“The only way to meet the community demands of modern day policing Is to deploy officers who are healthy, happy, and well adjusted human beings, with a deep commitment to a well articulated purpose.”
In this moving, illuminating, and impassioned discussion, retired Police Lt. Chris Orrey and San Bruno Police Chief Ryan Johansen open our eyes as to the realities of policing in today’s world and offer solutions as to how the entire institution of police work could be transformed to become more effective and sustainable, both for police officers and for the communities they serve. Ryan and Chris explain that applying an Integral approach to police work—which BTW encompasses a lot more than simply law enforcement, to include the roles of social worker, mental health counselor, EMT, and more, in crisis situations—is exactly what is needed to turn around an institution that is controversial and flailing at this point. They point out that it is essential to prioritize officer wellness—not just physical wellness but interior wellness as well—and give officers the coping mechanisms and support they need to integrate the inevitable trauma of the job and role model resilience for the victims and survivors they interact with. An Integral understanding also paves the way for police leadership to become servant-based; where leadership puts the welfare of the officers first and foremost, and in turn, officers are in peak condition, mentally, physically, emotionally, to serve and protect their communities with compassion and skill.
Nationwide, it is a time of catastrophic crisis in police recruitment and retention. Most departments are severely understaffed and morale is at a dangerous low. Chief Ryan’s San Bruno police department, however, is fully staffed and the officers have high morale. By applying the principles of the Integral Model and practicing a heartfelt, servant-based leadership style, Ryan has turned this national trend around. Whether policing impacts you directly or not, there is much to be gained by listening to this stirring conversation, which reveals so much about the realities of our society and the incredible courage, compassion, and outright nobility it takes to be a police officer—putting your life on the line to protect and serve others every single day.
Recorded July 6, 2023.
Topics & Times
- Introducing San Bruno Police Chief Ryan Johansen and retired police Lt. Chris Orrey (01:00)
- What does it mean to be integrally informed? (04:46)
- Law enforcement is possibly the smallest component of what police do: the larger picture includes the roles of social worker, mental health counselor, big sister/big brother, emergency medical personnel, and more (05:49)
- Good cops embrace the role of societal “backstop” and excel at working with other agencies who carry on after the initial emergency (09:59)
- Is the training for cops enough? It’s gone from 3 months to 6 months (in CA), but it could really benefit from an Integral perspective (13:53)
- Training is often used as a scapegoat: every time there is a problem in policing people say this is a training issue, but whose fault is it really? (17:20)
- Integral leadership is essential in modern day policing (19:59)
- The four quadrants explained and how they apply to police reform (22:32)
- Healthy & toxic cultures in a police department are just like any other organization; they stem from how cops are taught to cope with the job and how they identify as a group (24:31)
- The goal is resilience: cops need to embrace the trauma of the job and integrate it; trauma + integration = resilience (25:59)
- A good integration requires a deep rooted peer support program, confidential counseling, a full paid hour of physically working out the stress of the job, wellness time, mindfulness training (27:53)
- Reframing trauma as not just a horror to be repressed but as an inevitable part of the profession that needs to be honored (31:04)
- Reframing trauma can also help cops better identify with victims and survivors and model that we can emerge stronger for going through the trauma (31:49)
- The top sources of stress for a police officer are 1) watching what humans are capable of doing to others, especially children, and 2) their own police administration (34:30)
- The double standard of expecting officers to practice procedural justice on the street when leadership is not practicing organizational justice to the cops (38:24)
- The critical importance of servant-based leadership (39:15)
Topics & Timestamps: Part 2
- The pendulum swing of society’s opinions about cops and the story of Isaac Woodard (01:26)
- We can’t ignore what communities have suffered at the hands of police officers—historically and currently (04:58)
- What would Ryan do to make things better for officers? Focus on legitimately taking better care of cops (06:24)
- What the pendulum swing is doing today: the middle way is the right way (07:44)
- The developmental levels aspect of the Integral model holds great promise for policing (09:22)
- The expectation of officers to check their whole identity/personality at the door and California’s allowance of tattoos and other physical details (15:45)
- How do we help a community see cops as people like them? Overcoming the us vs. them mentality (17:45)
- How to develop officers as exceptional people who will show up? (19:42)
- If cops internalize the idea that their paramount purpose is to defend and protect human life, it will help them make the right split-second decision (22:13)
- We as individuals project everything from our personal traumas, relationship to authority figures, etc. onto police officers (26:52)
- Conveying to cops that their fundamental role is to protect people at all developmental levels— that’s what makes being a cop so noble (29:23)
- Bringing the Integral understanding to cops can make an enormous difference to both police officers and communities (31:13)
- The current catastrophic recruitment & retention crisis is pushing cops we do have out and deterring new officers (33:37)
- How do Chris and Ryan nurture themselves in this process? (36:24)
- Setting the example and prioritizing wellness practices—they are part of cops’ service (38:40)
- The importance and effectiveness of Integral Life Practice: practicing with iAwake Technologies’ brainwave entraining audio tracks, biofeedback & HRV regulation (41:04)
Resources & References
- U.S. Dept of Justice’s FTO (Field Training Officer) Training Guide
- Institute of Applied Metatheory: Integral Policing Transformation Initiative
- Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory & the Integral Life website
- Build Your Integral Life (Integral Life course)
- Ken Wilber, Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution*
- What Are the Four Quadrants? (Integral Life website)
- Article that touches on several studies on police stressors, with the O’Toole 2014 work being perhaps the most relevant: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/261440806_Introduction_to_special_issue_police_stress_and_trauma_recent_perspectives
- Police Executive Research Forum
- George Floyd’s murder by a police officer in May 2020 had global impact on the issue of police brutality and reignited the Black Lives Matter movement
- Isaac Woodard, African-American WWII veteran beaten by police hours after he was honorably discharged and still in uniform for nothing more than standing up for his dignity on a bus—an event that galvanized the Civil Rights movement
- Orson Welles Radio Programs
- Brown v. Board of Education ruled that racial segregation in schools is unconstitutional
- Spiral Dynamics, Don Beck & Christopher Cowan, Spiral Dynamics*
- Steve McIntosh, Developmental Politics: How America Can Grow Into a Better Version of Itself*, see also Deep Transformation episode #20, Consciousness Evolves, Politics Can Too: Beyond the Culture War
- Jeff Salzman’s The Daily Evolver: A Developmental Take on the News, see also Deep Transformation episode #1, Polarization, Being Woke, the Universal Agenda, Mindfulness Going Bad, and the Integral Vision
- Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory & the Integral Life website
- Build Your Integral Life (Integral Life course)
- Integral Life’s cinematic course: What Are the Stages of Development?
- Roger Walsh, The World of Shamanism: New Views of an Ancient Tradition*
- Integrative Policing: Bringing vulnerable communities and law enforcement together for good
- Foundation for Inner Peace’s A Course in Miracles*
- Ken Wilber, Terry Patten, Adam Leonard & Marco Morelli, Integral Life Practice: A 21st-Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening*
- iAwake Technologies: Transformative Brainwave Entrainment Technology to Deepen Meditation & Spiritual Life, Relieve Stress, Release Trauma
Podcast produced by Vanessa Santos
Image created via MidJourney
Presented by iAwake Technologies’ innovative, sound-tech infused Harmonic Resonance Meditation.
Harmonic Resonance Meditation is deep yet gentle, more “pull than push”. It includes a constant beautifully rich drone in the Major Fifth Interval and is designed to facilitate deep states of meditation and contemplation. This can be used as a primary meditation tool or as an alternate with the Profound Meditation Program.
Check out the free sample:
About the Deep Transformation series
We are clearly in a new era, facing world-threatening challenges and graced with barely conceivable opportunities. In this mind-boggling new world, we all face two crucial questions:
- First, the ever-present conundrum of how to best live fully, deeply, wisely, and well.
Second, the new question unique to our times, how to best understand and heal our endangered world.
- Wouldn’t it be wonderful to hear responses to these questions from some of the great consciousness pioneers—the outstanding thinkers, sages, scientists, and activists—of our time? These are the people and conversations that Deep Transformation offers.
Deep Transformation: Self-Society-Spirit draws on diverse ideas from around the world. It goes beyond traditional positions and polarities—beyond left and right, material and spiritual—to seek syntheses of deep wisdom and practical know-how that integrate the best of all positions.
Previous Episodes of Deep Transformation
The Essence of Awakening: Who Are We Really?
Building a Just World: How Our Laws Express Our Collective Values
The Enneagram as a Spiritual Tool
From Race to Culture to Kosmos
Grappling with the Metacrisis
Illuminating the Integral Vision: A Metatheory for Understanding Self, Life, and the World
The Edge of the Future: Education, Civilization, and the Metacrisis
The Human Potential Movement: Then and Now
Nature as Teacher: Finding Beauty, Wisdom, and Self in Everything
Awakening Joy: Life Skills for Living, Loving, and Serving Life to the Full
Nonduality (And Beyond)
The Source and Heart of Judaism and the Great Religions
Vertical Development’s Many Gifts
The Remarkable Practice of Dream Yoga
How to Heal a Culture That Has Lost Its Soul
From Bodhisattva to Ecosattva: Integrating Personal Practice and Global Activism
Healing Collective Trauma: We Are All Shareholders in a Traumatized World
The Moral Imperative to Help Ukraine
Beyond the Culture War: Consciousness Evolves, Politics Can Too
The Essence of Zen: One Heart, One Mind
Facing the Metacrisis: Conflict, Metamodernity, and Construct Awareness
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About Ryan Johansen
Ryan Johansen currently serves as the Chief of Police for the City of San Bruno, California, a diverse community of approximately 50,000 residents located amid the urban sprawl of the San Francisco Bay Area. Ryan has been a policing professional for approximately 20 years, beginning his career as a patrol officer with the Southeastern Division of the San Diego Police Department. Ryan transferred to the San Bruno Police Department in 2006, and in the years that followed, he has served in a variety of positions and assignments, including: Police Chief, Incident Commander, Tactical Commander, Field Services Division Lieutenant, Administrative Division Lieutenant, Watch Commander, Public Information Officer, Traffic Sergeant, Patrol Sergeant, Detective Corporal, Gang Unit Supervisor, Patrol Corporal, and Patrol Officer. Ryan served as the Investigations Commander for the San Bruno Gas Pipeline Explosion in 2008, the Incident Commander for the YouTube Active Shooter Incident in 2018, and the Tactical Commander for the Tanforan Mall Active Shooter Incident in 2019
About Chris Orrey
Chris Orrey is a retired police lieutenant with over 30 years of service with the Hayward, California Police Department. She is a graduate of California’s Command College, an 18-month program designed to prepare law enforcement leaders for the challenges of the future, and the LAPD Leadership Training Program, which is based on the West Point Leadership Program. In true Integral fashion, she will soon have a Master’s Degree in Comparative Religion and Philosophy and will be continuing her education at the California Institute for Human Science, pursuing a doctorate degree in Integral Noetic Sciences with an emphasis on Wisdom Design. Her in-progress Master’s thesis is on the application of Wilberian Integral Theory to U.S. policing: Integral Policing: Transforming U.S. Policing via the AQAL Map.
About Roger Walsh
Roger Walsh, M.D., Ph.D., has spent nearly a quarter century researching and practicing in the world's great spiritual traditions. His critically acclaimed book, Essential Spirituality, is a summary of that wisdom, outlining the seven spiritual practices common to the world's major religions.
About John Dupuy
John Dupuy is co-founder and CEO of iAwake Technologies, a company that creates cutting-edge, high-tech brainwave entrainment soundtracks that support the healing of emotional/shadow issues, deepen meditation, mental focus, creativity, and flow states, and enhance a daily integral transformative practice. John has been working personally and professionally with brainwave entrainment technology since 2004, and travels internationally to teach and inspire on the subjects of Integral Transformative Practice and Integral Recovery®. John is also the author of Integral Recovery: A Revolutionary Approach to the Treatment of Alcoholism and Addiction (SUNY Press, 2013), winner of the 2013 USA Best Book Award, and co-host of the popular Journey of Integral Recovery podcast. John also hosts the online series Spiritual Tech Talks 2.0, in which he converses with leaders, pioneers, and inventors on the current wave of emerging spiritual technologies.