Patrick Fitzgibbons is a National Liaison for FHE Health and their Shatterproof Program for First Responders – Helping first responders everywhere get the help and support they need and deserve. A retired Police Commander from Colorado with over two decades of experience in various capacities, he is also a military veteran serving with the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg, NC. Patrick holds advanced degrees in Organizational Development and Leadership. Patrick is a part-time college professor and enjoys mentoring and coaching the next generation of criminal justice professionals. Patrick is an avid supporter of first responders and The US Military. Patrick is also a sought-after speaker and coach to criminal justice organizations and personnel. Patrick enjoys spending time with his family and friends, taking care of his body and mind, and of course, being the host and creator of the Criminal Justice Evolution podcast.
The criminal justice system has become more accountable over the last two decades, and mental health awareness has also increased. However, there is still a lot of work to be done in terms of reform and addressing mental health issues. Transcript: "What a great question. How has it the CJ system evolved over the last two decades? I think we're a lot more accountable. I know some people will probably disagree with that but law enforcement and First Responders are much more accountable than when I first started which is a good thing. First Responders and criminal justice professionals need to be accountable for their actions and I'd like to believe and maybe I'm just naive that most who work in the criminal justice. Justice field and First Responders are good. People just trying to do a very difficult job in a very difficult environment. But we need a lot of work and we're getting there. We still have a lot of work to do when it comes to reform and making the changes we need to make. And I also think mental health, awareness and action behind that has evolved over the last two decades. And we still have a lot of work to do in that realm too. So I hope you have a great day. Thank you for the"
I grew up in a military family and followed that route, which instilled discipline and physical fitness. After my military service ended, I pursued a career in law enforcement, which is a common path for first responders. Transcript: "My path to becoming a first responder was, I grew up in a military family, so I had that strong Foundation. My dad was in the military for many years, but I also have First Responders in my family. There a lot of them were Chicago police officers. So my pathway was the military. It was kind of a natural progression for me. Coming from a military family, even though some don't go that route, I went that route and as soon as my military time was over, I knew I wanted to serve continue to Serve in a law enforcement capacity so that was my route. The military, instill discipline, you know, being disciplined, physically fit mentally fit into the daily life of being into a being in the military, so that carried on into my law enforcement career. But I think you'll see that a lot in First Responders, a lot of them start out in the military and then get into law enforcement. So, great question. I hope you are having a great day."
You have to make time for yourself every day in order to practice self care. Put yourself first and make sure you are taking the time to take care of yourself so that you can be 100% for everyone else. Transcript: "You know, this is another great question and when it comes to incorporating self-care into your personal professional life, you have to do that. There's no if ands or but you have to put yourself first. Now I'm not talking about being a narcissist or ignoring friends and family in your life, but if you're not taking care of yourself first and you're not practicing that self-care. How are you going to be 100% for everybody else? So you make time for you everyday, if it's 5, 10 minutes, doesn't matter some time for you your alone, time in your private space, whatever, but you have to do that first, you know, we've all heard of that old analogy where the action in Mass falls on the plane. And who are you going to put it on first, you're going to put it on you because you need to take care of yourself and you need to make time to do that every day. Have a great day."
The best way to move forward from mistakes is to quit living in the past. Your mistakes don't define you, and it's important to remember that the future is yours for the taking if you want it to be. Letting go of the past is the hardest part, but doing so can lead to a brighter future. Transcript: "You know, how can you let mistakes go in order to move forward? I would say the simplest answer is quit living in the past. You know, I tell people all the time, we all have a past, we all make mistakes, but the mistakes are in the past and your mistakes you have made in your life, doesn't Define who you are right now. I think that's the problem with a lot of people and I've made many mistakes personally professionally throughout my life but I try not to let my past. Just dictate my future and I think that's a lot of times. That's the problem with a lot of people is they say oif top. I made this mistake Financial mistake, whatever personal mistake professional mistake. And that's who I am. That is not who you are. Your mistakes, do not dictate who you are right now. The problem with a lot of people is they let the mistakes that they've made overcome their life, they live in the past, the past is the past. Really today. This moment is all you have. That's it. Tomorrow's not guaranteed. So I don't let my mistakes dictate who I am right now. Hopefully, I don't make the same mistakes but I don't let my mistakes dictate where I'm going right now. And who I am the past is in the past, but the hard thing is letting the past go and realizing that you have a bright future because you do, if you want it to and you let it"
One of the most rewarding aspects of what I do is connecting with people and having meaningful interactions. This is something technology will never be able to replace and it is something that I am very blessed to experience. Transcript: "I think one of the most rewarding aspect for me with, you know, being a speech or in a speaker, a coach and an author and having the experience I do is connecting with people, you know, covid-19, fficult time for everybody, you know, because we were doing all things virtual, but I love being in an audience, I love talking to people and talking with people, not just talking at them and interacting with them because we are all craving that human connection. The something that technology will never Take the place of. So yeah that's probably the most rewarding aspect of what I do now as well as my primary job and that's helping First Responders is the physical, the human interaction and getting to know people and hearing their stories. That for me has probably been one of the most rewarding aspects of what I do and I am blessed at what I do. So I hope you have a great day and above all be safe."
Before venturing into a career as a First Responder, you need to consider the mental toll it will take on you. It can be rewarding, but it is important to take care of yourself and do research before joining a department. Transcript: "You know, this is a great question. There's so many different things that you probably should consider before you venture into the first responder field. First of all, if you are, I commend you, it's a very rewarding profession. Now, when we talk about First Responders, I'm not just talking about cops, I'm talking about Fire, EMS, Corrections dispatchers? All those Encompass the first responder field, so thank you if you're considering it but the first thing I would say that You need to consider is the mental toll. It's going to take on you. I always tell people, you know, that are looking at getting into the first-responder field that it will affect you. We can only see so much as humans in the trauma and sorrow and suffering that you're going to see is a lot. So consider the toll, it's probably going to take on your mental health because it will affect you. Now, having said that, like, I said it's a very rewarding career but you have to take care of yourself in the process. So that's probably the best advice. I would give somebody venturing into the first responder career Fields, just take care of yourself. Take care of your mental health, have Outlets do your research, go on ride-alongs, that departments before you join them. So I hope this was helpful and I hope you have a great day."