Retired officers Prince Blue and Jonathan Steppe decided to start a podcast to confront their own mental trauma after a combined 31 years on the job with many traumatic experiences.
Since leaving law enforcement, the two have been diagnosed with PTSD as a result of trauma experienced on duty. The podcast aims to raise mental health awareness by focusing on related mental health topics and current police “top stories” around the country.
Steppe said his PTSD derives from a 7-minute shootout where his partner was shot in the chest. “I see muzzle flash. My partner’s standing beside me, he gets shot in the chest,” Steppe described.
The event left Steppe emotionally scarred.
“Even five plus years later, 20, 30 times a day it goes through my mind,” he said.
Blue’s trauma came from a shootout with a robbery suspect.
“[The suspect] turns towards me, and I’m telling him drop the gun, drop the gun again. He raises the gun towards me and I fired four shots at him,” he said.
The two officers are using the podcast to discuss their own trauma and heal from it, while allowing other officers around the country to do the same.
“They were excited. They were [reaching out and] saying thank you. They felt like they had a voice,” Blue said about the effect of the podcast on others in the law enforcement community.
Steppe said there’s still a stigma surrounding mental health in the profession that he hopes the podcast will address. He believes that showing too much emotion is seen as a red flag in the industry.
“Once you say I’m having issues with PTSD, I’m having nightmares, I’m waking up in sweats, I’m having all these issues, they see you as a liability,” he explained.
The podcast can be found online, and is live-streamed each week on Facebook.