Seven Books For Police Families
Way back in the dark ages of the late 80s, before everyone had a computer and a cell phone, there was no information or help for those of us who were new law enforcement wives. Some of us muddled through, some gave it up, but in LA, very few of us ever spoke to each other. Marriage topics were taboo, unless someone was bold enough to rant to the world about their home life. And really, that wasn’t helpful.
I’m pleased to say that this is no longer the case. We’re now stepping into the 21st century, realizing that the status quo just isn’t good enough. Law enforcement marriages have been breaking apart – according to studies, almost 3 out of 4 police marriages will end in divorce. And it affects everyone – spouses, children, extended families, cops, departments and our culture. Broken marriages extend pain beyond just the two involved. But I think those who step up to the thin blue line deserve better than this. So do those who are brave enough to love them.
In the last several years, concerned people have decided that they cared enough to help. They wrote books, put together seminars, and started groups, Facebook pages, ministries and blogs. I thought I would mention seven books I’ve read that I think would be helpful for some, comforting to others, and life-changing for still more. As I read more books in the future, I will let you know what I find.
The first is the pioneer – I Love a Cop by Dr. Ellen Kirschman. She is a clinical psychologist from California who works with peace officers and their families. She put together a wealth of information on what she has learned every police family should be aware of. I consider it a resource that every family member of a police officer should have on their shelf. It is an eye-opener.
Next comes Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement by Dr. Kevin M. Gilmartin. This book is a must-read. The author is a former police officer and now consults with law enforcement agencies as a behavior scientist across the country and in Canada. He explains the psychology and physiology of being a police officer. My husband attended a class with him, and told me that it was the first time in his life he felt understood.
The third is Bullets in the Washing Machine by Melissa Littles. Melissa is married to an officer in Oklahoma and started an internet group called “The Police Wife Life.” Her Treadmill Thoughts of the Day range from hysterical to in-your-face truths as she talks about many aspects of the life of an LEOW. Her book is a collection of several true stories that are both heartwarming and thought-provoking. Thousands of LEOWs across the country draw strength and laughter from Melissa.
Dependence Day, written by Heidi Paulson, documents a spiritual and emotional journey of healing after her husband crashes his motorcycle while on duty in Montana. She exhibits great strength in the face of many grueling months post-accident. It is inspiring to read for every day, but if your cop gets injured on the job, this resource would be a great comfort and guide.
The next book is written to officers, but I personally got a lot of understanding and new perspective from it. It’s called Arresting Communication and is by a retired police officer out of Illinois named Jim Glennon. Be warned that this book is laced with profanity, but also contains some great principles about communication for cops, on the job and at home.
Chaplain Allison Uribe, a chaplain and LEOW from Texas, wrote a faith-based book for law enforcement wives based on her own experience. It’s called Because I’m Suitable – The Journey of a Wife on Duty. Complete with tons of Scripture, thoughtful questions, and warm encouragement, this book can be used for Bible study groups. I have been personally going through the book on my own and it has been really great to stretch me in my relationship with my husband. Allison also runs a ministry to LEOWs called Wives on Duty.
The last is A CHiP on my Shoulder – How to Love Your Cop with Attitude, by yours truly. I wrote CHiP based on my own experience, interviews with over 35 police families, research, and feedback from those who are smarter than I. What results is a real but positive how-to book that gives new perspectives and understanding for the spouse of a police officer. I talk about communication, kids, money, support systems, sex, and difficulties that are specific to a crisis-driven career.
These are resources that I feel are helpful to the families of law enforcement. If you know of another book or seminar that would be helpful, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment here. I’ll check it out. In the meantime, I will continue to develop more resources in the days to come – books, seminars, speaking engagements and other resources to help police families not only survive, but thrive.
Victoria Newman - "A CHiP on My Shoulder" September 4th, 2012
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