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Andrew O'Hara

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Sergeant Andy O'Hara, California Highway Patrol (ret.) is a military veteran and the Executive Director of The Badge of Life. He is a member of the California Peer Support Association, the International Police Association and works as a peer volunteer with the West Coast Post-Trauma Retreat. Sergeant Andrew O'Hara spent much of his boyhood and career in the Sacramento Valley.  He is the author of The Swan: Tales of the Sacramento Valley and the co-author of On the Edge: Recent Perspectives on Police Suicide.

According to the book description of On the Edge: Recent Perspectives on Police Suicide, “In this book, the authors extend their academic research and knowledge on the subject to a national level. Two of the authors, who have personally dealt with the aftermath of suicide, add a realistic description of what it is like to be “on the edge.” Violanti is a former NY State trooper and is now the nation's foremost researcher on police suicide.  Andy O'Hara, a California Highway Patrol sergeant who survived a near suicide and describes the feelings and pain he felt during that crisis period, and Teresa Tate, whose husband died by suicide, will add immeasurably to the understanding of this problem.

Chapter One discusses police suicide rates and the ongoing controversy that surrounds this area of research. In Chapter Two, the authors describe two in-depth analyses of national police suicide rates. Chapter Three is based on a conceptual model of the career span of a police officer and trauma within that span that may exacerbate conditions for suicide. Chapter Four presents a discussion of factors that may help to protect police officers from suicide.

In Chapter Five, Andy O'Hara discusses his own journey to the edge and how such decisions may come about in police officers. In Chapter Six, Andy O'Hara presents a description of his newly developed program, “Badge of Life,” which seeks to “depower” police trauma and, instead, “empower” the officer. In doing so, they will be prepared not only for stress but for trauma before it occurs and know what to do when it does. In Chapter Seven, the aftereffects of suicide are explored and how police support can help to ameliorate psychological distress and trauma associated with an officer’s death. Teresa Tate, founder and leader of the survivor group S.O.L.E.S. (Survivors of Law Enforcement Suicide), presents actual cases of police survivors derived from her personal interviews with these survivors. In the final chapter, the authors conclude with a description and critical analysis of present programs for police suicide prevention. Law enforcement practitioners, researchers and therapists, as well as police organizational policymakers, will benefit from the discussions presented in this book.”

According to the book description The Swan: Tales of the Sacramento Valley, “Much has been written about the rich history of the Sacramento Valley - the Gold Rush of 1849, Sutter's Fort, the Donner Party and the Pony Express. "The Swan" brings you tales inspired by the people who live in the valley today: their dreams, their hopes and loves, their weaknesses and their personal tragedies. Beginning with two children who meet in a field under the stars to face life and death together, author Andy O'Hara explores how ordinary people face extraordinary challenges with quiet determination and unseen heroism. For some, including a police officer who struggles with thoughts of suicide, the line between courage and cowardice is a thin one, the choices difficult, and the paths chosen full of surprises.

This book is not without controversy. It's not a collection of warm and fuzzy "feelgood" endings--only life at its enigmatic, often confusing but truthful best. There are parts you will love, even hate, but they will force you to think (or retreat into whatever safe corner is yours).”

According to one reader of The Swan: Tales of the Sacramento Valley, “This is the new Swan, the 2007 Edition with feathers all bright white, fluffed and ready to lull and captivate you at the same time. Andy O'Hara has improved on the un-improvable this time around. The weave is tight, but so smoothly done the stories blend into each other, carrying two common themes to fruition by the turn of the last page. The fun is how Andy has taken the reader on a swing through his beloved Sacramento Valley. He describes obscure towns giving us a mental picture along with the smell of the dust, the fields, the eucalyptus groves and more. The stories, Andy claims, are fiction, but I would bet most have been drawn from his own experiences. A great read and a great buy, one I will enjoy over and over again.”

According to one reader of The Swan: Tales of the Sacramento Valley, “I began this book with the expectation of the usual "local color" stories about an area. A nice surprise to find myself immersed in something new and original from a writer. This hooked me from the beginning. Each chapter took me to a new town in the Sacramento Valley and kept me engrossed. With the trivia being produced today, it's nice to read something that is thoughtful and leaves you with something. This was great.”

On the Edge: Recent Perspectives on Police Suicide
John M. Violanti  More Info

THE SWAN: Tales of the Sacramento Valley
Andrew OHara  More Info

According to one reader of The Swan: Tales of the Sacramento Valley, “Andy O' Hara's tales in "The Swan" offer a historically charged and compelling look at the people and events that shaped the Sacramento Valley. Poets, soldiers, lost souls, and dreamers come to life in an informed, often earthy account steeped in the lore of humanity. While each story can be enjoyed on its own, a complete tale in and of itself, together they present an evocative, and at times heartrending, portrait of a place that is clearly close to the author's heart. Silvery like the river that crosses its vale, polished with the hues of humidity and oak, "The Swan" is storytelling at its powerful best. Put this one on the shelf next to "To A God Unknown" by Steinbeck and Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "Love and Demons.”

About the California Highway Patrol

The California Highway Patrol is a statewide law enforcement organization. It is lead by the Commissioner, assisted by the Deputy Commissioner. The organization is divided into two major operations, Staff and Field. Each is lead by an Assistant Commissioner. The Staff operations is comprised of headquarter commands.  The Field operations are divided into eight separate field Divisions located throughout the state. Also included in field operations are Office of Air Operations, State Terrorism Threat Assessment Center, and Protective Services Division. 


The Office of Air Operations is responsible for the management of the Department's Air Operations Program.  Among its many responsibilities, the Office of Air Operations is charged with administering the aviation program budget, formulating departmental policy relative to air operations, coordinating the aviation safety program, conducting initial and recurrent pilot and flight officer testing, coordinating departmental paramedic training, determining departmental aircraft specifications, conducting departmental aircraft accident/incident investigations, and performing liaison duties with the Federal Aviation Administration.


The State Terrorism Threat Assessment Center is a partnership of the California Highway Patrol, the California Department of Justice, and the Governor's Office of Homeland Security. Located in Sacramento, this multi-agency state fusion center was created for the purpose of terrorism/criminal intelligence collection, analysis, and dissemination. The plan to detect, deter, and prevent terrorism in California is based upon federal, state, and local law enforcement and public safety partnerships with direct connections to the national terrorism intelligence agencies and resources. The STTAC works in conjunction with four Regional Terrorism Threat Assessment Centers.


Protective Services Division (PSD) is one of the most unique operational Divisions within the CHP. PSD is made up of three commands which include the Dignitary Protection Section, Judicial Protection Section, and the Capitol Protection Section. These offices are responsible for operations pertaining to the protection of the Governor, constitutional officers, dignitaries and judges, as well as, the State Capitol, state employees, and state facilities. PSD also works with state agencies within the downtown Sacramento area to provide them with training on mail handling, bomb threats, and personal safety. PSD also serves as a liaison between state agencies and the CHP in coordinating various events such as Child Passenger Safety Seat fittings, Safety Fairs and Career Fairs.




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