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May 23, 2023

Empowering Women in Law Enforcement: Self-Defense Training and Resilience to be Unstoppable- Fortis Tactical Teena Gooding

Empowering Women in Law Enforcement: Self-Defense Training and Resilience to be Unstoppable- Fortis Tactical Teena Gooding

Teena's extensive 26-year career in law enforcement has equipped her with invaluable insights that she now imparts through her training facility. At Fortis Tactical Systems, Teena and her husband offer a wide range of courses, including concealed weapons permit classes and specialized training for women in law enforcement. While you might initially think that these topics are only relevant to women, Teena's ideas challenge that assumption and offer valuable lessons for all listeners.

In addition to discussing women in law enforcement, we will also delve into the topic of peer support. Teena has been an integral part of the peer support team in South Carolina for several years, and she will share her experiences and insights on building resilience. So, whether you're interested in law enforcement, passionate about empowering women, or curious about the importance of peer support and resilience, this episode is packed with valuable information you won't want to miss.

First responders play a critical role in keeping our communities safe. However, the stress and trauma of the job can take a toll on their mental health. Peer support and mental health professionals play a critical role in supporting first responders and addressing the stigma and shame associated with seeking help.

If you're interested in peer support training, contact Jerry Lund at 435-476-6382 with The Complete First Responder Trainings or visit www.completefirstrespondertrainings.com. Let's work together to support our first responders and ensure they have the resources they need to maintain their mental health and well-being.


[00:00:00] Jerry: Hi everyone, and welcome to this week's episode of Enduring the Badge podcast. I'm your host Jerry Dean Lund, and I don't want you to miss an upcoming episode, so please hit that subscribe button. And while your phone's out, please do me a favor and give us a review on iTunes or Apple Podcast. It says, Hey, this podcast has a great message and we should send it out to more people.

[00:00:20] Jerry: So please take that 30 seconds to a minute to do that review and just maybe by doing that, it'll push this up into someone's podcast feed that really needs this message. 

[00:00:30] Jerry: Hey everyone. I'm super excited to announce that I have teamed up with one of the leaders in mental health for first responders, and that is Dr. Tia White. Together we have created an incredible company called The Complete First Responder Wellness Trainings, and that is an exhaustive list of trainings to help first responders on and off duty. To deal with not only just their mental health and their health, but we are talking about finances and family and kids.

[00:01:02] Jerry: We have an exhaustive list of trainings that we can help you become the best person you can be, and those trainings can be delivered to your department as well. So feel free to contact us at the complete first responder Wellness Trainings. On Instagram or Facebook, or the complete first responder trainings on the internet.

[00:01:26] Jerry: My very special guest today is Teena Gooding. She is the co-owner of Fortis Tactical Systems. Teena spent 26 years in law enforcement and now she has this incredible training facility. That she co-owns with her husband. They teach classes like concealed weapons permit classes. They teach classes on women in law enforcement, female officer, survival, basic investigation techniques.

[00:01:53] Jerry: There's a lot of great stuff that Teena teaches. It has a lot to do with women in law enforcement. But if you're a male and listening, And you're like, oh, what do I need to know about that? Well, you probably need to know more than you think. And she has got some great ideas about women in law enforcement that I really like.

[00:02:11] Jerry: But we're also gonna talk at point to peer support, what it looks like in South Carolina and how it can be a model for the other states. And Teena has been on the peer support team for quite a number of years, and she's gonna talk to us about that and how she teaches people to be resilient. Now let's jump right into this episode with a very special guest, Teena Gooding.

[00:02:39] Jerry: How you doing? I'm good. How are you? I'm doing excellent. Thank you. Teena can you introduce yourself to the audience? 

[00:02:46] Teena: Of course, uh, my name's Teena i, uh, live in South Carolina. I just retired last year after 26 years in law enforcement. Um, so now I, um, teach and do some public speaking and live my best retired life.

[00:03:01] Jerry: That's awesome. I love the best retired life. Who are you teaching for? 

[00:03:06] Teena: Um, I teach a female author survival class. I teach it four times a year to, um, female authors from all over the country. Um, and then I'm speaking at several different conferences on, um, resiliency, women in law enforcement, and I teach a, like CWP classes, so concealed carry classes for civilians and self-defense for civilians as well.

[00:03:29] Jerry: Well, that sounds like it'd keep you busy in retirement. 

[00:03:33] Teena: Well, that's what my super, like you're working more now than you were before. I able to, on my own terms. So it's different. 

[00:03:38] Jerry: Right. That is different. Definitely Teena like, so why did you gravitate towards like doing these classes for females on, you know, there's just safety.

[00:03:51] Teena: So the female, so the self defense side got started, um, in 2005. I worked for a university police department and the need was there for students, faculty, and staff to have, you know, a self-defense, something that the department could offer then. And so I started building that then and, Still, even though I don't work for the police department anymore, they uh, they invite me back.

[00:04:16] Teena: Um, they know it's something that I'm very passionate about and, um, you know, it's, It's something they don't have to worry about if I do it. So there's that. But um, and uh, I love it. I love it. And then I also, um, my husband and I partner with another business that teaches self-defense as well. And we do like a weekend long retreat where my husband and I do the firearms portion and then the other group does the hands on self-defense and it's a scared a lot towards survivors.

[00:04:44] Teena: Um, and so we have young ladies from all over the country come to that and it's a pretty empowering weekend. Yeah, people always ask me which one is more like teaching. Cops are teaching civilians and really they just, they're their own separate things. So 

[00:05:01] Jerry: yeah, I would imagine they're rewarding in their own separate ways, for sure.

[00:05:08] Jerry: Teena uh, so I've noticed these, the, you, these classes that you do are sold out. 

[00:05:14] Teena: They are, um, actually the, um, let's see, we had March and then we have one in May and then we have one scheduled in September and those had sold out. So I wanted couple conferences I'm speaking at. I wanted them to be able to register if they wanted to.

[00:05:27] Teena: So we have one that I just posted in for December. Um, so it's really exciting. A lot of, I don't wanna say I didn't expect it, but I didn't expect people, like we have a young lady driving all the way from Connecticut to come in September and. It's, it's pretty cool cuz departments are, A lot of departments will pay for them to come.

[00:05:46] Teena: Yeah. Which right now with budget, I was shocked. But it's also, I think something that's not offered a lot of places. And so when they're seeing a need, they're also seeing, you know, in our profession women are very siloed. It's like one female per shift and you know, so they don't get the opportunity to create, you know, relationships with other females.

[00:06:08] Teena: And of course we're harder on ourselves than. The guys ever could be. Um, and so it's just an environment that's very, um, and builds 'em up and they get to build like the sisterhood with other officers from all over the country. And it's, it's so far, it's going so far, so good. 

[00:06:26] Jerry: That's great. I mean, I, I know you saw you a need, but like how did you become so passionate about it?

[00:06:33] Jerry: Or why were you so passionate about this? 

[00:06:37] Teena: So, it's a good question. Um, I don't think it's, Started that way. Really. I actually, a guy, one of probably, I would call him a mentor of mine, worked at a neighboring agency and, um, we would teach a lot. He was my like, defensive tactics instructor. Instructor. So when I became an instructor, he was my instructor for that.

[00:06:55] Teena: And um, he uh, he just called me outta the blue one day and like, I think it was in 2011, and he said, um, I think you should make a female officer survival class. And I was like, Why in the world would I do that? I was like, absolutely not. Um, and he was like, no. He's like, I, you do it anyway. Just don't realize you're doing it.

[00:07:15] Teena: And I was like, There. No, it's not gonna, this is not gonna work. Women aren't gonna wanna come. Like, plus I was, you know, I don't wanna say conditioned, but as a female in this job, it was like, the last thing I wanna do is create this separation. You know, that we have to go to some special class. Like in my mind, you know?

[00:07:34] Teena: Sure. And so I was like, no. And then he was like, well just put something together. Let's see what happens. And I was like, fine. So, um, of course what it is today. It was nothing like it was in 2011. The other thing that was kind of hard to find were other, cause I really wanted to be female instructors. Um, yeah.

[00:07:53] Teena: And I wanted them to have, you know, certifications and firearms and instructors and certification and defensive tactics. Well, that's really hard to find. Um, so it took me a while to get like a group of ladies together that. It was about teaching, not necessarily about showing the students what they knew, and that's also kind of hard to find some kind.

[00:08:16] Teena: Yeah. Um, so it was trial and error and we used to teach and it was basically part of our jobs. Like I requested them from their departments and, um, And the money that departments paid went through a, like a local association for supporting law enforcement. Um, and it was very successful. And we taught all over South Carolina.

[00:08:35] Teena: And then when I was looking to retire, it was like, you know, I've been doing this since 2011. It's what I love. So we ended up taking, you know, Perform or own llc. And, um, I was like, yeah, I don't know if this is gonna work. And it has, um, you know, I had, uh, a class I went to back a long time ago. One of the guys that was in the class from me, he's from, um, Alabama.

[00:08:57] Teena: He actually texted me last night and was like, would you come to Alabama? And I was like, and the logistics, it's hard logistically, you know? Yeah. For, for me to know, like, What the facility has and then also get instructors. And, and so it's just hard to do it in other places. And I'm not saying that we won't, it's just right now we stay on site.

[00:09:17] Teena: So it's a like a tactical training center so everybody stays there. Um, which is really proven to be really impactful for the attendees to be able to stay the night. Yeah. But also, You know, not just in the classroom together, like they're building relationships a lot deeper than just sitting in the class with someone.

[00:09:36] Teena: Um, and so I don't, and I don't have to worry about 'em leaving and coming back, or if they drink too much and. They're try, you know, you know how that goes. So I don't have worry about any of that, but they, everybody just stays there. Um, we get food catered in, so, you know, it's pretty easy, the gig I have right now, so it's like I don't wanna give that up.

[00:09:54] Jerry: Right. That's a little bit more difficult to travel and do something like that. For sure. 

[00:09:58] Teena: Yeah. And you don't always know what the ranges are gonna look like. They, they're always like, we have a great range. Yeah. And we get there and there's no bathroom or Yeah. And, you know, 18 to four women, um, it's a little different than, you know, class die.

[00:10:13] Teena: So. Yeah. 

[00:10:16] Jerry: Are the tactics that you teach women, um, is that different than what, uh, you teach men? Is there different techniques? 

[00:10:24] Teena: So they, they are a little different. Um, but it's also like what works for them. I think sometimes, like in, when we're in a training st setting, like at an academy or even at our department, it's like really kind of a check the box.

[00:10:42] Teena: You know? It's like, let's hit a pad 10 times and okay, you're good. Yeah. And so the environment really is not there for them to say like, I don't really think this would work for me. Can we. Try something else. Um, and so they just continue doing the things that, you know, the check the box, let's hit the pad with a baton or, you know, let's, and so, and they also don't get, you know, they're not going really hardcore cuz a lot of times departments don't want their officers to get injur in training and, you know, so it's just, you know, they're not really getting a lot out of it.

[00:11:14] Teena: Um, and so in the training environment I created, it's like, this is what I'm gonna show you that I think works for someone either small. Or stature or a female that doesn't have as much of a body strength. Um, but if you don't like it, then let's try something else. And it's just really from going to different, like jiujitsu for law enforcement classes, lots of Gracie Jujitsu classes.

[00:11:36] Teena: Somera MAGA classes, um, and just like trying the things, if that makes sense. Yeah. And um, but also just the environment for them to. Like really, because they're all, you know, females, they can really like push themselves and go, no, like I'm gonna go hard. And they, it just builds their confidence. 

[00:11:56] Jerry: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:11:57] Jerry: I, I like that. I like that they, you're able to like try these different things. To find, you know, what works for them. I mean, because right at the departments, you're right, they, there is like the box checking that HA has to happen. And that doesn't do really anybody any good other than the box is, is checked, you know?

[00:12:15] Jerry: And so it's awesome that you can, you know, like, hey, let's try this, something a little bit different. And I'm sure that that would build my confidence. 

[00:12:23] Teena: When you know that even if departments train defensive tactics, it's usually only once a year. Yeah. Which is not enough. Um, same thing with firearms as they qualify, they're only qualifying some, they don't, they don't actually train in firearms.

[00:12:37] Teena: It's just, let's go stand there and shoot and hope you get, get this good score. Yeah. Um, and so a lot of the firearm stuff is a lot of advanced firearm drills where they're shooting right next to each other, around each other. Um, Obviously decision making and different things like that where, you know, it's good because departments from all over the country come and some of them train more than others, but there's some that they don't.

[00:13:01] Teena: I mean, some of them haven't had defensive tactics since they went through their like police academy. Yeah. Which of course blows my mind. But, um, But it's out there unfortunately. 

[00:13:12] Jerry: Yeah. I mean, do you think maybe sometimes when people are, are uncomfortable with their defensive tactics that they may use go to a different level of force instead of that I.

[00:13:23] Teena: Oh, absolutely. They, um, because they don't have confidence in what they're gonna do or they're, they're so scared they don't know what else to do, and now they can't think straight, make decisions. Well, and they do it, it forces them to go to a higher level of force because they don't have any other tools in their toolbox.

[00:13:41] Teena: That's all they know. Um, and we also know that generationally, the younger the officers, the less they grew up with. Solving problems with violence And what, I mean, it's like when we were kids, you know, you had a problem with somebody, you just went, you know, in the back of the school yard and you, you know, had a little tussle and then you were fine.

[00:14:01] Teena: Yeah. Um, but they're not allowed to do that anymore. And you know, okay, I get it. But they also don't, so they don't know what to do. And I hear, I heard, I taught at our state police academy for several years and a lot of the instructors are like, you know, well, you know, they're not doing anything. I said, well, because they don't know what to do.

[00:14:18] Teena: So they would rather just stand back. And not be in another officer's way who's, looks like they're, they kind of know what they're doing. Yeah. And to put themselves in that situation and it be worse, you know? And we don't really teach them how to actually fight. We just teach them how to control someone who lets them control them.

[00:14:37] Teena: And they don't know what that looks like to, to, you know, fight. They don't know what that looks like. They've never seen it, you know, firsthand. Yeah. And so it's, It's really, it's really interesting to see their confidence when they come in and then when they leave, um, and I have 'em call me all the time and, you know, hopefully not too soon after, but sometimes it's too, it's very soon, and they're like, you know, I was in a situation and I wouldn't have.

[00:15:01] Teena: Survived the situation if it hadn't been in the training I went through, um, or just the confidence I had, I was able to resolve that situation without there being any physical violence really. Um, yeah. Cause they were confident, they were confident enough in their own abilities to say, you know, we're not doing this, you know, let you, this is what we're doing.

[00:15:19] Teena: Um, instead of being very shy or timid, so, 

[00:15:23] Jerry: Right. Right. I think that's huge with your confidence level of, you know, even if it's just talking and solving a problem or being hands-on and solving a problem, like, I think you have to have those different levels of confidence for each, you know, situation that you enter to figure out the best way to resolve 'em with.

[00:15:40] Jerry: Right. The least amount of force. 

[00:15:42] Teena: And if they, and their confidence is just like, they're just like, there's no way I could. Be successful. Um, and so when they walk into a call for service or they're, they're just not gonna be able to do what they need to do. And it's, you know, I hate that they have to come to my class to get it, but I'm glad it they're getting it somewhere.

[00:15:59] Teena: Yeah. So a lot of departments will send them. Um, it's kind of funny to make cause they think like, They're, they're a problem child. And um, so they'll be like, fix them. And I'm like, well, they weren't broken to begin with. They're fine. They're a girl and they're different.

[00:16:22] Teena: In law enforcement, if you're the only girl in the class, which usually is what happens, you are very nervous already and you're like, I don't wanna mess this up. I have to perform at this really high level. Or they're gonna think I'm an idiot. Sure. And so, so then now we get ourselves all on the sign, and then we usually end up underperforming because we're so nervous, which makes it worse.

[00:16:43] Teena: Um, and then we don't trust ourselves. And so the environment is like, this is gonna be a safe environment, you know, but please ask questions like nobody's gonna judge you. A lot of times women just do what they're doing because some man told them to do it and mm-hmm. Somewhere in their career and they think it's the right thing.

[00:17:01] Teena: And I'm like, hell, he'll help the guy that. That are telling you, do this, probably don't even know what they're talking about. You just leave them, you know? Yeah. And so it's like just evaluating those things that they've been told or just telling 'em the why behind it, you know? Like, yeah, that's probably the best way to do it, but this is why that's the best way.

[00:17:18] Teena: And then they're like, oh, okay, now I get it. So 

[00:17:21] Jerry: yeah, I think it probably helps too, that you're just kind of focused on your certain lane, right? That you're in like, and you're not. Teaching a bunch of different things. Like this is, this is my lane, this is what we teach. Then we don't have to teach all these other things.

[00:17:35] Jerry: So it makes it so you can get right down into like the nitty gritty of, you know, what needs is. Play takes place for this type of training. 

[00:17:42] Teena: Absolutely. And we do, we do some mental health. Um, I talk about, um, I, I, Especially I'm on our state peer team and, um, s SE or southline, law Enforcement Officer Assistance Program was one of the first states to have a peer team.

[00:17:57] Teena: Um, and there's like 16 other states who are mirroring what we do here and said, I've been on the peer team since 2005, and so I bring some of that into it to, um, you know, mental health, mental. Emotional survival and um, you know, yeah, you can know how to fight, you can know how to shoot and you do need to know how to do those things, but if this is not okay, then none of that stuff matters.

[00:18:21] Teena: So we talk a lot about that too. 

[00:18:23] Jerry: Yeah. And I want to jump into some of that, but I have a question before. Mm-hmm. We jump into that in, are you doing some select scenario based stuff too at your training center? 

[00:18:34] Teena: We do, um, we're doing some stuff with Airsoft just cuz it's cheaper. Um, but we do, we do, um, some where they, you know, start with their eyes closed and they have to open their eyes and, um, respond.

[00:18:49] Teena: Um, and we're doing some building clearing things. Um, and then of course some of the DT stuff is like, scenario based, like you find yourself here. Okay, how did you get, what, what are some ways you would've gotten on the ground, you know? Mm-hmm. Um, And then, but it's also not just like, okay, if someone goes to take your gun and like, and I'm sure you've seen it in, you know, weapon retention, like the officer, the other, the bad officer just grabs their gun and they stand there.

[00:19:16] Teena: Yeah. Then we don't do that. Like, like, they're not just gonna stand there, they're pushing you. Right. They're gonna be using their bodies. They're pinning you up against the wall. Like it's not this. It's not gonna be a situation where they're just gonna stand there and be like, oh, I've got your gun. Like that's not reality.

[00:19:29] Teena: Yeah. So we bring kind of the intensity up, um, a lot. Um, cuz I want them to go like, oh shit. Like I didn't expect that. Like cuz I want them to know they can get through it. 

[00:19:39] Jerry: Yeah. Yeah. That's super important. Right. Once again, building that, that confidence up by going through some of those scenarios is incredibly helpful because if you had never been through one, then you're just kind of winging it in a way. Right. 

[00:19:53] Teena: That's right. Well, yeah, and hoping, crossing your fingers and hoping it works out which luck is part of it. Most of the encounters I was successful cause I was good. It was, I was lucky most of the time. Um, but you have to bring, there's be some skill and I think we, you know, obviously society, um, as a whole doesn't.

[00:20:10] Teena: Understand that law enforcement probably is not trained the level they should be trained just to the time and money. Yeah. And they assume they get all this training and all this stuff, and it's like, that's not reality. Um, I, I wish it was different, but, um, we know that that's not the case. So 

[00:20:27] Jerry: yeah. I mean, it, just think about it, like how many hours would that take to, let's say, create the perfect officer?

[00:20:37] Teena: Um, it, one, I dunno that that ever could be, but Right. It's also like, it's not linear because, you know, some officers encounter critical incidents very early on in their career. Um, and so they, that confidence, um, is there already, yeah. They successfully handled the situation or the other side of that coin was, Which is they, they didn't, and maybe their confidence is like, they used to be confident.

[00:21:05] Teena: Now they're not. But it's also just the culture of the, the department, this, this idea of learning and not checking a box. And the, I mean, our academy is really short, I think. Um, our academy is only, um, total, it's 12 weeks. Yeah. But they. You know, it's funny cuz everybody was like, why don't we teach, you know, resiliency at the police academy.

[00:21:28] Teena: Mm-hmm. Um, and I said, well one of the reasons is cuz they don't, they're not listening. Like all they wanna know is what to pass this test so that they can get done and not to die. That's all they hear when they graduate the academy. That's all they know. Don't die. Yeah. Don't do anything stupid. Don't get it on the news.

[00:21:45] Teena: Like that's unfortunately, that's the what's in the top of their head. So this idea. Yeah. Uh, Of resiliency and, and mental health and emotional survival. They don't even know what that is because they've not seen it. It, to them it's like this foreign object, you know? Um, and so it's like almost should be done periodically during the career.

[00:22:06] Teena: Kind of these, you know, let's, let's talk about this again. Let's talk about this so that we are showing how important it is. Um, But not everybody does that. Um, I did it with my FTOs when I, I was captain and I kind of did that yearly with the FTOs in my department where we had a training and we talked about resiliency and, um, offer them, but also how do they build resiliency in their recruits.

[00:22:29] Teena: Cause to me, an FTO is the most I important position in any police department. Um, but the, then there's also. Some departments who, they don't even train their FTOs. They just give them, say, you're an f t o, have fun. And they don't even, they have no idea what they're doing. Um, and that is a disservice to them, obviously.

[00:22:50] Jerry: Yeah, I, I totally agree. It's a disservice to the person that they're training and a disservice to the person that's being the F T O I think in the first responder were both police fire and e m s that, um, a lot of times, The F T O or whatever they call it, depending on the service you're in, is just somebody that's like, oh, you've been around long enough and and you wanna do it, or maybe you don't wanna do it.

[00:23:17] Jerry: Doesn't really matter. You know, it's, there's no, like, there's not a lot of formal training for leadership on to how to be a coach and a mentor to somebody. 

[00:23:27] Teena: That's right. And it's not, and it's so, so crazy to me. Cuz you look at like some of the bigger.

[00:23:36] Teena: Programs in their organization and you talk to a lot of law enforcement and that's not thing they, you just, you don't even realize you're being mentored probably until like 10 years later and then you're like, oh, that person was my mentor. You know, there's no formal mentoring, it's just you're field training, but as fto.

[00:23:55] Teena: I mean, the thought is they're supposed to be a mentor, but they're really not. They're an evaluator. Yeah. They're not a mentor. Especially if nobody's ever taught them what that even means. Um, and explained what the difference is. Um, and so I don't know why we don't spend more time there, I guess, cuz it's like that, um, we talk about like critical skills and we know that firearms is critical and DT is critical, like those things are, but sometimes the, those soft skills we.

[00:24:24] Teena: Kind of abandon and, and don't spend enough time there. 

[00:24:28] Jerry: Yeah. And it's very, it's time. It's like most departments aren't staffed well enough to ha have time to invest in these different things. So they're like, well, We do this, then you're gonna be out on the road less. And so we don't have coverage out on the road 

[00:24:46] Teena: or more overtime and we're gonna have to pay you overtime.

[00:24:48] Jerry: Oh yeah, yeah. There's that too. Yeah. So it's just like the battle of, of those two things. Um, it just, and something you gotta give. Right. And that's generally what, what gives unfortunately. Yep. And you say, talk about, um, resiliency and I know. I know a lot of people that get into the first responder world are very resilient people.

[00:25:09] Jerry: Right. That's why they get here. But then over time they tend to lose that resiliency that they came in to the service with. 

[00:25:19] Teena: Yeah, usually. Um, well, it used to be that way. I think more and more we're getting younger officers of the younger generation who really have not. They've probably never had anybody in their family die because people live so long.

[00:25:33] Teena: Um, so that's one of the things, like this idea of death and, um, or they were never like I was forced to go to like my grandparents' funeral when I was a child. Like, no, you're going, you know, see dead people. Like, I mean, it was just a thing. Yeah. Where now, and I didn't realize this until, um, It was like a supervision class I worked doing one time and I said, do y'all go to officers who are killed on duties, funerals?

[00:25:59] Teena: And they were like, well, no. Why would I go to the an officer's funeral? I don't know. They might didn't even go to my grandparents' funeral. And I was like, I didn't even think of that. Right. Um, just generationally. And so they come into this job and they've never dealt with deaths per close, personal, um, or seen it and.

[00:26:18] Teena: We are hardened, and we were like, why isn't bothering that person? Like it's just a dead person. You know, like, and so we, you know, but it's, it's also talking to them about that and understanding that this, they've never had death in their family and being like, oh, I didn't think of it like that before. So, Um, but it's also the idea of what is resilient and what does it look like and, um, I taught at a Georgia Association of Women Public Safety.

[00:26:44] Teena: I just did a conference earlier this week and one of the comments was, I was just glad it went in that bullshit. Other resiliency training. And I was like, well, that's good. Ok, that's a win. Um, you know, it's like really, what is it? And um, but also calling each other out on. You know, it's funny cuz I ask 'em in a training, like how many times a day do you say somebody's an asshole or this is bullshit.

[00:27:09] Teena: Yeah. Like if you find yourself saying that a lot during the day, then we need to talk about like the negativity bias that's going on in your head. It's natural. I mean every human has it, but this job makes it 10 times worse. Yeah. That's all you see. That's all you see. People aren't even the fire, you know, police, you know, make fun of facts.

[00:27:29] Teena: Yeah. I used to be public safety, so, um, I know police make fun of fire. They're like always happy to see the firemen. Yeah. But in reality, not really, because something's probably burning. Right, right. And, you know, and so like, it, it's, you know, it's the same for every, all of us. We're, we're dealing with the bad things.

[00:27:47] Teena: It's not, you know, EMS is not going to someone's house because something good is happening, you know? Right. Something bad has happened. Um, and so that, that just gets wired in our brain so much more than a normal. Civilian job. 

[00:28:01] Jerry: Yeah. What advice do you have for people to like keep the, you know, the building, the resilience and keeping the re resiliency throughout their careers?

[00:28:11] Teena: I really think it's a lot of self-evaluation and checking it, checking in, um, on the, with themselves, but also having, um, someone. Whether it's it's their significant other or just a good friend and, you know, maybe not even in law enforcement that can look at them and say like, you need to take a step back.

[00:28:32] Teena: You know, you're, you're, you're very negative or you're, you know, you're becoming very cynical. Um, or you're overreacting a lot. Um, and the other thing that I think culturally in law enforcement, and I know this is like crazy, but like, We don't take time off it. Culturally, departments reward officers for having perfect attendances.

[00:28:55] Teena: Like if you took no annual leave this year and no sick leave, then you get like a gift card or something. Yeah, and I think that that's bad because we're, we are ingraining in them to not take time off and we've. That needs to become the culture and the norm that people are taking time off to spend with their families to just recharge.

[00:29:17] Teena: Um, because our brain's needed like it, it actually needs it to stay healthy, and which then makes people a little bit more resilient because they're not burned out and they're not tired and they're not straining those personal relationships at home because they're actually spending time with those people.

[00:29:33] Teena: So when something does happen bad, they have this. Circle around them that's gonna be there to catch 'em when, when it's that. 

[00:29:44] Jerry: Yeah. I'm really glad you brought that up. Excuse me. Um, I think that's something that gets missed a lot, right? I think we're. Constantly keeping her overtime or not overtime. Our P t O time, vacation time is sick time, all that constantly as full as we possibly can.

[00:30:02] Jerry: And I think you're so true, like without that time off, like it is incredibly difficult to recharge and you do just no matter how things, how great things are at the department or whatever, you're still getting burned out. 

[00:30:17] Teena: And you, and, and one of the other things that. Really frustrates me about law enforcement, is that like when I started and I remember someone saying this like, keep family, keep home at home, keep work at work, get separate the two.

[00:30:30] Teena: And I'm like, that is literally impossible. Yep. Like you, you cannot do that. Your brain doesn't work that way. You can't just be like, well this is my work brain and this is my home brain. Um, it's the same brain. Um, and like un like preaching that and being able to train officers when they come in new, but also.

[00:30:48] Teena: I wish we had training for families. So when a, you know, when a police officer becomes a police officer, like they get all this training, but their families don't know what's happening. Like they don't understand why they might be changing. Their personality might be changing. They might not wanna go out in public as much.

[00:31:04] Teena: All they think is just, they just don't wanna be with me. And because they don't know what they don't know. And I think it is. So important that we start to try and bring family into that world more. Yeah. So that they can understand, but also know each other. You know, as a female captain, it was one of my like goals that when we hired someone new like I would.

[00:31:30] Teena: Their friends, their significant other, whether it was a male or a female. My boss used to ask me, he was like, I guess they're friends with their significant other on Facebook. I'm like, yep. Um, because I wanted them, I didn't want. To the first time we hear my voice is when I called their significant mother in the middle of the night and some random lady that they don't know.

[00:31:48] Teena: Um, and I know some people would be like, well, you know, it shouldn't matter. Well, it does matter. Yeah. And that's reality. And I did not want their wives to, I wanted their wives to know me. Um, and so they would understand what was happening when I called them in the middle of the night. You know, it wasn't, there wasn't any drama or misunderstanding.

[00:32:05] Teena: They knew it was work. Um, yeah. And I just think that respect is what's really important, that mutual respect. Um, but training them too. Training them to understand emotional survival and also resources. Um, you know, when we talk about an officers certain or not in a good place, people are gonna notice it the most with their families.

[00:32:25] Teena: Right? Um, and being able to just give them those resources to say, this is, this is what's gonna happen. This is what it's gonna look like. This is who you call, this is what you do. Um, cause a lot of times they don't wanna get their officer in trouble. And so they just don't know what to do or don't know how, who to call.

[00:32:42] Teena: Um, and that's one of the things that I think is just so important right now. And it should have been always important, but it, you know, it just wasn't, 

[00:32:51] Jerry: yeah, yeah, yeah. No, it's, it's good to, it's really good to recognize that because you're, you're very, very right, like you're That's so true. I mean, the, the families are just, they sign up too, right?

[00:33:04] Jerry: For this job. Um, un. And they have no clue what's going on except for what they're being told when their officer or whoever comes home and what they're being told. And there's a lot of probably vagueness. And so the, you know, your family's trying to put things together and making assumptions maybe that are not true.

[00:33:23] Jerry: Um, and you're right. And families are the first people, right, to see like, yeah, you're changing, there's something about you that's different, like, what's going on? And then they, maybe they. Or a great person to get you the help, but maybe they're not the great person to help you. 

[00:33:39] Teena: For sure. Yeah, and even, even being a peer, there's sometimes where I'll have somebody call me and I'm like, I am not the peer for you.

[00:33:46] Teena: Like I either. It's just what they're going through. I just really have never experienced so. Mm-hmm. You know, I can listen, but you know, I've never been in a shooting, so if somebody has been in a shooting, it's tough for me to say, you know, I know where you're at. Um, yeah. And one of the things we do, or one of the things that our, um, Eric Skidmore, who's the coordinator for the peer team, he, he's amazing.

[00:34:07] Teena: And how he does it, I don't know, but he keeps, like, everybody's, it's a specialty, unfortunately. And like, you know, mine is su dealing with suicide. So he, he's like, okay, if it's suicide, then we're sending Tina, you know, I mean, I don't know how he keeps it in his head, but, um, and so we just do, he does a really good job of that and connecting people.

[00:34:26] Teena: And so they might call me and say, I'm struggling with this or this, and I'm like, I can get you to somebody that's not me, but I can get you there. Um, and that, I think that's really important. Yeah. 

[00:34:36] Jerry: I, I guess I have to ask this, how'd you end up as, as that person to be the, the person for the peer support when it comes to dealing with suicide?

[00:34:44] Teena: Um, I struggled, um, my whole life, um, with suicidal ideation. So, but I just recently probably started sharing that more than nor. Just because I'm like preaching it. And then I was like, well, I don't really tell, I'm not telling my whole truth and that's not really fair. Um, but also my mom, uh, died by suicide and then I had a really dear friend die by suicide.

[00:35:05] Teena: And so, um, so. And so that's become one of my passions is teaching suicide intervention and, um, suicide in law enforcement. And, um, how do we break the stigma and how do we, um, create a culture? I mean, it was funny, I was watching a show the other night, I can't remember what show it was, and they were, Talking about marriage counseling and how like you only go to marriage counseling when something's wrong.

[00:35:32] Teena: And I was like, well this is such a bad Yeah, like assault, right? Because it's like when we think that, well then if I go to therapy, something's wrong. But in reality, you should be going to therapy. Like you go to the gym. Yeah, you go to, you don't go to the gym cuz something's wrong. You go to the gym to make yourself stronger.

[00:35:47] Teena: And it really should be the same way with therapy. You're going so that things. Don't go wrong. Yeah. Um, but I think it's just culturally for our whole country, it's that way. Um, you only go to therapy when something's wrong, and so when someone's going to therapy, that's what we think. When in reality it's like, go to the gym.

[00:36:06] Teena: You go to the gym and nobody thinks anything of it. So 

[00:36:09] Jerry: yeah. Do you think that maybe is because just culturally this we're our as people were more reactive and proactive? 

[00:36:18] Teena: Absolutely. And cult, our culture in law enforcement's the same way. You know, we we're, you know, things happen and we respond like you don't, you know, you don't just show up, you know, and so I think it's important.

[00:36:31] Teena: Can you still hear me? Yeah. Okay. Um, one of my AirPods went there. Um, so, but it's also changing that culture. Um, and I think that takes so much time. I, I read a quote the other day that said the more job is steeped in tradition, the harder it is to evolve it. And, you know, law enforcement, first responder, military we're so steeped in tradition that it's really hard to change those traditions sometimes, but it just takes time.

[00:37:02] Jerry: Yeah, time and persistence, right? You have to be persistent about the, the changes you want because you're gonna run into resistance. 

[00:37:10] Teena: That and, and picking like what is the most important, you know, I, I used to be really, really bad at just, everything was a battle, right? I was, um, my personality is like the rule breaker.

[00:37:22] Teena: I'm not a rule follower, and so it's like, Let's change it. This is dumb, you know, in every battle, everything with a battle. And I, as I moved up the ranks, I had to realize that I had to pick those battles. Because what was happening was they just stopped listing, well, it's just Tina. She's gonna fight everything.

[00:37:41] Teena: Yeah. Um, and so I had to realize that, nope, I'm not gonna fight that. Like, I don't like it, but it's not the most important fight I need to be fighting right now. And so, picking the battles that I'm wanting to kinda. Plant my flag before it was something I had to learn the hard way. 

[00:38:00] Jerry: I think that's really a good advice for people, right?

[00:38:02] Jerry: You, you, I think, um, some of us by nature right, want to be like you, right? And fight all those things. They're like, that are we see as maybe wrong or whatever. But yeah, I think you're also right about that. That also is detrimental to, to you when you really wanna fight something that is very passionate, you're very passionate about.

[00:38:22] Teena: Yes. Yes. Like I said, I learned that the hard way. I lost a lot of battles cause of that, or a lot of things that I wanted to change because of that. Um, and I think that also comes with just, you know, maturing and growing up. And I think sometimes when we are looking at, you know, micro and we can't see the macro, um, being able, cause you know, officers that are on the frontline level, I mean, they only see what they see.

[00:38:51] Teena: They don't. They don't have enough information to see it from a ma ma macro level, which is, it's fine, they shouldn't be. Um, but I think the higher up in rank you go, the more you hopefully, um, are evolving and being able to see kind of both perspectives. Um, and so, yeah. 

[00:39:11] Jerry: Yeah. So I want to touch on one last thing before I let you go.

[00:39:16] Jerry: And that was your part of a peer support team for the entire state. That's pretty impressive to have that kind of a network. 

[00:39:25] Teena: It is. Um, it, the peer team in South Carolina actually started in 1999. Um, but there are still, it's still evolving and it's still growing and it's still reaching officers who have been officers from for years and the state and I'll run across one and they're like, I didn't know that was the thing.

[00:39:43] Teena: It's like, I'm like, it's been a thing for a long time. Um, but it's also. It's so interesting because, you know, we, we are in our bubble and, you know, if a department, there's departments recently that I've gone to for debriefing, so, and they've never had a debriefing in their whole like, history of their department and yeah, I know they've had critical incidences, but this idea that.

[00:40:09] Teena: I don't know what that is, so I'm not gonna do it. I don't like it. Uh, you know, um, but also the chief, for example, you know, grew up in law enforcement a long time ago and we didn't talk about our feelings, you know, so he's like, yeah, why do they need that? Um, and it's really one of the last debriefings I did was a chief called another chief and said, you need.

[00:40:31] Teena: To have a debriefing. And the chief was like, what? And he's like, you need to, to call fled and get this debriefing. And it's a free service. And we fled. It's through our state law enforcement division, but the peers are from all different departments, all different critical incidents. We go through training, critical incidents, stress management training, um, to be on the peer team.

[00:40:51] Teena: And then, um, so if a critical incident happens, the department has to request the peer team. We can't just self. Dispatch and they're like, Hey, we're here. Um, even though sometimes we wanna Right. Um, And the, the, the team is made up of peers, so law enforcement, but also first responders, dispatchers, corrections.

[00:41:10] Teena: And then, um, now recently we're also bringing on, uh, the coroner's office. We realized they really didn't have Oh, yeah. Um, any support either. And then there's also chaplains and then there's mental health professionals. So we have that, that is the team. Um, and debriefings usually happen a couple days after a critical incident unless there's a funeral.

[00:41:31] Teena: If it's a officer involved funeral especially, we wait till after the funeral. Um, and they last anywhere from two to four to five hours. Um, and really what we've noticed is one cops don't wanna talk. To anybody other than other cops. Mm-hmm. Um, but cops aren't therapists like we've already said. So, um, having the therapist in the room is important.

[00:41:53] Teena: Um, but there's a method and we kinda, you know, during critical incidents, you know, your brain is not storing memories. And so what happens is it's like there's things that are missing from our recalls. And what happens is that bothers us more than anything. Cause we think. Like, why didn't I do something?

[00:42:11] Teena: Or why didn't I see that? Or, yeah, why, you know, what, what happened? Um, and so us, you know, we're all control freaks, so the idea that I can't. Don't know what happened, really will mess with a lot of cops. And so really we just bring everybody into a room. They put together the puzzle. Um, everyone remembers something that someone else probably didn't, and then they usually leave in there much better.

[00:42:34] Teena: Like, they're just like, they just wanted to talk about it. They, they were missing a piece and they got that piece. Um, and then, but if that's not enough, then we have something called pss, which is post-critical incident seminar. Which is a three day seminar, um, that was done like four times a year. Um, and spouses significant, others are also invited to this and they're broken up into smaller groups.

[00:42:56] Teena: There's a lot of trainings and then there's also emdr, um, performed by mental health, uh, professionals there. And that helps a lot of them too. So we talk about what EMDR is and um, how it takes. Traumatic events and that doesn't know where to go and it files 'em where it needs to go. So it's a little bit less traumatic for them.

[00:43:15] Teena: Yeah. Um, and I've seen marriages be saved in that I've also seen people's lives be saved. Um, and they leave and they're just like, I thought was alone, even though we all know that not, but it's like going to Walmart. Yeah. Like there's somebody wants and then they leave there like, I'm not that bad. Um, and so, um, so that's really cool to see that.

[00:43:39] Teena: And then they also get to know the, the mental health professionals on a, a level that's not just like, let me go see them. Um, they trust them and the mental health professionals that are on the team will not do a fit for duty evaluation. They refuse because their thought is, if. The officer knows we're doing fit for duty, they're not gonna trust us that we're not evaluating them.

[00:44:00] Teena: Yeah. Um, and they're like, we're just here to help them heal. Yeah. Let their brain get better. Um, and it's been one of the most rewarding things. And actually since I've retired, it was really interesting. And I retired in June, um, and I've been on the peer team for a long time, but I used to never get just like random phone calls.

[00:44:17] Teena: And there's an app that has all of our like cell phone numbers on it. Mm-hmm. But since I'm retired, I'm getting a lot more Perfectly fine. Yeah. But it's just, I think it's because they're like, well, she's not affiliated within these certain departments so they don't feel like this weird pressure. Um, and so yeah, it's, but that's good.

[00:44:33] Teena: I'm glad they're calling cuz that means they're, 

[00:44:36] Jerry: Reaching out, so, yeah. Yeah. And that, and I think you're probably just, you're right, right? There's a different level of comfortability with you not being associated with, with anybody, but you still have a lot of valuable knowledge and experience that you can share with them.

[00:44:54] Jerry: I love it. Yeah, that's awesome. I mean, you're feeling a lot of great roles that are, that are needed. I mean, that's awesome. Tina, where can people follow you and find you? Because I know there's gonna be people that wanna attend these classes that you're putting 

[00:45:07] Teena: on. Oh, thanks. Um, so, um, the, A company is called for tactical.

[00:45:11] Teena: Um, Instagram is the same, um, on LinkedIn. Tina Gooding, it's spelled with two E. So little different people I know. Um, and, uh, but, and all our stuff's on our website, but obviously anybody can, you know, DM me too on Instagram or something. I'm, I don't have enough followers. I'm not famous enough yet to not answer those.

[00:45:33] Teena: Um, but, uh, and any, you know, any questions about, I, I get a lot of questions about like FEMA officers and, you know, um, Any questions about that or policies even that come with women in law enforcement, um, when it comes to, you know, pregnancy policies or, um, like how, how can we get more women in supervision roles?

[00:45:53] Teena: I get a lot of those questions too. So any, any way I can help, I'm willing to 

[00:45:57] Jerry: Yeah, that, I mean, you didn't say you're a consulting business, but it sounds like you are 

[00:46:03] Teena: usually But I'm the worst business woman, so that's the problem. It's like, you know, like how much. Sure you make it. I don't, nothing. I worse this person ever, but, 

[00:46:14] Jerry: oh, that's awesome.

[00:46:16] Jerry: Thank you so much, Tina, for being on, I really appreciate, um, all that you're doing out there in the communities of, you know, and keeping people safe. Right. Training them to be safe and I think just as important, if not maybe more important, the mental health aspect. 

[00:46:33] Teena: Thank you, and thank you for doing what you're doing.

[00:46:34] Teena: Your podcast were awesome. 

[00:46:36] Jerry: Oh, thank you. I appreciate it. 

[00:46:38] Jerry: Thanks again for listening. Don't forget to rate and review the show wherever you access your podcast. If you know someone that would be great on the show, please get ahold of our host, Jerry Dean Lund through the Instagram handles at Jerry Fire and Fuel or at Enduring The Badge Podcast also by visiting the show's website enduringthebadgepodcast.com for additional methods of contact and up to date information regarding the show. 

[00:47:13] Jerry: Remember, The views and opinions expressed during the show solely represent those of our host and the current episodes guest.