President's Message (Oct. 2017 Journal)

President John Laird, Remembrance Day 2017

Dr Kevin Gilmartin: Back by popular demand

The health and wellbeing of our members has, and always will be the priority of The Association. We exist for you and because of you, and we will never lose sight of the responsibility we hold.

Considerable work has gone into improving the mental health services available to our members. We recognise that this is ground zero when it comes to looking after your wellbeing.

Again, we have organised for Dr Kevin Gilmartin to travel from the USA for the third successive year to present to members about the best way to cope with the often-overwhelming stresses that are unique to policing.

His advice and coping strategies hold great authority given they were framed through his own experiences as a police officer in the USA for over twenty years.

By the time you read this message, more than 4000 members (plus family members) will have seen one of his presentations held in earlier this month across the state. 

This is in addition to the 5000 or so members who had attended his presentations in 2014 and 2016 and the countless number of members who have benefited from having read his best-selling book. 

It’s imperative that we focus our efforts on preventing mental health issues, rather than treating them when they arise. Of course, we want to help those who are suffering and we’ve been lobbying the government heavily to introduce presumptive treatment for members suffering mental health issues as a result of the job, but if we can prevent more cases from occurring in the first place, there’s less reliance placed on medical intervention down the track.

In that sense, the new Equipt App, designed and funded by The Association in partnership with Victoria Police, serves a very valuable purpose. It offers a real-time preventative measure to combat the physical and emotional toll that this job can take.

Remembering the fallen 

Last month, I had the honour of participating in two important events that remember our members who have made the ultimate sacrifice.  

On September 15, the eighth Wall-to-Wall Ride for Remembrance saw over 400 Victorians travel from the Victoria Police Memorial wall in Melbourne to the Police Memorial in Canberra.  

There are more than 750 names on this Memorial with, sadly, more being added this year. 

The ride, over two days, brought together police from around the country in remembrance of colleagues who have all lost their lives. 

From every state and territory, they came, all travelling with the same aim – to remember those who died while serving and to raise funds for Police Legacy. 

As we remember those lost we must also remember those left behind; their mothers, fathers, partners, and their children for which life now can never be the same.  

Police Legacy remembers these people and while many members contribute, far too many do not.

At this time of the year, it is appropriate to ask yourself - could I do more? 

A small fortnightly donation to Police Legacy or an increase from what you currently donate means that our colleagues who have made the ultimate sacrifice are remembered forever and that those they’ve left behind are well looked after.