Our team of veteran and prospective Council trainers spent a dynamic and energized day with Detective Lieutenant Richard Goerling, of the Hillsboro Police Department in Oregon. In addition to his experience in the Coast Guard, Richard has worked in civilian law enforcement for over twenty years and has extensive experience in patrol operations and criminal investigations. He has developed a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) training for first responders focusing on resiliency and performance/leadership in a policing environment.
Over the last decade, Richard has spearheaded the introduction of MBSR-based training into policing in the United States and is a leader in the greater cultural transformation toward a compassionate, skillful and resilient warrior ethos.
Richard anchored a critical conversation around the experience of law enforcement officers and the enormous stress and challenges they face. This professional development session was part of Center for Council’s emerging programming geared for law enforcement. This new work brings together mindfulness with Council practice and emphasizes practical skills for recognizing and managing stress, reading behavioral cues and strengthening interpersonal relations to create a more positive, healthy officer culture and to improve performance. Our Social Justice Council Project trainers have had a great deal of experience with community-based organizations that grapple with complicated relationships with local law enforcement. The session focused both on Richard’s work on internal police culture and on how mindfulness and Council can create more wholesome and healthy community dialogue and relationships.
Center for Council’s emerging work with both local law enforcement and with correctional officers (in California prisons where our Inmate Council Program has been initiated) will go a long way toward bringing self-regulation and resiliency skills to officers, as well as Council-based convening practices. We are also developing programming that builds officer/activist co-facilitation teams intended to deepen community dialogue about healing historic wounds and improving police-community relations.
Read more about our Wellness & Resiliency Skills Training for Officers – and, for more on Richard’s programs for stress reduction for law enforcement, check out this from CNN's Fareed Zakaria’s “Last Look.”