Co-Hosted by 1st Responder Conferences

Since January 1, 2016, we have verified 231 law enforcement officer suicides; at least 12 from Texas. Because of the stigma associated with suicide and the silence of the departments and families, we don’t know how many have gone unreported.

We want to bring this issue to the forefront through education, awareness and acknowledgement. We’ll provide you with tools to take back to your departments and begin to reduce these numbers. In addition to presenting solutions, we offer a powerful panel discussion with families, friends and co-workers who have lost their law enforcement officer to suicide.

Join us and we will provide you with an experience you will never forget.


Police Work, Post-Traumatic Stress and Suicide – Janice McCarthy, Suicide Widow

This training addresses the unique challenges faced by First Responders in maintaining their emotional health in a caustic and deadly work environment. Janice McCarthy relates her family’s experience of witnessing her husband Paul’s struggle with job-induced PTSD. She explains how barriers such as mental health stigma, politics and police culture made it impossible for Paul to get the help that he needed. Janice also discusses the importance of utilizing good coping skills and warns of the danger of harmful or nonexistent coping skills. She uses examples of her family’s trauma to engage the audience, imploring them to utilize self-introspection to maintain wellness by acknowledging their own trauma and avoiding the deadly trap of denial. Janice stresses peer support, eradication of stigma and top down ownership of emotional well-being from administrators. She provides a no nonsense look at the tragic effect this career can have on an officer and his family and the tools officers need to avoid that tragedy.

Officer Wellness and Safety: An Intentional Priority – Chief Mike Goldstein, Plymouth, MN

The presentation will identify a call to action for public safety leaders to adopt comprehensive wellness programming; whereby, prudent provisions are made to best protect and enhance the physical, mental and spiritual health of their personnel.  As such, a greater degree of resiliency will result allowing personnel to better cope with the acute and chronic stress that this work life generates.  Sitting idle on this matter is not an option.  Instituting appropriate wellness programming is imperative for the long-term health of the public safety workforce.  Healthy public safety personnel will deliver better services to the community, will be more productive and will over the course of time, cost organizations less.

Body Armor: The Wellness Initiative– Corporal John Pfaehler, Rockville, MD

Wellness within the law enforcement community has long been an overlooked, yet critical element to officer survival.  But wellness needs to go beyond simply physical fitness.  We need to develop programs that address all aspects of well being.  In this session, you will hear about a comprehensive initiative that covers a broad range of aspects, including physical, mental, financial, and legal.  You will learn how, on a tight budget and a little extra effort, this program developed and how partnerships were the keys to its success.  Afterwards, you will be ready to start or enhance your agency’s much needed wellness program.

Ripples in the Pond….Surviving Traumatic Stress – Steve Hough and Jeffrey McGill, Former Okaloosa County, FL Violent Fugitive Task Force

Working with the US Marshal Fugitive Task Force, Steve and Jeff were partners and friends for ten years when the words “officer down” were spoken on the radio.  One of them was shot multiple times, but both of them carry scars from that day, and they are not the only ones.  You will have the opportunity to hear from the officers who had a front row seat to a psychological experiment that continues even today and figure out how they went from shots fired to a new normal.  This training will address the far reaches of a critical incident and what officers, supervisors, trainers, and families need to know about traumatic stress.

Creating Your Own Referral/Crisis Program – Steve Redmond, Founder of Code 4 Northwest, WA

Passionate about helping others in the first responder world who are in need and experiencing a crisis in their lives, Steve created Code 4 Northwest. He discusses ways of surviving the job, surviving personal crisis, and surviving family crisis; these crisis include addiction, PTSD, marital issues and financial issues. He will show you how to develop a program at your agency which will not only help an individual before they falter, but also to sit the employee down and ensure they have all the resources they and their family need to make it through stressful times in their lives.

Surviving Critical Incidents and Marriage – Cathy and Javier Bustos, Law Enforcement Peer Counselors, TXCathy and Javier have been involved in multiple critical incidents during their careers as officers and spouses. These incidents have tested them as individuals and as a married couple. Through trial and error they have developed a simple system for law enforcement couples to help them survive critical incidents and marriage.

Master Resiliency Training – Joe Willis, Retired Military Police First Sergeant, VA

As a retired Military Police First Sergeant, Joe Willis will share some of his personal experience dealing with suicide, gestures, attempts, and ideations with the men and women he served with over a 20-year military career. He’ll talk about some of the programs the military used throughout his career, focusing primarily on the one that worked the best – and it wasn’t a suicide prevention program. He’ll close out his presentation with brief introduction to some of our partner organizations who are postured and ready to help organizations throughout the country before, during, and after a suicide event.

Discussion Panel

Melissa Swailes

Kelly Shepard Preston

Janice McCarthy

Chris Fisher
Friend/Former LEO

Michael McSellers


This event is open to anyone who is a first responder, works with first responders, and/or is a family/friend of a first responder. We encourage spouses to attend. (Space is limited)

You must register to attend. Registration is $50 and open until April 15. Registration includes breakfast and lunch both days and a hospitality hour on Thursday, April 26th.

Dallas, Regional Conference hosted by Blue HELP and 1st Responder Conferences

April 26-27, 2018
Double Tree by Hilton Hotel – DFW Airport North
4441 West John Carpenter Freeway, Irving, TX
Registration Fee $50