Supporting Our Unsung Heroes: Top Law Enforcement Charities You Should Know About

When we think of PTSD, trauma, and the need for support, our minds often gravitate toward military veterans. While the sacrifices of our soldiers are undeniable, there's another group that often gets overlooked in this conversation: our police officers. These brave men and women face life-threatening situations daily, ensuring our communities remain safe. Yet, when it comes to charitable support, they often stand in the shadows of their military counterparts.

There are numerous charities dedicated to supporting our law enforcement officers, each catering to different needs. Some provide scholarships, while others offer financial assistance to the families of fallen officers. There are also charities focused on mental health support, legal defense, and more.

Today, let's shine a light on five outstanding law enforcement charities that deserve our attention and support:

The stark reality is that every year, numerous law enforcement officers lose their lives in the line of duty, while many more struggle with mental health issues, including PTSD and depression. Alarmingly, suicide rates among officers are on the rise, underscoring the urgent need for support.

As someone who has served in law enforcement and currently holds a position in the military reserves, I've witnessed firsthand the challenges our officers face. It's always a great time to rally behind them, offering our support and gratitude.

If you're considering donating or supporting a cause, remember our unsung heroes in blue. Every contribution, no matter how small, can make a significant difference in the life of an officer and their family.

Eric Basek is a former law enforcement officer and currently serves as an officer in the military reserves. With a deep understanding of the challenges faced by police officers, he's dedicated to supporting and advocating for their well-being.

Cooking Up Resilience: The Inspiring Journey of Bobby Somers

In the world of law enforcement and military service, we often encounter stories of valor, sacrifice, and resilience. However, every once in a while, a tale emerges that resonates deeply, not just because of its heroism but due to its profound humanity. One such story is that of Bobby Somers, beautifully captured in the book "Lessons in Cadence."

Born on an Army base in Germany and raised in the shadows of Fort Bliss in El Paso, TX, Bobby's early life was anything but ordinary. The challenges began early on, with family complexities and the harsh realities of street life. But amidst the chaos, young Bobby found solace in an imaginative world of his own creation, aptly named "Bobby’s World." This world, though fictional, provided a haven from the discrimination, neglect, and turmoil he faced daily.

For many of our brothers and sisters in uniform, whether in the police force or the military, the struggles of childhood and adolescence can leave lasting scars. But as I've often emphasized, it's not the challenges we face but how we respond to them that defines us. And Bobby's response? It was one of resilience, determination, and an unyielding spirit.

Transitioning from the tumultuous world of street gangs to the disciplined ranks of the Army, Bobby's journey is a testament to the transformative power of purpose and belonging. The Army, with its structured environment and camaraderie, offered a fresh perspective and a chance at redemption. But the story doesn't end there.

In a twist that few could have predicted, Bobby discovered a passion that would further redefine his life: the culinary arts. The chaos of the kitchen, with its frenzied pace and creative demands, became a therapeutic outlet. Cooking not only honed his skills but also reignited a sense of pride and self-worth that had been dimmed by years of adversity. I’ve witnessed a similar story in that of another inspiring friend of mine, Chef Rush, the White House Chef with 24 inch biceps that does 2,222 push ups a day. 

For our fellow officers and veterans reading this, Bobby's story (and Chef Rush’s) serves as a beacon of hope. It reminds us that no matter the challenges we face, be it on the streets of our cities or the battlefields overseas, there's always a path forward. And often, that path is illuminated by our passions, our dreams, and the communities we build along the way.

Bobby's involvement with charities like ours, the FitOps Foundation (@fitops), and Merging Vets and Players (MVP) (@mergingvetsandplayers) further underscores this message. Through this work, he has connected with a community of individuals who shared his experiences, his struggles, and his aspirations. Together, they embarked on a journey of mutual growth, support, and empowerment. I have seen the power of this community work miracles, time and time again.  I cannot recommend searching these organizations out highly enough!

The Power of Story

As I reflect on Bobby's story, briefly chronicled in "Lessons in Cadence," I'm reminded of a principle I hold dear: the power of storytelling. Stories have the ability to inspire, to heal, and to transform. They bridge gaps, foster understanding, and ignite change. And in our line of work, where challenges are a daily reality, stories like Bobby's offer a glimmer of hope and a roadmap to a brighter future.

To our police officers, military veterans, and all who have faced adversity, I urge you to draw inspiration from Bobby Somers. Embrace your past, however tumultuous, and let it fuel your future. Seek out your passions, build your community, and remember that every challenge is an opportunity in disguise.

In the words of Bobby, it's about finding the "zest" in life, even when the journey begins in a scramble. And as we've seen through his remarkable journey, with resilience, passion, and a dash of creativity, anything is possible.

Stay strong, stay inspired, and always remember the lessons in cadence.

For More…

In the challenging world of law enforcement and military service, remember that you're never alone. If you're a police officer or veteran in need, please don't hesitate to reach out. There's a wealth of resources, both online and locally, designed to support you. For those seeking guidance and inspiration, we're offering a free copy of "Lessons in Cadence." Simply drop us an email, and it's yours. For our civilian readers, consider purchasing a copy. Every book you buy ensures two free copies for our brave veterans and officers. And if you're looking to make an even bigger impact, visit and grab a shirt. Every purchase directly supports the Stay Safe Foundation's mission and events. To stay updated on our journey and future blogs, sign up for our newsletter or text message list. Together, we can make a difference, one story at a time.

Extreme Ownership: The Secret to Navigating Toxicity in Law Enforcement

Law enforcement isn't for the faint-hearted, and navigating the dynamics of large and small departments alike can often feel like walking a minefield. Favoritism and nepotism may run rampant, causing the most qualified individuals to be overlooked. A lack of support from bosses when you're dealing with high-stress incidents, a hushed silence around post-traumatic stress, and backstabbing colleagues add to an already heavy burden. In my past career, it was a lack of leadership and support from my superiors, the people I was supposed to count on for mentoring and support, that ate away at me the most. I felt alone and abandoned, ultimately blaming “the job” for not “helping me”.  

Too add to the difficulties, the daily traumas of handling violent arrests, fatal accidents, robberies or sexual assault cases can take their toll, leading to PTSD symptoms that many are reluctant to admit due to stigma or lack of support. It is a heavy burden and should make it obvious why, according to a study published in 2019, that police officers are at a higher risk of suicide than any other profession.  In fact, suicide is so prevalent in the profession, that the number of officers who die from suicide is more than triple that of officers who are fatally injured in the line of duty.  This job can get under your skin, into your head, and eat away at your mental health.  

But let’s flip the script.

In his book, “Extreme Ownership”, Jocko Willink talks about how you can't control everything around you, but you can control yourself.  There's no room for excuses, no room for passing the buck. You are responsible for your actions, your decisions, and their outcomes. You and you alone. It was not up to “the job” to help me.  Instead, I was responsible for helping myself.  

If we find ourselves in a toxic work environment, we can look for allies, those fellow officers who offer positivity and support. Thanks to the internet and social media, there is no shortage of positive mentors in law enforcement out there to connect with.  

We can choose to work hard on ourselves, demonstrating patience knowing that even the worst bosses aren't permanent fixtures and educating ourselves while we wait patiently, acquiring skills that will place us in a better position for promotion. And when all else fails, and the department shows no signs of improving, we can make the hard decision to seek out an agency that aligns better with our goals and lifestyle. 

When I was in my 20s and early 30s, patience wasn’t my strongest virtue. Neither was humility.  But patience and humility are worth learning, developing, and practicing.  We’re all human. We all stumble, fall, and mess up, especially when we are younger.  That’s just life.  But the past?  As Jim Rohn says, let the past be a teacher, not a hammer.  Don’t beat yourself up over the mistakes of the past.  Instead, learn from them, rise up, and be better prepared the next time you get into a similarly challenging situation. 

Look, law enforcement is tough. I won't sugarcoat it. Most of us are probably walking around with the invisible scars of PTSD that've been ignored or brushed under the rug. A toxic work environment only makes it worse. But it's on us to demonstrate extreme ownership—to control what we can, to seek help, stay humble, and keep growing. The actions of others shouldn't dictate ours.

Strive to do the right thing, even under the most challenging circumstances. You'll likely falter at some point—we all do (I certainly have!). But if we're lucky, we falter before it's too late to learn from it. And that's the thing about mistakes—they're often our most powerful teachers.

Bearing the Badge, Carrying the Burden: A Journey Through PTSD

I've been mulling over something quite profound lately. It's a topic that, as police officers, we seldom broach, but I believe it's high time we did. I'm referring to PTSD, and I think it's about time we punctured the shroud of silence enveloping it.

Did you know that the suicide rate amongst our law enforcement peers in the US hovers around 16 per 100,000, which is roughly 14% higher than the average rate for non-law enforcement individuals? Or that the divorce rate within our ranks soars as high as 60-75%, significantly above the national average of 40-50%, as stated by the American Psychological Association?

These statistics may just seem like numbers, but they sketch a rather distressing portrait of the reality for our fellow first responders. And behind these figures are real people, individuals like you and me.

We tend to avoid this conversation because, as cops, we're expected to exude toughness. We fear showing any vulnerability, particularly amongst our colleagues. No one wants to be the officer who is stripped of their badge and relegated to desk duty.

So, what's the result? We internalize everything.

The toll we pay for this silence is steep. We begin to suffer from nightmares, lose sleep, and become prone to irritability. Unable to cope, we often resort to unhealthy mechanisms such as excessive drinking or extramarital affairs.

But the impact isn't confined to us. It seeps into our personal lives, affecting our loved ones who have to grapple with our mood swings and emotional withdrawal. This hurts them just as deeply as it does us.

Our work environment? It can feel akin to a battlefield, rife with cynicism, anger, and discontent. Without even realizing it, we perpetuate this toxic culture when we ascend the ranks without addressing our own problems, often taking out our frustrations on those under our command.

I've been there. I still have nightmares from the calls I responded to as a teenage EMT. The smell of the rubble at ground zero has lingered with me for over two decades. Just a few weeks ago, driving past a burning house emitting a similar scent, I was instantly overwhelmed emotionally, doing my utmost to mask it in front of my wife and son. And I grapple daily with feelings of cynicism and detachment.

The guilt weighs heavily on me, especially when I think of the stress I brought home from a toxic workplace that I believe contributed to my wife's miscarriages. Even as I write this, I feel a wave of anger towards a leadership I felt abandoned by years ago.

But here's the crux of the matter. Acknowledging that you're struggling is not a sign of weakness. It's the first stride towards recovery. It's about embracing our humanity, not just our identity as cops.

Seeking help doesn't signal defeat; on the contrary, it's a courageous act. Whether it's exercising, cultivating a hobby, or acquiring a well-trained service dog, finding a healthy outlet is crucial.

Don't allow the entrenched "law enforcement culture" to inhibit you. Don't let misplaced bravado hinder you from seeking help, even if it means looking beyond the confines of our profession.

And remember, this isn't exclusive to us. It applies to firefighters, EMTs, doctors, nurses, and all first responders who perform similar work.

Don't forget, it's perfectly fine to say, "I have PTSD." In fact, it's more than just okay—it's vital. And taking action? That's not just courageous; it's life-saving.