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Behavioral Health Training for Fire Rescue Personnel

NSU College of Psychology Professor Vincent Van Hasselt, Ph.D. co-authored a new article in the December 2016 issue of "Fire Engineering" magazine.

Click here to read it.

Advisory board members met with Bob Beckwith

Members meet Bob Beckwith

Pictured Left to Right:Vince Van Hasselt, PhD, NSU'’'s College of Psychology professor; Bob Beckwith, retired NYC Fire Dept; Chief Todd LeDuc, Assistant Fire Chief Broward Sheriff'’'s Office

Bob Beckwith is a retired member of the New York City Fire Department. He became well known to the United States' public after he stood next to President George W. Bush as the president gave a speech at the ruins of the World Trade Center after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Photos of Beckwith and the president appeared on the front page of the New York Daily News and the cover of Time magazine. This exposure launched him into the national spotlight and led to press attention and interviews. Beckwith has met several times with President Bush since then, spoken extensively in public, and acted as a fundraiser for charities.

Fire Rescue & Nova Partnership Showcased

The American Psychological Association has selected the Department of Fire Rescue Health & Wellness Division and Nova Southeastern University (NSU) behavioral health peer program to be showcased at their national meeting later this summer. The behavioral peer training, was designed to support Life Safety Initiative # 9 (psychological support) of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and has been delivered throughout our fire rescue department. This national opportunity showcases our Agency, our partnership with NSU and most importantly shares our collective efforts as best practices in firefighter wellness. Congratulations to all involved.

BSO's Fire Rescue and Emergency Services Recognizes NSU Psychology Students

Members of the NSU-BSO Program

Pictured Left to Right: Chief Todd Leduc, IAFF Local 4321 Vice President Lt. Amber Burns, Dr. Vincent Van Hasselt, CPS Dean Karen Grosby, BSO Employee Assistance Program Manager Judy Couwels, and CPS Students Thomas Oswald, Vera Lopez, Nichole Vincent, Kori Hakala, and Marina Sarno.

The Broward Sheriff's Office Department of Fire Rescue and Emergency Services held a recognition ceremony on Friday, November 15th at Port Everglades Fire Station 6 for doctoral students from NSU's Center for Psychological Studies (CPS). The eight students, Carlos Garcia, Kori Hakala, Vera Lopez, Luzimar Negron, Tom Oswald, Marina Sarno, Bryan Steinkopf, and Nichole Vincent were honored for providing Behavioral Health Training to over 250 BSO Fire Rescue personnel during this year’s International Fire/EMS Safety and Health Week. The training was part of a preventive effort designed to address challenges encountered by firefighter/paramedic workers, and included the topics of chronic stress, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. In addition, information on agency, NSU, and community resources available for first responders was provided. This project was initiated by Chief Todd LeDuc of BSO's Department of Fire Rescue and Emergency Services, in collaboration with BSO Employee Assistance Program Manager Judy Couwels, and Dr. Vincent Van Hasselt, Professor of Psychology at CPS. Results of pre-post training surveys indicated an overwhelmingly positive response from attendees. In light of the success of this program, an expansion of this training, as well as adaptations for other first responder groups, are planned for the future.

Building Bridges Between Police Researchers and Practitioners: Agents of Change in a Complex World

NSU/BSO practitioner-researcher partnership is highlighted by the National Institute of Justice as one of FOUR top rated models of the 2,000 partnerships that were reviewed. The partnership's university-wide approach includes joint projects and initiatives between faculty and the agency's specialty areas of law enforcement, detention, fire rescue and community control. Click here to read full NIJ report.

NSU-BSO Partnership Graduates the Spring 2012 Executive Leadership Class

The NSU-BSO Partnership congratulates the graduates of the spring 2012 Executive Leadership Program (ELP). The ELP graduates were honored and presented with their certificates of completion on May 3, 2012, by Colonel Tim Gillette, Executive Director of the Department of Law Enforcement at BSO, Dr. Frank DePiano, Provost and Executive Vice-President for Academic Affairs at NSU, Dr. Kimberly Durham, Chair of the NSU-BSO Advisory Board, Dr. Tammy Kushner, NSU-BSO Advisory Board, and graduating class spokesperson, Veda Coleman-Wright. The 33 ELP graduates were comprised of individuals with diverse ranks and professional backgrounds and included: public information officers, business managers, supervisors, internal affairs personnel, law enforcement personnel, fire rescue and emergency services personnel, and detentions personnel from six departments and two counties.

The ELP is a 16 week leadership development program that focuses on the development of key leadership competencies to help students grow with their agencies.  Topics of study include: leadership, organizational behavior, performance management, decision making and problem solving, organizational change and strategic management, budget and finance, crisis and emergency management, stress management, emerging technologies, and media relations. For more information about ELP opportunities, please visit: Executive Leadership Certificate Program.

New Memorandum of Understanding Between United States Marshals Service (USMS) and NSU Signed

On May 4, 2012, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Nova Southeastern University (NSU) and the United States Marshals Service (USMS) was signed. Representing NSU was Dr. Frank DePiano, Provost and Executive Vice-President for Academic Affairs, and the USMS was represented by Dr. Michael Bourke, Chief Psychologist.


BSO/NSU Study Hoping to Show Positive Results

The NSU-BSO Partnership was publicly recognized in the Fall/Summer 2011 edition of Signal 14, a quarterly publication for employees and friends of the Broward Sheriff's Office.


BSO and Nova Southeastern Public Safety Partnership: Bridging Theory and Practice

Over the years, Broward Sheriff's Office has enjoyed a long and beneficial partnersh ip with Nova Southeastern U n iversity. The scope of the partnership has
increased from its initial goal of providing ed ucational and professional development for employees to a more resea rch-oriented and community-based effort.


Brockman, A.M., Booth, B.E., & Van Hasselt, V.B. (2010, March).  Correctional officer stress: Causes, effects, assessment and intervention.  Presented at 4th Academic & Health Policy Conference on Correctional Health, Boston, MA. 

Correctional officer stress research continues to be rather limited in the number and scope of the studies.  It is important to understand the various causes and effects of stress that are unique to the field of corrections on both the individual and the institution.  In order to develop appropriate interventions, assessment tools specific to corrections would be beneficial.  To date, no survey has been developed to address correctional officer stress through the use of real-life scenarios.  The Law Enforcement Officer Stress Survey (LEOSS) will be used as a model to create the Correctional Officer Stress Survey (CrOSS), a device that can be used as a stress-screening measure for correctional officers.  This presentation will focus on causes, effects, assessment, and recommendations for stress interventions in corrections. 

LEOSS Appreciation

During his weekly staff meeting, Sheriff Al Lamberti took a moment to congratulate Judy Couwels from our Employee Assistance Program for her efforts with the Law Enforcement Officers Stress Survey (LEOSS). Judy worked closely with Nova Southeastern University, the FBI and military to obtain a grant for this important study.

Presentation: Crisis Negotiations with Sex Offenders

On Thursday, January 21, 2010, from 2- 5pm, Dr. Michael Bourke presented “Crisis Negotiations with Sex Offenders” in room 1048 at the Nova Southeastern University business school. Dr. Bourke is Chief Psychologist with the Behavioral Analysis Unit, U.S. Marshals Service based in Washington, D.C. He is an international expert on sex offenders, child predators, and cyber sex crime, and has done training for the FBI profiling units, the Secret Service, and Interpol.

The audience for this was primarily law enforcement hostage negotiators, including Plantation, Hollywood, Lauderhill, and Coral Springs. FBI Miami was also present, and the Broward Sheriff's Office sent six of their sex crimes detectives.

Quality of Life Grant Showcase

Please join us as we showcase an important joint research project between Nova Southeastern University & Broward Sheriff’s Office!  Quality of Life FY 2008 award winners: James Pann, Ph.D., Lenore Walker, Ed.D. (Co-Principal Investigators), David Shapiro, Ph.D., Vincent Van Hasselt, Ph.D., and representatives from Broward Sheriff’s Office will be presenting findings of their study entitled: Needs Assessment of the Mentally Ill Involved in the Judicial System in Broward County. See the flyer for the event.

Lunch & Learn for Executive Leadership Program alumni

On December 3rd from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm we hosted a lunch-and-learn session with Dr. Cecelia Rokusek, the Executive Director for Education, Planning, and Research and the Project Director for the National Center for Bioterrorism and All-Hazards Preparation in the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Rokusek will be speaking on the H1N1 pandemic. The event was sponsored by the Sheriff's Foundation of Broward County. See the flyer for more information.

Drugs and Mental Health in Broward County Jails

Errol Campbell, M.D., is employed by Armor Correctional Health Services inc. Armor Correctional is contracted by the Broward Sheriff to provide health care for the prisoners in the Broward County Jails. Armor also provides health care in some other Florida counties and in the State prison system.

Dr. Campbell is the Assistant Medical Director for the Broward County Jails and is board certified in internal medicine. He has previously provided health care for prisoners also at Rikers Island Jails, in New York City, and at the Everglades Correctional (State) Institution.

Emily Young, a student in both our Master of Public Helath and Doctor of Osteopathy programs became acquainted with Dr. Campbell while on clinical assignment at the Broward County Jail and suggested him as a speaker for our Mental Health Seminars series. She recommended him because of his experience of mental health problems among prisoners.

Dr. Campbell spoke on the high proportion of jail inmates who have drug abuse and other mental health problems. He says that the Broward Sheriff's Office is the largest provider of mental health services in Broward County. His talk provided greater awareness of the mental health problems in Broward County and could open discussion about better ways to deal with them.

FBI Hostage Negotiation School

October 14th - 16th, 2009, Nova Southeastern University (NSU) and the FBI Miami Field Office co-hosted an FBI Hostage Negotiation School. It will be held on the NSU Davie campus at the DeSantis building(rooms 3032 and 3034) from 8:30 to 4:30 each of those days.  Instructors will include NSU criminal justice professors from the Center for Psychological Studies and College of Pharmacy, and several FBI Agents. Organizers expect about 70 police negotiators to attend from nearly a dozen different police departments, including Broward, Dade, and Palm Beach counties.

BSO Summit at Nova Southeatern University

Nearly 100 personnel from the Broward Sheriff’s Office, including colonels, majors, chiefs, captains and other executive officers, attended the BSO’s Department of Law Enforcement Summit held for two days on NSU’s main campus. The summit meetings, which were held May 5 and 8, 2009, in the Horvitz Administration building, was hosted by NSU as part of the university’s partnership with BSO...Read More >>

BSO Hostage Negotiations/SWAT Training

(September 25, 2008) We had a joint hostage negotiation training with the Broward County Sheriff's Office and S.W.A.T. teams. Four of our Nova Players were in attendance and participated in this event. The four doctoral students from the Center for Psychological Studies were: Andrea Brockman, Sam Browning, Amy Angleman and Micol Levi-Minzi. The students worked with BSO officers and S.W.A.T. teams to simulate a hostage negotiation scenario and act as hostages and hostage-takers.

Brandi Booth, M.S. and Amy Angleman, M.A., M.S., participated in a BSO joint Hostage Negotiations/SWAT training in June 2008.  They played two hostage-takers at the North Ridge Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, taking several BSO Explorers hostage.  After four hours of exciting and challenging negotiations, SWAT intervened and rescued the captives.

Doctoral Student Presents to FBI National Academy

Brandi Booth

Doctoral student Brandi Booth, M.S., presented to the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia on Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for their National Academy.  The FBI National Academy is a 10 week program for invited and selected law enforcement leaders and managers ranging from local and sheriff departments to military and federal law enforcement agencies.  Participants have the opportunity to gain leadership and specialized training by taking coursework in Law, Behavioral Science, Forensic Science, Leadership Development, Communication, and Health/Fitness.

FBI Academy group

CPS Professor Receives Award

Vincent Van Hasselt, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at the Center for Psychological Studies, recently received an Outstanding Presenter Award at the Annual Conference of the Florida Association of Hostage Negotiators held in Cocoa Beach.  Dr. Van Hasselt’s address, “Police-Assisted Suicide (‘Suicide By Cop’):  Risk Factors and Negotiation”, was presented to local, state, and federal law enforcement hostage negotiators from across Florida, as well as other parts of the country.

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