The following post contains an audio interview between former Madison police officer and Buddhist dharma teacher Cheri Maples who teaches in the tradition of Ticht Nhat Hahn and Krista Tippet on her radio show, “On Being.”
Cheri talks about the suffering and grief of being a police officer and likens it to that suffered by returning soldiers from Vietnam. What is the collective accumulation of stress, trauma and violence in the lives of police?
After my retirement and seminary, I did a year-long residency in Clinical Pastoral Education which involved action-reflection in dealing with death and dying. It uncovered a lot of grief in me that I had held in during my 33 year career. One of my supervisors remarked that my process involved slowly removing the shield that I wore over my heart during that time in my life. He was right.
I was privileged to have Cheri as my assistant during the last decade of my police career.