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.
“I think that most police officers are exceptional human beings in that they are willing to endure tremendous suffering on behalf of others, most of whom they don’t know and will never actually get to know, and many of whom a lot of society has simply decided to bypass and would prefer to not even see.”
Topics & Time Stamps – 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 – Part 2
- 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*
- Institute of Applied Metatheory: Integral Policing Transformation Initiative
- 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
* As an Amazon Associate, Deep Transformation earns from qualifying purchases.
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.
Ryan has a longstanding meditation and contemplative practice and is a certified mindfulness meditation instructor. He serves as Vice President of the San Mateo County Police Chiefs and Sheriffs Association and is on the Board of the CA Police Chiefs Association. He has provided training in officer wellness, police culture, active assailant prevention and response, and public/private partnership in critical incident response all over the United States. Ryan possesses a Bachelor of Applied Sciences Degree in Law Enforcement Management, and he is currently enrolled in the Masters of Homeland Defense and Security Program at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security.
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 Master’s thesis is on the application of Wilberian Integral Theory to U.S. policing and is titled “Integral Policing: Transforming U.S. Policing via the AQAL Map.”
Chris is also a blackbelt in kajukenbo-style karate and an ordained minister of A Course in Miracles. She lives in San Francisco, California.
Podcast produced by Vanessa Santos and Show Notes by Heidi Mitchell
Presented by iAwake Technologies’ innovative, sound tech infused, brain wave entraining audio track
“…creates a very tangible sense of communion and prayer, relaxing the ‘self’~ Georg Boch
Strong feeling of life energy and being centered.”
“I have been listening to various brain entrainment programs since the 1980s. When Profound Meditation Program (PMP) came out, I started using it daily. For me, the Harmonic Resonance Meditation (HRM) is like the next evolutionary step from PMP. It provides a calmer, more peaceful experience. While using HRM, I was able to quickly access some of the deepest and most profound meditative states that I’ve ever experienced. An hour of HRM flies by so quickly that I find myself craving longer sessions and frequently repeat the delta and epsilon sessions for extra immersion. At the same time, on busy days a quick alpha or theta experience is sufficient for feeling like I had a good meditative experience for the day.”~ Michael Halbfish
iAwake Technologies was founded in 2010 with the mission of helping the world to heal, wake up, and evolve, through creating and offering cutting-edge, transformational technologies and promoting and inspiring their skillful use in our daily lives.
iAwake’s unique approach to session design entrains both our nervous and our subtle energy systems by combining traditional entrainment methods with newer applications based on the power of resonance. In addition to increasing intelligence, creativity, flow, and skillfulness in practically any activity that requires the human body-mind, with iAwake Technologies, we enter into deep healing brainwave states almost immediately while listening to these audio tracks.
To see what we are talking about, download a free sample of Stealing Flow’s Warm-up track here for a 25-minute, full-spectrum, whole-brain workout.
“I have enjoyed many [meditation technologies] but my VERY favorite meditations come from a company called iAwake Technologies. The science behind their technology is impeccably researched and I don’t think I have ever gone so deep into my practice as when I use their meditation tracks. Actually I bought so many and sent so many people to their website, they wrote to find out who the heck I was!”~ Colette Baron-Reid, world-renowned intuitive counselor, psychic medium, author, TV personality, and radio host. They call her the Oracle.