Gilmartin begins by describing the typical rookie officer. Most are energetic, idealistic, enthusiastic and very driven. Quickly this enthusiasm can change from one of positivity to one that is very cynical and emotionally charged. These behaviors and thoughts over time if not corrected become exacerbated leading to noticeable mental and physical changes. The author, Gilmartin, uses personal experiences and other real life stories effectively so that many officers can relate and identify with the topic of the book.
Gilmartin also discusses and describes the psychological impact the officers suffer from being exposed to frequent tramatic events. Being enthralled in violent events and the victims of crimes would have an impact on anyone. The officers themselves can start to see themselves as victim. The most important psychological experience that Gilmartin describes is Hypervigilance. This can be experienced by officers on or off duty. Hypervigilance by definition means “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 surroundings required for maximum ofﬁcer safety.” (Gilmartin Pg. 36) Gilmartin elaborates on his term of “Hypervigilance” and how it becomes problematic. When he introduces the concept theory of the “Hypervigilant Biological Rollercoaster.” Stating that the on-duty ofﬁcer is “alert, alive, energetic, quick–thinking, involved and humorous,” And the off-duty ofﬁcer is “tired, isolated, detached, apathetic and angry.” (Gilmartin Pgs. 48-50)
Gilmartin emphasizes that if law enforcement officers are going to survive emotionally through their day to day lives as officers as well as off duty citizens they must find a balance of their professional and personal lives. They must take control of their personal lives, and learn possibly through therapy how to cope, survive and move on from the events that happen in their professional life in which they have no control over. Gilmartin describes how officers can become equipped professionals of emotional survival on and off-duty. On-Duty; knowing as an officer there are only three things you can control; integrity, professionalism, and how well you do the job you are assigned to do. Off duty; proactive goal setting (outside of police work), exercise, and developing and nurturing other roles in life besides the hypervigilant police role; enabling ofﬁcers to manage their lifestyle healthy. I believe this encapsulates Gilmartin’s books main points and demonstrates his goal; to help keep law enforcement officers healthy, by providing skill sets physically and emotionally, to survive the career. By not losing all of ones identity to just being a cop, while remaining committed, engaged and productive on and off-duty.
Now I would like to analyze Gilmartin’s...