When That Day Comes..Training for the Fight..
One cop's journey through trauma...and coming out the other side.
I met Christopher Hoyer on LinkedIn, random enough, he sent me a copy of his book which I can't tell you enough good things about..happens to be family as a former Marine, and I, a Navy granddaughter.
On May 18th, 2021, David Glasser will have been gone from us for 5 years. David's death was the defining moment in Chris' career. My heart breaks for David's wife Kristen, and their children growing up without a father, especially this father. This event changed his life for the rest of his life along with ever officer that lived through it.
The Google Reads synopsis..
" Retired Police Officer, Christopher Hoyer is a protector, survivor and advocate for mental, physical and emotional wellness. After 20+ years as a street cop, having been faced with the worst horrors imaginable, he has turned his focus to sharing his story with others, helping the law enforcement community prepare for the trauma that comes with the job. He has spoken to thousands, including first responders, mental health professionals and various professional entities, sharing his story in hopes of saving lives. This book was written for a couple of specific and special reasons. The first is to honor the memory of all fallen Law Enforcement Officers ... one in particular. The second is to pass on what time on the street taught him about survival ... mental, physical and emotional."
Now my take on it..
If you ever want a real life version of events in the life of a police officer you have to check out Christopher Hoyer's book- When That day Comes. I have worked with tons of law enforcement in my career and my favorite FTO Gus Markes would have been doing exactly what I did reading in his book..a laugh of OMG..and he just didn't, yes he did but I probably would have done that to..but Gus also had a pig hanging in his office. Gus always used to tell us, it never happens in real life like it happens in the book, except in this case. This also the same man who only dinged me on two things in an 8 hour ride along- not looking in the bed of a pickup truck trailer (in my defense even on tippy toes I am too short to see the bottom of it) and making a left turn from a stop sign quicker than he would have liked didn't even come close to causing an accident. . I won't tell about his Freaudian slip in a staff meeting..other than to say what your best defense is). Having trained with a former LASD has saved my life on more than one occasions and saved my sanity for almost the last two years.
None of these are a reason not to read the book. In fact it is a reason to. Law enforcement is not the way we see it on TV. It doesn't solve itself in a neat little pink bow from crime to sentencing in an hour. However there are heroes, and everyone of Phoenix PD who lost David Glasser are heroes. Your story is not lost. The things you have been through I have, sadly at the hands of fellow officers in Georgia, I do not hold this against you.
I could tell you what Chris's FTO was probably thinking, just like I could guess the next sentence in his book. The book is an honest, insightful spotted with humor and glimpses of hurt so real you will have tears fall from your eyes. It is what actually happens when their is a critical incident.
Every rookie needs this as a companion to their "OFFICIAL" training. It raises the hard questions you face on the job in a thought provoking, abet humorous manner. Even the FTO's could get something from it..that fear never teaches anything but constant second guessing..you would get a lot further with a cup of coffee and doughnuts, that rapport can be what saves your rookies mental health..and keeps a good cop working for a department.
For the Chiefs who have forgotten what it is like to be a rookie. this book is something to remind them that their words and actions have real consequences in policing. Your silence in their times of need, does them no favors. The words you speak to them, measure them wisely, it becomes their inner monologue in moments of doubt.
Your inaction or action not only effects how your officers handle calls but the lives of the citizens they are sworn to serve and protect. If you have a Chief that allows rookies to threaten to arrest victims like the Savannah PD Chief Roy Minter, or Brookehaven PD Chief Gary Yandura who thinks not interviewing a sexual assault survivor and whose Deputy Chief Brandon Gurley's statement to begging to give them evidence to support probable cause is to send an email to the victim seeking justice that "100's of sexual assault cases are handled without input from the victim and to "have the press contact him because they have his phone number and email", and to not allow an IA Compliant while leaving a predator on the street..These are police officers who are criminals themselves. This book should be required to be memorized verbatim until they understand the error of their ways. If you can't remember why you became a police officer, you dishonor people like Chris Hoyer who carried a badge and carry the emotional burden of that service with them. You dishonor David Glasser, his wife Kristen and his children. You dishonor the pain each of the officer's who live with David's death and carry scars for the rest of their life, you dishonor the good ones, yourselves and your blue family, as well as your community.
The brave souls like Chris, who solider on, who leave notes for their rifle's next officer, who struggled through their story .. You are the heroes but please read this book. It is one man's journey through pain so deep, it will remind you of your own, and that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. I could give you all the big words for what you are feeling, but a label never ever fixed someone. Chris' story is a reminder you are not insane, you are not alone, you are not invisible. First Responder mental health has become a health crisis in America. Chris' honest and insightful book isn't written for the department shrink, though it is something they should read in order to understand where their clients are at. You can label it PTSD, warrior syndrome or first responder syndrome but labels aren't going to help anyone feel less isolated and overcome the very real stigma that is associated with being a first responder. It isn't going to heal anyone. Chris' book is a brave journey of a former police officer embracing his truth, and being brave enough to share his experience with others so they don't feel like they are alone. We need to truly take an honest look at what organizational policies are doing to first responders. When you have a department that can not support it's officers and a community hell bent on pushing an agenda of criminalizing good police work we have a problem. Bad officers should be held accountable, they should have to answer for their wrongs, but to hold officers not committing official misconduct responsible for their voice and expression we are doing the wrong thing as a country.
A quick read, that will have you laughing out loud and finishing his train of thought as you read it. You will however have pangs of heart strings being pulled if you have ever carried a badge. The Superman in kevlar aside, if you've been there you can't help but relate..and even if you haven't there are more than a few lessons you can learn.
All sarcasm aside..It's real. It's not a scripted book ..it truly reflects the running commentary we have running through our heads from the smartass monologue, to the very real moments that in between the lines showing you what a good cop feels. The psychobabble and big words don't capture the the expression of honesty. Until two years ago I would have told you every good cop I ever knew was Chris Hoyer.. from my best friend in college, to my bestie a Pima county sheriff's deputy, to my Twitter account cops, and ex boyfriend who was an FTO for the Dalton PD. They were all Chris Hoyer, a Superman with kevlar and a heart of gold.
On a personal note and I have no issues ever telling anyone how I feel..His book fixed something no therapist could. Someone who reminded me I wasn't "crazy" and that what was broken by so many in blue..this one fixed by sharing his story. If you feel broken, pick up a copy of this book, it might do the same for you. It might save your life, and your sanity.
What Chris won't tell you but I will is this- Good men have hearts often buried beneath a lot of weight..These men are the ones who sign up for a job that if you ask them 10 years in they may want to leave but it will never leave them, and in truth the thought of leaving it behind forever is as heart breaking as the things they see most of the time in there professional life. These men aren't ever going to tell their wives or girlfriend's the details that are seared into their soul, even if they asked. We gloss over the details we don't want anyone else to carry the emotional weight of it and it haunts us. Yet we can't help but do what we do- it's in our DNA, it is who we are. If you want to understand the silence, the distance, you have to understand what is going on in their heads. They eat, breathe and sleep their jobs, but don't ever think you aren't in the back of their minds when they are at work. Cut them some slack if they come home and can't tell you even what they want for dinner. Ask, don't push. They need to know you are there, they need to know the reason they get up in the morning has their backs.
To my friend Chris- My dear, dear friend. My heart literally breaks for you and the loss and trauma you have endured. You are one in million. You are the cop I have wished I could find in Georgia for the last two years. The Dudley Do Right with an ego the size of Texas, and an even bigger heart wrapped in a Superman cape. The moments of vulnerability you have chosen to share with the world speak to your love for people, strength, your love of your career and the blessing that David left in his friend. You are his living legacy, and no one could be prouder of you than me. Your honest expression of love for your country and your friend, is something every man should try to be. Your granddaughter has an amazing hero to call grandpa. Just as I have an amazing friend. Thank you.
We are a family, a family that stands together.
I strongly encourage you to check out Chris' book on Amazon.
You can also check out his Youtube interviews at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0su-0LORvLU&ab_channel=SaraCorrell and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BR9wIkNyWiw&ab_channel=ChrisChandler-Yates