muscle fascia, tendons, etc., he wanted a mirror so he could see the injury! After he healed (6 months later) he told me he wanted to help people like I did, but wanted to do it full time. He got a book that literally showed almost everything he would see as a firefighter/paramedic (I helped him to study it). He moved back to Missouri and started firefighting school. He would call me after he got accredited with each new title. Then the calls came in when he would see something so horrible he couldn't tell anyone else because they just couldn't stomach it. Sometimes the conversations were 20 minutes long and some were 4 hours long; especially when there was a death. Amazing how not too many people can take hearing of blood and gore, yet those of us that have not only seen it but did something about it; he could talk to me. No judgments if he puked or cried his eyes out on scene because a baby was killed or he had to pull a child out of a river! Or they wouldn't find the humor in a man that had cardiac arrest; fell down so hard his heart started again; that happened three times with same man. My nephew and his EMT partner tried to hang onto the older gentlemen but when his heart stopped he would slip through even their big arms and hit the ground and come back to life! They finally got him on the gurney, mainlined him, got meds on board, but didn't even have to use the paddles. Now I can see the humor how a 150-pound old man could die standing up (because he was going to walk to the ambulance), hit the ground and have his heart start again. My nephew went back 2 years later (small town) to see the older gentleman and was so happy to see the man had a pacemaker put in and remembered my nephew! I felt bad that he felt he couldn't talk to anyone in Missouri about the horrors of what he saw, but was gracious that he called me. His second wife could handle the rough things, so he was able to confide in her. When I get to see him he will still tell me some weird case he had or a sad one. I don't understand, I guess, why people can't even hear the start of a conversation about the things he sees and has to do. I wish there would be more people willing to listen to their spouse, relative, or friend that deals with the worst of the human condition. I know I can't tell my mom and she gets freaked out when I jump out to go help someone in a bad car wreck when I see people just pass them up! I think the best thing a Police Officer or a 1st Responder can do, believe it or not, is to pray with the patient or person they are trying to talk out of killing themselves. I know, if I have time with the person, I pray with the people I am treating.The family and friends need to learn the cues of suicide; because usually when someone is going to kill themselves, they won't tell anyone; but there are cues. I am so glad you help the men in women in the Police Departments and 1st Responders. They need to realize it isn't weak, but strong to know they need to ask for help. That it is "human" to get so caught up in the stress and feel like no one is listening or appreciates their job. And there is that big powerful thing called "Prayer For and With" a person needing it. Thank you and your family and Godspeed. Sorry for the book, but maybe someone needed to read this…I can hope.

  8. A friend of mine's brother committed suicide last year. The police team that came to investigate the scene said it had been the third suicide scene they'd been to that day. The other two were first responders; one officer and one firefighter. It seems this is a problem not only in the US, but maybe for law enforcement around the world (I live in Brazil). Can't stress enough the importance of what you're doing. Thank you.
    Oh, "thank you" in Russian is "spasiba", if I'm not mistaken. Keep up the good work!

    P.S.: Tonto's story moved me to tears. Much respect for that man.

  9. This was a problem when i worked in Corrections as well. Mental health issues, healing process issues, and not coming forward to ask for help. That's why I'm starting school soon for psychology because I want to help people especially Police, Corrections officers, veterans, and first responders. I've been there so I can relate.

  10. lots of thin blue line flags, love and respect for law enforcement around my rural area here. i have struggled with suicidal thoughts myself so i have an idea what goes on. stay strong officers. we need you.

  11. @MikeTheCop thank you for doing a video on this. Most of my family has been in law enforcement and I have lost both my dad and my sister to suicide, so this is an issue that is very close to my heart.

  12. Mike, nice work.
    I'm a British police officer and I joined the job because I was friends with an officer who took her life, I was forced to think about where I was going in life. unless you have been in the job and experienced it at the sharp end you have no idea what we go through. In the UK we thankfully have loads of military charities but only one for first responders (call for backup), and having chatted with some army guys over the years even they have not seen the same sort of stuff as we do.
    There is a "man up" sort of attitude in the job, the blank professional face we have to show to the public to make them feel that it's all being sorted out and that its all OK, but the truth of what we see is not seen by the public, the deaths, the depredation, people reduced to their addictions, what drugs really do to people, frankly the horrors that no one else sees and frankly shouldn't.
    The stupid TV programs showing flashing lights and foot chases are less than 1% of the job, 99% is grinding paperwork, and social work (and yes we all live for the 1% cos' its fun).
    Please keep up the good work, stay safe.

  13. That interview got to me. My father was recently buried at Arlington, He was retiered army captain ,helicopter pilot, he was awarded the silver star and a retired police officer.He never talked about it.

  14. Active Military, Veteran's and First Responders all have such a high stress level . Also the effects of PTSD have such a detrimental effect. Mental health still has such a stigma. It is heart breaking. These are the people that give every thing for communities as well for our Country.
    Having worked in both acute mental health and the law enforcement, I've seen a lot of people that have struggled w mental health issues. People still have the thought that it is weak to ask for help. It is very hard. However it Must Be addressed. THANK YOU Mike for bringing these issues to the forefront.

  15. EMS personnel have the highest suicide rate of all professions. Vets, cops, and fire fighters aren't far behind. When you see bad shit, it wears on you. Depts need to do better on critical incident debrief, and counseling for PTSD.

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