“Articles & Links”

  • Police Suicide Foundation — Be prepared as this site can upset your day. As a group, we will be addressing the issue of police suicide on an ongoing basis. We plan to provide as much training as possible so we can all learn to recognize the symptoms and practice prevention.
  • West Coast Post Trauma Retreat – The WCPR program is for first responders whose lives have been impacted by their work experience. WCPR is one of only two residential treatment facilities of its kind in the world. The other program is the On-Site Academy in Massachusetts, with which WCPR is affiliated. The WCPR residential program provides an educational experience designed to help current and retired first responders, recognize the signs and symptoms of work-related stress including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in themselves and in others.


Book Reviews:

Review by Dina, a Kenner PD Wife, of the book, “Lives Behind the Badge”  by Kristi Neace

I recently ordered Kristi Neace’s book, Lives Behind The Badge, and from the moment I opened its pages I related to every word.  The book is a collection of experiences of police wives, sprinkled both with poetry and quotes from famous folks like Martin Luther King, Alexander Graham Bell and George Washington. There are also Bibilical passages and devotionals which remind us that God is in control.   The wives not only come from different parts of the country, but from various places along their journey as LEO wives.  Some recall moments as a young wife coping with toddlers and juggling family responsibilities while worrying about their husband out in the night, others the unique ability we have has wives, to support and pray for our husbands as they protect and serve our communities.  There are even poignant stories from widows who recall what it was like to lose their husband and then have to carry on without them.  Each vignette gives the reader a unique look into what it is to be a police wife and to see very clearly that she is not alone.

Review by Renee, an LAPD Wife, of the book by Ellen Kirschman; “I Love a Cop: What Police Families Need to Know”, Guilford Press, New York, 1997, 292 pages.


I finally broke down and ordered “I Love a Cop – What Police Families Need to Know,” after hearing rave reviews from many of my law enforcement spouse friends. Word has it this is one of the “must have” books for law enforcement families, so I had to check it out.

The book’s author, Ellen Kirschman, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who has been working with police officers and their families for over 20 years. The back cover of the book draws you in with ominous hints of the hardships of a law enforcement marriage: “Are police marriages destined to fail?” “What are the chances of your loved one being killed in the line of duty?”

First published in 1997, this self-help book is still one of only a small number of non-fiction guides for this little niche of society – a matter I find amazing. The media’s infatuation with law enforcement has brought us miniseries, cable dramas, movies, video games, novels and reality shows all centered around officers. Do a search for law enforcement books and you’ll find tons of fiction, a good number of autobiographies and, sadly, only a few self-help books for spouses or families. This one seems to be the most popular.

The preface left me feeling pretty good, as Kirschman addressed one of the biggest stereotypes right off – the high rate of divorce in law enforcement officer (l.e.o.) relationships. She stated her intent to discredit the myth that most l.e.o. marriages are destined for divorce. This was refreshing to hear. One of the reasons I started writing for “LAPD Wife” was to show people not only an honest look at life with an officer, but also the positive side of it, an aspect rarely covered by the media.

Addressing the high rate of infidelity often attributed to the job, she had this to say: “Police work can be used to excuse infidelity, but I think it is closer to the truth to say that infidelity, however often it occurs, is not so much a consequence of the job as it is a reflection of the people involved.”

I’m liking her already. I was afraid that this book might be a lot of high-brow psycho-babble, but what I’ve read so far makes sense to me, is comforting and comes with a big dose of common sense logic – which also appeals to me.

I don’t think this book is necessarily for every spouse in the law enforcement community. While it could be a tremendous help for those struggling in their relationships, it could also be pretty scary for a young fiancee or wife, frightening them with potential problems they may not have been thinking of and that probably won’t happen to them.

I would recommend “I Love a Cop,” though, as a good reference book to consult if guidance is ever needed for yourself or friends in the law enforcement community. I don’t consider this the bible of police family life, but instead one very strong part of an l.e.o. spouse’s library that should also contain upbeat novels, autobiographies, historical accounts and a few trashy cop romances thrown in for good measure.

As a “veteran” officer’s wife, I would consider giving this as a gift to a young wife, but would be sure to discuss it thoroughly with her beforehand and tell her about all the positive aspects of life with a police officer. I would let her know that she can talk to me or direct her to other spouse-support groups if she has any concerns or qualms after reading the book.

This is not something you’ll sit on the beach and read for entertainment, but does contain useful guidance to let other spouses know that they are not alone with the unique issues we see in our relationships. These issues or problems are not things we must accept and live with just because we are married to a law enforcement officer. They can be faced and dealt with and the marriage can emerge that much stronger.

The first main section of the book I found interesting and easily identified with. Kirschman first identifies a common issue in law enforcement marriages, such as dealing with shift work or the emotional shut-off many officers embrace to survive the job. She then uses examples of cases from her practice to give the reader a clear picture into how this issue can affect all sides of a relationship.

And last, but not least, she wraps it up outlining how she was able to guide that couple, as well as offering general advice to anyone else experiencing similar problems in their relationships.

Kirschman does honestly say in the preface that not all of this book will apply to every reader. She suggests that the book can be used sort of like a medical manual – turn to the chapter that you need when the situation arises. I found this to be very good advice, as I skimmed over the chapters on alcoholism, abuse and other issues I’ve not had to deal with in my relationship. I did find myself focusing in on the chapter addressing trauma and its effects, as my husband suffered serious injuries in the line of duty early in our marriage.

I found solace that many issues we experienced at that time were common. It’s nice to know that we were not alone in dealing with the after-effects of his traumatic incident.

The whole of the book I found a bit depressing as I continued to read so much about dealing with the negative aspects of police marriages. And yet I can’t really blame Kirschman for that. Her job is to help those in need and she seems to do well at it. Her advice and anecdotes deal with subjects ranging from alcoholism to abuse, from shift work to rookie syndrome and special police families, such as female officers, gay and lesbians and minorities.

Kirschman wraps up her book with success stories. Whew! I was getting a bit depressed after slogging through all those problems. It was a nice way to finish it all out. She also provides an extensive guide of resources available for police and their families.