November 26, 2018
Article By: Kelly Hall, Development Coordinator of ICISF
Giving Thanks to the Mid-State Law Enforcement and Corrections Peer Support Network
This time of year is when we like to highlight some of our local CISM Teams/Networks and all of the individuals and teams in these networks that help other peers in their respective departments and the communities on a daily basis. I was excited about an opportunity to speak with Marc Junkerman (Harford County Sheriff’s Office) this year about the Mid-State Law Enforcement and Corrections Peer Support Network.
The Mid-State Law Enforcement and Corrections Peer Support Network is comprised of about 20 different CISM Teams locally, which are primarily law enforcement based, but they will support any first responders or emergency service personnel that requests for help. The Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) is a support partner of the network and Harbor of Grace treatment center is a member participant. The network is supported by a host of clinical professionals affiliated with participant teams.
This network has been around since 2015, but came into fruition within the last year. The network was created so that small or large CISM/Peer Support teams could have support operations should they need it. This network began during the 2015 World Congress after the Baltimore City riots occurred. Baltimore City needed support and operations, so a bunch of different local, state and even international CISM Team members attending the World Congress provided support. Two weeks after, individuals performed 72 roll call sessions; 4-5 command sessions; and 12 specialty sessions, including SWAT Teams, civilians, etc.
Each quarter, the network holds information meetings. These are usually well represented by participating teams within the region. They also have a listserv in which they share information in times of need. This network will often request assistance from different CISM teams through the network listserv, but only when it is requested. Junkerman says, “This network is a tool for different CISM/Peer Support teams to utilize. They don’t self deploy, but will only respond when either an individual or a team requests assistance.”
This network receives three different types of requests on the listserv: information sharing and upcoming trainings; act as a resource platform or conduit to help individual CISM/Peer Support teams find specific support for an individual member; they are also a resource after critical incidents occur, such as line of duty deaths, critical injuries, floods – anything that happens within the mid-Maryland region.
There have been many tough calls that this network has gone through this year including several Line of Duty Deaths (LODD) and active assailants, to name a few, but the network continues to do proactive inoculation of critical incident stress on the front end before a critical incident occurs. After all, that is why they have this consortium or network. They are able to reach out to others in the network to offer assistance for someone on their team or an outside individual with their community.
Why is CISM Important Today?
I asked Junkerman why he thinks CISM is important today and he said, “CISM is important in order to let people know that it’s okay to NOT be okay. First responders respond to abnormal events each and every day. Individuals are not broken, they just need the right tools to gather themselves and return to normal function. The ultimate goal is not just to survive our jobs, but also to thrive every day. Educating individuals on the front end on how to help themselves and when it is okay to ask for help is why this network is here.”
This network of CISM teams, clinicians, and other individuals have a desire to help and support not only one another, but also like-minded providers. They don’t have any official motto or dues to be a part of this network, they are just participating to help others. Per Junkerman, “There are no obligations or expiration when it comes to the network participation. We are simply a like-minded group of public safety professionals trying to spread the wellness and resiliency message to our sisters and brothers.”
In fact, you don’t have to be part of a CISM/Peer Support team in order to reach out for support. Anyone in this network is more than happy to help. If you are interested in being added to this listserv within the network, please contact Marc Junkerman at [email protected].
To learn more about how ICISF is “Helping Save The Heroes”, visit icisf.org/ways-to-give.
To donate and support ICISF and first responders in your area, click here.