The Guns & Yoga Podcast

Episode #23: From Police Officer to Police Psychologist – A Conversation with Dr. Stephanie Conn

November 2, 2021

Welcome to Episode 23 of the Guns and Yoga Podcast, my name is Wendy Hummell

In today’s episode I speak with Dr. Stephanie Conn.  She is a former dispatcher and police officer turned police psychologist.  In talking with Dr. Conn, it is obvious this work is in her blood.  She grew up as the daughter of a police officer and ended up married to one.  Dr. Conn explains that her career path was the result of seeing a need and filling it.  After the death of someone at her agency, she realized the missing piece at her agency was a culturally competent therapist to work with their peer support team.  So, what’s a girl to do?  She made the decision to leave her career in law enforcement and pursue her PHD  - with every intention of returning to police work.  Although that didn’t happen the way she planned, the work she now does with peer support teams and first responders locally and across the nation is vitally important

Dr. Conn is also the author of Increasing Resilience in Police and Emergency Personnel.

In this episode, we discuss so many important and relevant topics one of which is police identity.  Dr. Conn discusses research from her book in which she notes that personality changes within first 6 months of entering the academy.  She gives an account of an interview with a career firefighter who said he did not want to retire because, "he didn’t want to go from a hero to a zero” .  Dr. Conn trains on the topic of resilience and cant stress enough how first responders must not defer a life of enjoyment for the day after we retire; she specifically mentions those who never take sick time and sacrifice relationships and all other areas of their life for the job. 

Dr. Conn explains the hazards of organizational betrayal and moral injury and the compounding impact of feeling betrayed by those who are supposed to be looking out for you and how this could lead to undermining our faith in humanity – She explains the connect and protect theory in neuroscience that If I can’t connect to you because I have to protect myself against you, then maybe I have to protect myself against everyone else too.

We talk Peer Support, what makes a good first responder clinician and her  TEAM acronym which stands for: Therapy, Educators, Assist, and Management when referring to the myriad of skillsets of a culturally competent clinician.

LINKS:

COPS vetting guide

Dr. Jamie Brower

Contact Dr. Conn (First Responder Psychology)

Edmonton Police Reintegration Program Podcast

Dr. Conn's Book: Increasing Resilience in Police and Emergency Personnel

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