Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Morbid? I Think Not!

I have invited agencies to host my “Planning for the Unthinkable: the Police Funeral” seminars, only to have them decline the offer and tell me that they thought the topic was too morbid.

Yet, as I review the course evaluations, attendees respond to the seminars with comments like:

  • “… one of the best trainings I have had in my law enforcement career.”
  • “The in-depth insight and knowledge of the instructor and the knowledge of
    strategically planning for the unexpected.”
  • “Instructor was knowledgeable and compassionate about subject matter which
    made training a good experience.”

It's a difficult subject to talk about, but it's one that needs to be discussed. Yes, I talk about a variety of death notification issues and grief and bereavement issues that impact not only the surviving family but agency personnel and their families.

Why? Because it is important and it is an integral part of any funeral management plan. I don’t dwell on how officers died but how to be prepared to respond when a death occurs. I talk about how to provide support to the surviving family members and agency personnel and their families when an officer dies from any cause, be it illness, accident, suicide, or in the line of duty.These are real life scenarios and can’t be ignored. Agencies cannot just hope they will never happen!

Agencies provide in-service training on officer safety and survival where the tactics used in an actual line of duty deaths are closely scrutinized, evaluated and even criticized. We learn from our mistakes and our successes. It is important, from an officer safety perspective, to learn from our past and be prepared for the future. The same philosophy is true for planning for our funerals!

When planning a police funeral, things are seldom done wrong, but, even though done adequately, they are not necessarily done best. We need to talk about how to plan for and manage police funerals so that we can be prepared to do it best. Because we only get one chance at it!

Is it a morbid topic? No. A basic definition of “morbid” includes “unhealthy” and
“extreme.” Talking about how to plan a police funeral is neither unhealthy nor
extreme. What is unhealthy is ignoring or avoiding the topic!

In my funeral planning seminars I use words like respectful, dignified, somber,
supportive, people-oriented, caring, traditional, honor, courage, valor, and sacrifice.
There is nothing morbid or unhealthy about these terms.

So, if you don’t want to host a seminar, that’s your decision, but please don’t tell me
it’s because the topic is too morbid.

Maybe you should think about finding out what 
is required to host a seminar and learn
about the 35 plus topics discussed. It’s not really 
“Planning for the Unthinkable,” but
planning for the unexpected!

If not now, when?

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