In dealing with police trauma, mindfulness – the practice of “maintaining an awareness at every moment of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and the environment, through a soft and nurturing lens,” according to the UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Magazine – was the special attention of former Napa Acting Police Chief Sylvia Moir during her NDP stint earlier this year.
Richard Goerling, founder of the Mindful Badge Initiative, said Moir told him she wanted a pilot group of around 30 Napa officers to learn mindfulness skills. In June, the organization hosted two in-person trainings with NPD, followed by weekly Zoom sessions.
Goerling, a retired police lieutenant and United States Coast Guard veteran, said he founded the Mindful Badge to provide training for public safety professionals in the growth mindset and trauma skills. His training gives officers the tools to “combat burnout, cynicism and dualistic thinking that often appears as a coping mechanism”.
Moir knew Goerling before coming to Napa, according to a TEDx talk she gave in 2019, titled “The Potential of a Conscious Policing.” In the interview, Moir details a call she answered that involved a man who committed suicide. Moir and the other officers present acted with humanity and professionalism, she said, and even comforted the man’s wife. But then she got back to work.
“The sadness and grip of the trauma was stuck on me, and it was in me,” Moir said. “But I went to that call because I knew how I was trained: I was trained to aspire and keep going. I went to the next call, and to the next call, and to the next call. And I came home with this sadness and this stickiness of this trauma. “