Armor Your Self by John Marx

Insp. Gibson Glavin
January 11, 2019
By Insp. Gibson Glavin
Armor Your Self:
How to Survive a Career
in Law Enforcement
By John Marx; 2017, 433 pages
ISBN: 978-1544661810

John Marx’s Armor Your Self “How to Survive a Career in Law Enforcement” is a worthy addition to a growing body of well researched and thoughtfully presented books written by serving or retired police officers on career resiliency in law enforcement. What makes Armor Your Self somewhat unique is that Marx, a 23-year veteran of policing in the Unites States, has gone beyond the theoretical or experiential approach of many books on the subject. Instead he has created a “how to” practical training and educational system for both the individual and police force to follow.

Armor Your Self is divided into readily understandable training segments designed to briefly discuss key topics, and then apply exercises, both practical and social, that seek to build up cultural, physical, emotional and spiritual strength. The presentation style of Marx’s book gives it the appearance of a police-training manual, and it is in this format that it is appealing and accessible to officers. It would not be hard to imagine a police service simply adopting the book wholesale, with only minor changes in some areas where department-specific language is needed.

A particular strength of Armor Your Self is that it does not become mired in lengthy discussions of the tactical, psychological, or political challenges associated with modern policing. While the author has acknowledged the research on these subjects, he has shifted his attention quickly and directly to what a police officer, or their department, can do to counteract these stressors.

John Marx’s Armor Your Self “How to Survive a Career in Law Enforcement” is not just another emotional survival book for police. It contains achievable and intuitively appropriate steps and training outcomes for the cultural, physical, emotional and spiritual health of police officers. It is a resource that all Canadian police should take note of. I would not be surprised if Canada’s auditor general has done so.  

- Insp. Gibson Glavin, retired, RCMP

(Glavin resides with his family near Edmonton, Alta., and is a public policy consultant.)

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