One of the hardest parts of the police lifestyle that families must adjust to is shift work. When one police family found that their brave officer was having a hard time adjusting to his new hours and coming home to a dark and quiet home, they took a proactive approach~downstairs lights were left on, special notes were written to inform the officer of his family’s day, the trash and the dishes were left in place waiting for the officer to handle them appropriately. What may seem to be a little odd to some families gave this law enforcement family the needed warm environment that they desired and allowed them to handle the shift work hours in a way that benefitted them. Stories such as the one summarized above exemplify the anecdotes laced through Dr. Ellen Kirschman’s book, I Love a Cop: What Police Families Need to Know.
This book addresses many areas of stress that officers face during their careers and the struggles that are brought home to their supportive families. Broken up into four distinct parts, I love a Cop: What Police Families Need to Know provides easy to navigate chapters with straight-forward chapters. The first part of the book follows the chronology of the police officer’s training and career and the accompanying three parts deal with special cases and suggestions for handling post-traumatic stress. Using her years of experience working as a clinical psychologist and consultant for LEOs (Law Enforcement Officers) and their families, Dr. Kirschman illuminates multiple areas of concern that a career brings to family life and how others have handled such issues. For the convenience of her readers, Dr. Kirschman provides bulleted tip boxes with her suggestions. This well-organized book uses narratives about real families to illustrate the reality of the job but to also display solutions and how to implement them in a true-life situation. With her in-depth and interesting discussions of things such as organizational stress, domestic and alcohol abuse, and where to find help in times of need, Dr. Kirschman debunks myths about the field that have been spread for years. Her unique conversational writing style invites readers to trust her educated advice and makes her book a great resource for LEO families and those who are looking into this career.
I recommend this book to all police families to be read and referenced throughout their law enforcement journey. The clear and concise chapters in I Love a Cop: What Police Families Need to Know are intriguing and the insight that the discussions have to offer spouses is phenomenal. Use this book as a gift for a friend, use it as a guide for yourself, and most of all, use it as a handbook for the tough yet rewarding career in law enforcement.
Don’t be afraid to take her advice: go on a ride-along, make friends outside of the field, and attend a family orientation class at your academy or agency. Dr. Kirschman is a member of the Psychology Section of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and has been a keynote speaker on these topics. She is no rookie when it comes to police psychology and family issues.
Don’t skip over the stories. You will not want to miss what the situations and solutions have to offer your family. Read the stories and see what the situations are like before you experience them. The small bit of familiarity might help create a sense of calm during life’s storms.