Police teach ‘Blue Courage’

Published 9:12 pm Friday, February 17, 2017

The Suffolk Police Department hopes to put all of its officers through a program called Blue Courage by the end of the year.

Blue Courage was developed by a former Illinois police commander. It began to be used nationwide, with support from the U.S. Justice Department, as part of President Barack Obama’s push for “21st Century Policing.”

The program has just begun to be used in Suffolk recently. The Suffolk Sheriff’s Office also has been participating in the program.

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“I think the curriculum is transformational,” said Suffolk Police Sgt. Chad Hooker, one of two instructors of the current section of the course along with Officer Grayson Craun.

The course encourages law enforcement officers to look after their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being in order to be better people and police officers.

“I think it’s important to make the department aware of the stresses of the job and things we can do to manage the stresses of the job,” Craun said. “We can all look after each other.”

On a recent day in Blue Courage training, a group of supervisors from Suffolk Police Department and Suffolk Sheriff’s Office gathered in a classroom at Suffolk Police headquarters. They discussed topics ranging from discipline for an officer in a hypothetical scenario to how important it is to be properly physically prepared for the job. An officer who is in better shape is less likely to use deadly force, for instance, according to the curriculum.

“It’s teaching you to be purpose-driven,” Craun said. “If we had our own selfish ideas of what policing is for us, we have to meet the expectations of the community.”

Hooker said the ultimate goal is to put all of Suffolk’s law enforcement officers through the program by the end of the year, “from chief all the way down.”

“How can we serve and protect those who protect and serve?” Hooker asked, getting at the meaning of the program. “Blue Courage is what Mother Nature intended cops to be.”

Craun said the program is all about teaching officers how to maintain a positive frame of mind. He has learned more from the officers in the classes so far then they have from him, he said.

“I’ve learned from those that are in the class,” he said. “It’s opened up a lot of discussions I’ve never had before — some tough conversations.”