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Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) and Employee Wellness

The Glendale Police Department is committed to taking care of our law enforcement family members. We offer a variety of resources for our employees and their families. Health and wellness is of the utmost importance especially in a challenging environment while performing a strenuous job with high demands both mentally and physically.

This website is designed to assist employees and their family members. It provides resource information, helpful articles and books, and may even offer comfort in knowing that what you may be feeling isn’t abnormal. Everyone’s experiences, although different, can impact our mental and physical health. Visit this site often as we will continue to give you the latest news and information on how to help you and your family.

Click the links below to jump to the following sections:


On Call CISM: 480-788-CISM (2476)

Glendale’s Police Psychologist:
Crisis Preparation & Recovery
2120 S. McClintock Dr., #105
Tempe, AZ 85282
Phone: 480-804-0326
Fax: 480-804-0083

10799 N 90th St. #100
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Phone: 480-804-0326
Fax: 480-804-0083

CISM and Wellness Coordinators:
Melissa Brickhouse-Thomas
Phone: 623-930-3724

Lt. Jay O'Neil
Phone: 623-930-3189


Glendale Police Chaplains

City of Glendale Employee Assistance Program:
EAP Preferred
602-264-4600 or 800-327-3517

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Employee Wellness

The Employee Wellness Team

The Glendale Police Department’s Employee Wellness Team is an objective and non-judgmental resource from which Police employees may voluntarily request support and assistance in working through personal and occupations stressors.

The Employee Wellness Team is designed to compliment the services provided by the Department Psychologist and other mental health resources. Employee Wellness provides a way for employees to “talk out” problems and get access to resources.

Employee Wellness Team members, also called "Wellness Navigators" are trained to use active listening skills, help clarify issues and explore options, support the person through their problem solving process, and refer to mental health professionals as appropriate. Services are available to assist with:

• Workplace struggles and burnout
• Parenting issues
• Separation or divorce
• Depression and anxiety
• Anger Management
• Feelings of suicide
• Health concerns
• Financial issues
• Family problems
• Alcohol and drug abuse

The Employee Wellness Team does not replace professional mental health services available to police personnel. All employees have access to services through the contracted Police Psychologist free of charge. No supervisory approval is necessary and their services can be accessed by calling them directly to discuss your concerns. The services are completely confidential.

For more information on the Employee Wellness Team; assistance with a personal crisis, health issue, or occupational stress, and if you just need resource and referrals to assist an employee in need, please contact:

CISM and Wellness Coordinators:
Melissa Brickhouse-Thomas
Phone: 623-930-3724

Lt. Jay O'Neil
Phone: 623-930-3189


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The purpose of the CISM Team is to assist employees process traumatic events and experiences arising out of their employment. Team members have specialized training from the ICISF in the specific skills needed to conduct Critical Incident Stress Defusings and Debriefings.

When a traumatic event occurs, the CISM Team can respond to support employees one-on-one and then conduct a defusing as employees secure from duty. A defusing is simply a short meeting to compare notes on what happened, share some thoughts, and provide resource information. Later, the Team may conduct debriefings. The goal of a debriefing is to help those involved process their thoughts and feelings more completely, while creating opportunity for coworkers to describe what they experienced.

Employees who discuss their reactions often help others rebound from the event more quickly, but no one is every required to speak if they do not want to. The decision to have, or not have, a debriefing is based on the impact the event seems to be having on participants and not the nature of the event itself. Not every traumatic event requires a debriefing.

CISM and Employee Assistance Coordinators:
Melissa Brickhouse-Thomas
Phone: 623-930-3724

Lt. Jay O’Neill

On Call 24/7 CISM: 480-788-CISM (2476)

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How can I help?

You do not have to be a Employee Wellness Volunteer or a CISM Team member to help. A major illness or injury impacts the basic issues of life, placing unique pressures on individuals and families.

Simply getting the grass mowed or the dog fed can be a challenge to someone who is hospitalized or temporarily disabled. All of us have something we can do to make a difference in a coworker’s life when a tragedy occurs. The Employee Assistance & Support Coordinator works to coordinate logistical support when the unexpected happens.

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Helpful Links

Crisis Preparation & Recovery, Inc., 480-804-0326 - This helpful site is devoted to alternative treatments, mental health statistics, self-help, and patients' rights.
Bullet Proof Law Enforcement Crisis Support Line: 602-433-COPS (2677)

We recommend this guide to law enforcement personnel or family members to help in a difficult time.

Topics included are:

  • How to deal with anger, and other intense emotions
  • How to find the right professional help
  • How to help your children cope with separation and divorce
  • Rebuilding and staying focused
  • Co-parenting and custody issues
  • Ways to re-enter the world of dating and new relationships
  • How to build a relationship that will last
  • Being a parent in a post-divorce world
  • Getting back on your feet financially
  • Step-parenting tips

(It is the policy of the Glendale Police Department not to endorse any website or its content, but the following are offered for your consideration.)

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Good Books

Recommended Reading

I Love A Cop: What Police Families Need To Know (Revised Edition). Ellen Kirschman, Guilford Press, 2006. Find this book on

In Harm's Way: Help for the Wives of Military Men, Police, EMTs, & Firefighters. Aphrodite Matsakis, PhD., New Harbinger Publications, 2005. Find this book on

Cops Don't Cry: A Book of Help and Hope for Police Families. Vali Stone, Creative Bound, 2007. Find this book on

Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement: A Guide for Officers and Their Families. Kevin Gilmartin, PhD., E-S Press, 2002. Find this book on

Courage After Fire. Keith Armstrong, L.C.S.W., Suzanne Best, Ph.D., & Paula Domenici, Ph.D., Ulysses Press, 2006. Find this book on

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TIPS FOR TIME MANAGEMENT  by Dr. Susan Saxe-Clifford
Better time management helps reduce stress and enriches your work and personal life.

  1. Do not underestimate how much time is needed for various tasks.  Be realistic.
  2. Practice saying the word "NO" when possible to additional responsibilities that infringe on personal, leisure or work time.
  3. Set priorities on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
  4. Be aware of your peak energy periods and plan to do the activities with the highest energy demand at that time.
  5. Review the best use of your time on a regular basis.
  6. Complete tasks well enough to get the results that you really need.  Perfection is not always necessary.
  7. Delegate tasks and responsibilities to others whenever appropriate.  Just be sure to communicate your expectations clearly.
  8. Make decisions and move on.  Usually rethinking a decision leads to the same result and wastes time.
  9. Break big overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks then get started.
  10. Use "waiting" time by having small tasks or activities on hand.  Also be prepared to take advantage of potential relaxation time when unexpected time becomes available.
  11. Take responsibility whenever possible for creating a conducive work environment at home and at the office.
  12. Set goals and reward yourself when you have accomplished each goal.  If you are working towards a big goal you may want to build in rewards at certain milestones of effort and accomplishment as a reinforcer.
  13. Good time management means more than completing "necessary" tasks.  It means building time for leisure activities and exercise.

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Most people focus on saving as much money as possible before they retire, assuming that more money leads to increased happiness. And while studies show it is true that income and wealth do increase retirement satisfaction, they do so less than you might think. "Dollars are nice, but they don't have a large marginal impact," says Keith Bender, associate professor of economics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He found that a $10,000 increase in pension income per year increases the probability that people are very satisfied with their retirement by only 1 percentage point.

Retirees with defined-benefit plans, like company pensions, or those with both defined-benefit plans and defined-contribution plans, like 401(k)'s, are generally happier than those with only defined-contribution plans.

But here are some other things that will help make your retirement a happy one:

TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTH. Your physical well-being is the single most important factor in retirement happiness. Quite simply, the better your health is, the happier you are. If you or a relative is sick, every other concern takes a back seat. Conversely, better health allows for more fulfilling participation in all the activities that make you happy. Eating healthful foods, exercising regularly, and getting routine checkups throughout your life will increase your well-being during retirement.

John Trojanowski, a physician and Ph.D. who directs the Institute on Aging at the University of Pennsylvania, recommends exercising mentally and physically, socializing with friends and family, maintaining a low cholesterol level and low blood pressure, and eating a heart-healthy diet rich in antioxidants.

PICK YOUR RETIREMENT DATE. People who choose when they retire rather than being forced to quit because of illness or a layoff enter retirement much happier, and the effects continue for many years. Employees forced to retire are significantly less happy. This gap persists for up to 10 years after retirement, Bender's research shows.

However, if you are laid off, you can regain control of your happiness. "Don't sit at home and mope," advises Bender. "Go back out and get a job. There's something about the nature of work that can increase your enjoyment in retirement." Being productive can help re-establish your autonomy and again let you set your own retirement date.

PLAN WELL AHEAD. The time to be thinking about retirement is well before the date arrives. "So key to post-retirement happiness is to plan earlier in one's life cycle," says Debra Dwyer, assistant professor of economics at SUNY-Stony Brook. "Even if you don't have a lot, you can plan your preferences and needs and invest the resources you have efficiently." Figure out what you might like to do when you retire and where you might want to live. Try different hobbies and learn about other types of work. Retirees who work part time or volunteer report feeling happier. Also, if you are married, research shows that you will probably be happier if you and your spouse retire at about the same time.

You may not have total control over when or how you retire. But with planning, you will be better prepared when the time comes. And that is likely to mean a happier retirement.

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Make you a priority.  Take time to relax, exercise, eat well, spend time with people you enjoy and participate in activities which you find pleasurable. 

Choose to find the positives in life experiences instead of focusing on the negatives.  Even difficult or unpleasant experiences offer opportunities for personal understanding and growth. 

Let go of the past.  If you can’t change it and you have no control over it then let it go.  Don’t waste your energy on things that cannot benefit you or anyone else. 

Be respectful and responsible.  Do what you know is right.  Don’t get caught up in blaming others for problems. 

Acknowledge and take credit for your successes and accomplishments.  Avoid false modesty. 

Take the time to develop one or two close relationships with people from work and people not from work.  In a close relationship you can be honest about your thoughts and feelings. 

Talk positively to yourself (not out loud).  We talk to ourselves all day long.  If we are saying negative and fearful things then that is the way we feel. 

Remove yourself from hurtful or damaging situations whenever possible.  Temporarily walk away from a situation that is getting out of control.  Give yourself some space and problem solve a positive approach to dealing with it. 

Accept that life is about choices.  You will always have change and new decisions to make. 

Have a plan for the future.  Develop long range goals for yourself and revise your plan periodically, then, work towards your goals one day at a time.

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  1. Anger is a common emotion.
  2. Anger needs to be expressed for healthy adjustment.

Understanding Your Experience of Anger

  1. Were you socialized to believe that anger is wrong?
  2. Did you know that anger is associated with anxiety?
  3. At times anger is used to control and intimidate others.
  4. Fear of anger is normal.
    a) Fear of your own anger.
    b) Fear of the anger of others.
  5. Anger is a normal reaction to certain stimuli.
  6. Do you believe that you are unable to control anger?
  7. There are physiological responses with anger (survival emotion).
  8. Pretending that you don't get angry can make you sick.
  9. Blocked and unexpressed anger does not go away.
  10. When not expressed assertively and appropriately, anger tends to pop up at inappropriate times and in destructive ways, such as resentment and hostility.

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Is it better to tell my spouse about my workday or spare the details of the negative things I see? Should I protect my spouse and keep him/her from worrying about me?

Each relationship is different and law enforcement families handle this issue in many ways. The important thing is to discuss the issues openly and decide together how much is best shared. In any approach, it is important for both the officer and the spouse to have the ability to talk about how they feel and to ask for and receive support when needed.

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