-Meet Our Badge of Life Staff
The Badge of Life green ribbon represents hope
and the renewal of life. “BOL” stands for
“Be on the Lookout.”
The Badge of Life Police Mental Health organization: All our services and instructional materials are free. The Badge of Life mission is to increase awareness of police stress, trauma and suicide issues and reduce them by providing training and educational programs that enhance the emotional well-being of police officers in the United States and Canada. We promote programs to protect and assist survivors of law enforcement suicide and honor all officers who have given their lives in the line of duty. BOL honors and supports the forgotten police retirees who carry the burden of emotional scars of their careers.
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
Ron Clark, RN, MS is a military veteran and a retired sergeant from the Connecticut State Police (CSP) with 23 years of law enforcement service. He was the first certified CSP Peer Helper and Instructor, commander of the EAP/Medical unit and was a member of the tactical team as an Advanced Life Support Medic. He was also the Senior Flight Nurse for the Med-Evac unit and coordinated the Surgeons and Chaplain's program. He helped establish the first Critical Incident Stress Debriefing Team in Connecticut and served as its President. Clark holds a Master of Science degree in Counseling Education and has been a Registered Nurse since 1969. He served 12 years as the Chairperson of the Middlebury, CT, Police Commission. Clark is on the Board of Directors for the Connecticut Alliance to Benefit Law Enforcement (CABLE),a non-profit research and education collaborative dedicated to the health and well-being of law enforcement officers and the communities they serve.
DEPUTY CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
Richard L. Levenson, Jr., Psy.D., C.T.S., F.A.A.E.T.S., is a New York State Licensed Psychologist and has been in private clinical practice since 1990, specializing in anxiety and depressive disorders, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and the effects of medical/physical conditions on psychological health and well-being.
Dr. Levenson has worked with police and law enforcement officers (local, state, and federal) and their families for many years conducting individual, family, and group psychotherapy and psychological testing. Dr. Levenson has been recognized as an expert in the amelioration of police stress and has published on the topic. He has written over three dozen articles and numerous book reviews. After serving a five-year term as Editor, Dr. Levenson is currently Associate Editor of the International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, a peer-reviewed, scholarly publication, and has helped bring research on police stress from traumatic incidents to the international psychological and police communities. Dr. Levenson’s credentials include certification as a Traumatic Stress Specialist from the Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists; certification as a Traumatologist by the Green Cross Foundation; and he is a Fellow of the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress. From September 11, 2001, to November, 2002, Dr. Levenson was on-site at Ground Zero of the World Trade Center participating in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) group and individual debriefings of NYPD members of service as well as “debriefings for the debriefers.” For these efforts, Dr. Levenson was awarded Certificates of Merit from the NYPD Detectives’ Endowment Association and the National Fraternal Order of Police, Critical Incident Committee.
Dr. Levenson is currently a consulting Department Police Surgeon for the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office in Kingston, NY. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the 9/11 Police Aid Foundation, a not-for-profit organization. The Foundation was incorporated to provide charitable relief to any member, (retired or active), of any Police Department that has become ill or disabled in any way due to the effects of the terrorist attacks against this country on 9/11/01. The Foundation also provides aid and support to surviving family members of any officer that should succumb to such an illness or injury.
Medical Advisor: Janak K. Mehtani, M.D., helped found Badge of Life and is a a psychiatrist who has worked extensively with police officers for many years, dealing with some of the most severe cases imaginable. His compassion and insight have changed the lives of many deeply traumatized emergency workers. His inspired leadership and forward thinking have been an inspiration and made him an invaluable asset in planning improvements to long-outdated programs.
Catherine Leon, Advisor, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), also a Badge of Life founder, was instrumental in developing the key concepts of the “Mental Health Prescription” and the lifesaving potential of officers visiting a mental health specialist at least once a year ("mental health checks"). Her experience working with emergency responders dealing with posttraumatic stress disorder and police trauma have made her an invaluable leader in this program. Her presentations are highly effective , answering the key questions officers have about "that first visit," what to expect, and how to find an select a good therapist. Catherine can be reached at (916) 220-6497 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard (Dick) Augusta, Board Member. Dick's career with the California Highway Patrol was cut short in his twelfth year when, on a night traffic stop, a felon got the drop on him and gunned him down. Dick recovered from his near-fatal wounds but, when he tried to return to the road, he was haunted by the post traumatic stress that made him hypersensitive on traffic stops and fearful he would harm an innocent person.
To this day, Dick has trouble sleeping because of the incident. His story can be found in Randy Sutton's, “True Blue, Police Stories by Those Who Have Lived Them.” His story was also a feature in the October, 2008 issue of PORAC Magazine. Dick has attended the FBI Academy Critical Incident Peer Support Training and participated in their team formation program. An advanced peer support officer, Dick has worked with traumatized officers at the West Coast Posttrauma Retreat.
CONSULTANT: John M. Violanti, Ph.D. is a 23-year veteran of the NY State Police and has spent 20 years researching police trauma and suicide. He is a research professor in the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health and Health Professions at SUNY Buffalo, and a member of the State University of NY at Buffalo School of Medicine graduate facility.
Dr. Violanti has been involved in the design, implementation and analysis of numerous police related stress and health studies. Projects have included studies on police mortality, police stress and trauma, and suicide. Dr. Violanti has authored over 45 peer-reviewed articles and has written and edited nine books on police stress, psychological trauma and suicide.
Dr. Violanti has lectured at the FBI Academy as well as numerous institutions nationally and internationally. His role as Consultant to the Badge of Life Program does not in any way imply an endorsement of other programs or literature mentioned on this website.
Elizabeth Willman MS, LICDC, PC-CR, SAP, Member: is a Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor (LICDC) and a Professional Counselor Clinical Resident (PC-CR) in the State of Ohio. She is also and a Licensed Clinical Substance Abuse Counselor (CSAC) in the State of Wisconsin. Miss Willman most recently earned her Department of Transportation Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) qualification in May of 2012. She has a specialization in the area of law enforcement, first responders, and military psychology. She has training in trauma, addictions, mental health, wellness, education and prevention. In Ms. Willman has completed studies in Police Couples research with Dr. Robin Inwald of Cleverdale New York. She has been published in the Handbook of Police Psychology as well as the Journal of Law Enforcement. She has worked with law enforcement agencies with officer involved shootings, research and peer support for the past five years. She is an associate member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association, and the American Psychological Association Division 18.
Garth R. Baker is a 20-year police veteran who retired from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in 2010. On August 12, 2002 Garth responded to a call to assist a squad mate in a situation where shots were being fired at citizens. Upon arriving, Garth’s squad mate had made contact with the suspect, which led to an armed confrontation resulting in injury to both officers. Garth received the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Purple Heart, Local Hero Award and American Police Hall of Fame Law Enforcement Purple Heart Award. Unbeknownst to Garth, at the time of his employment he was suffering from the effects of PTSD. It wasn’t until retirement that he became aware of his symptoms. Through treatment and his awareness of PTSD, he discovered that any critical incident can leave an officer fighting a demon within.
Garth’s service to his community as a law enforcement officer has now transitioned to being an advocate for current law enforcement members. Living with PTSD firsthand has made Garth a proponent of providing sufficient resources to proactively protect the wellbeing of law enforcement members in the workforce today.
Mark R. DiBona, Member, is currently a Patrol Sergeant with the Seminole County Sheriff's Office in Sanford Florida. Mark began his Law Enforcement career in 1985 with the Braintree Police Department in Massachusetts and the Amtrak Police Department, prior to moving to Florida. From a result of Police stress, Mark battled with suicidal ideation and nearly took his own life. Through treatment and the support and assistance of his wife, he was able to overcome these issues. Mark is a Police Academy Instructor, he speaks about Police stress to Police Academy students by telling them his story and the importance of Mental Health in Law Enforcement, utilizing Badge of Life programs. Also, Mark speaks to others about Police Mental Health. Mark is a member of the Seminole County Sheriff's Office Critical Stress Management Team and the Peer Support Unit. Mark is also a member of MADD and Concerns of Police Survivors. Mark has lost two Law Enforcement friends to suicide. Mark’s goal is to assist any Law Enforcement Officer or any member of a Public Safety agency, who are going through the issues that he dealt with.
DEBORAH ORTIZ, advisor, is the wife of a state trooper who, after a 22 year career, began experiencing the horrors and nightmares of PTSD. Her experience, both as the spouse of a police officer and the one who went through these struggles with her husband, inspired her to take her broad experience as a television and stage performer, writer and producer and apply it to a documentary on the emotional struggles and needs of law enforcement officers and their families. The trailer, "Code 9, Officer Needs Assistance," has received national acclaim and drawn tremendous support for the project. Dangerous Curves Productions, begun by Deborah Ortiz and Lisa Edwards, is now working on the filming and editing of the final documentary.
Badge of Life is proud to be one of the many supporters of this project. Not only will the film document the problems faced by officers, it will offer answers and--most importantly--exciting new remedies by which officers can avoid emotional disaster.
LISA EDWARDS', advisor, broad experience as an actor, director and producer, as well as her knowledge and understanding of law enforcement, make her a dynamic combination with Deborah Ortiz in the development of the "Code 9, Officer Needs Assistance" documentary. With a BA in theater arts from Whittier College, Lisa has continued her career in New York City, co-producing and starring in the off-Broadway production of "Love in New York..How do you Know?"
Filming for the Code 9 documentary has taken the two producers of Dangerous Curves Productions and their film crew from state to state across the nation, interviewing officers, law enforcement leaders and mental health professionals.
WALT NARR, and LEONA NARR, Board Members: Pollock Pines, CA. Walt is a retired Captain from the Davis Police Department in California. Prior to Davis, he was an NYPD officer and a deputy for the Yolo County Sheriff's Department. He and Leona have been married 44 years. Walt describes their work today as an effort on behalf of "every officer that has died, been injured, or even had bad dreams because of this thankless job." Walt volunteers with the El Dorado County Sheriff's Department's "Sheriff's Team of Active Retirees" (STAR) and is a leader in the Neighborhood Watch programs. His public speaking skills on behalf of Badge of Life are of tremendous value. Leona has been a mental health counselor in Davis at the Yolo Community Care Continuum, as well as a volunteer for Suicide Prevention in Davis working the crisis line. Her father committed suicide when she was 10. After having breast cancer at age 40, Leona became a long-time volunteer for The American Cancer Society. She helped found a Reach for Life Program in Davis, working as a volunteer many years. The Narr’s son, Paul Narr, a Davis Police Officer, committed suicide on Aug 10, 2008 at the age of 42, leaving a wife, 2 yr. old son, 5 yr. old daughter, sister and an identical twin brother.
Jerry Fleming, Board Member, of Stony Point, New York, is a USMC veteran of Vietnam who served 20 years with the Clarkstown, NY, Police Department. Following that, he worked another ten years with the Sheriffs prisoner transport unit. In addition to grisly murder scenes, Jerry's exposures to suicides were particularly truamatic: out of four suicides, two were officers he knew. Three children of officers also committed suicide. Jerry intervened and hospitalized one suicidal individual in an AA meeting. After spotting an article about police suicides in a magazine, Jerry pursued his interest and found himself with Badge of Life. He is a NY Department of Criminal Justice Services Instructor and is certified by the Rockland Police Academy. He currently teaches the Badge of Life program to police classes 3 - 4 times a month.
Andy O'Hara, Advisor. A military veteran as well as a 24 year officer and sergeant of the California Highway Patrol, Andy is a POST certified advanced peer support officer. He was retired from his police career with PTSD and was suicidal. The founder of Badge of Life, Andy was highlighted by Forbes Magazine as one of eight notable retirees founding charitable organizations.
Peter Platt, Founder & Editor of Badge of Life Canada; Canadian Advisor to Badge of Life USA Peter is a 25 year veteran of the Ottawa Police Service who became severely disabled with PTSD in 1992. In 2005, he joined a registered charity service dog training organization, Canines with a Cause (Since dissolved) in Ottawa and, from 2006 through to December 2009, he was a board member - Director of Client Services, Disabilities Advisor and an advocate for persons with disabilities. In 2008/2009, he gave presentations to a trauma councillor's class at local college about PTSD. From March 2009 to October 2012, he worked for Veterans Affairs Canada, Operational Stress Injury Social Support as a trained volunteer peer helper & group facilitator for veterans & RCMP members with PTSD. In January 2010, Peter became volunteer Disabilities Advisor of the new Assistance Dogs Division of Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind. In December 2010 he also became a volunteer for the Military Family Resource Center in Ottawa. Peter is a proud member of the Police Association of Ontario, Ottawa Police Association and the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners. Peter is a breast cancer survivor and is on the Board of Directors of Breast Cancer Action, Ottawa. Peter is an advocate for the promotion of male breast cancer awareness.
SURVIVOR ADVOCATE Advisor: Janice McCarthy is our leading spokesperson for the rights and needs of survivors of law enforcement suicide. She is an active speaker and lecturer, speaking nationally for the Badge of Life on police suicide issues.
Janice knows the pain of police suicide, having lost her husband, Paul, a Massachussetts State Trooper, to PTSD and suicide that were the direct result of law enforcement trauma. She is a voice of courage that speaks out against the stigma, shunning and disgrace faced by police suicide survivors. Janice carries her message to all that will listen. With us, she is determined to see justice and honor done for those officers whose deaths from suicide were the result of the stress and trauma in police work. Janice carries a message of hope to officers and their families--that there are "better ways" through the message of Badge of Life and its free training programs.
Janet Mentink, RN, Family Nurse Practitioner (F.N.P), PhD., Advisor, has had several careers with a long history of interest and involvement in stress, prevention causes and management. In addition, she has used the Myers Briggs personality inventory with numerous groups and focused on stress and management based on personality. She spent 12 years in nursing at Woodland Memorial Hospital, predominantly ICU, CCU and Emergency Room--during which time she dealt with her own post truamatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Janet is Emeritus University of California-Davis School of Medicine, where she spent 24 years as faculty, working with family nurse practitioners and physician assistants, medical students and family practice residents. Her dissertation was on stress in Family Practice Residency. During the 70's and 80's, she and a team conducted stress reduction groups at Escalon Institute for health care professional. The last ten years at the University of California-Davis. She directed the FNP/PA program. Currently, she is consulting and teaching at the University of Washington Physician Assistant program--where she works with students, staff and faculty conducting ongoing workshops on communication, personality style, team building and leadership. Janet lives in Davis, CA with Vic Mentinck, her husband of 51 years and a retired Chief of Police of Davis. They lost their 27 year-old son to an auto accident.
Esther Prichard is a survivor of law enforcement suicide. Her husband, Matt, an officer for the Sacramento Police Department, took his own life in 2008.
Ed Estes, A Vietnam veteran, served 28 years with the California Highway Patrol.
Daniel L. Cameron is the son of an LAPD officer and a retired veteran of the California Highway Patrol.
Don Corbett, Ohio. Don was an officer with the Austintown, Ohio Police Department for 17 years.
Donald F. Miller, MA, LPC, is a Sergeant and 14-year veteran with the Wheeling, West Virginia Police Department.
Gary Bush, Cincinnati, Ohio. Gary is a veteran of the S. Charlston, West Virginia Police Department.
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