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Book review: Relentless Courage by Michael Sugrue and Dr. Shauna Springer

This gut-wrenching story details an officer’s battle with PTSI while offering a psychologist’s insights about trauma and healing

Relentless Courage.jpg
Relentless Courage.jpg

I recently had the opportunity to preview “RELENTLESS COURAGE: Winning the Battle Against Frontline Trauma,” by Michael Sugrue and Dr. Shauna Springer.

The name of the book really sums up what’s inside. However, maybe not in the way readers would initially think. The book is unique in both its raw authenticity and the added analysis of post-traumatic stress injury (PTSI) expert Shauna ‘Doc’ Springer, Ph.D.

The book follows the public service career of retired Sergeant Michael Sugrue. He started in the US Air Force, serving as a Security Forces Raven officer. Ravens are a small group of airmen that receive specialized training to operate in remote, unsecured locations around the world. They are tasked with safeguarding the aircraft and aircrew in countries that do not have adequate security.

After separating from the Air Force, Michael was hired as a police officer in California. Early in Michael’s career, he was selected to be an undercover detective on a regional drug task force. Michael and his team were highly successful in arresting drug dealers and seizing large amounts of drugs, guns, and money. Michael was then promoted to the rank of sergeant. He was married and had one daughter.

Michael was living his dream, following in the footsteps of his dad as a second-generation law enforcement officer. However, Michael’s humanity was about to collide with unthinkable loss and trauma.

Shortly after being promoted to sergeant, Michael’s squad was dispatched to a priority call. A man was armed with a knife and was trying to force his way into a bedroom. Inside, a man and woman believed he was going to kill them. Michael and his crew courageously entered the home to stop the armed assailant. Unfortunately, the armed man did not follow commands, turned toward officers and came at them. To defend their own lives and the lives of the innocent, Michael was forced to use deadly force.

“RELENTLESS COURAGE” follows the aftermath of the shooting; the criminal investigation, courtroom depositions and internal investigation. The suspect’s twin brother was present during a number of the courtroom proceedings, causing Michael to relive one of the hardest days of his life, repeatedly. To aggravate matters, Michael experienced significant loss in his personal life during this time.

In the midst of tragedy and loss, Michael contemplated ending his life. Then, Michael’s close friend, a police reserve officer, attempted suicide. It was at this moment that Michael showed the ultimate degree of courage. He found trusted people and admitted that he needed help.

“RELENTLESS COURAGE” is a gut-wrenching story that gives readers a preview of the worst parts of law enforcement. It is also a story of redemption and restoration, as Michael trusts competent professionals and friends to walk with him in the healing process.

Doc Springer helps the reader understand the psychology behind what was happening inside Michael’s mind. Her expert perspectives, rooted in science and years of clinical experience, normalize the strong emotional and mental responses that Michael endured and provide a perspective on ways we can all heal from trauma.

Order “RELENTLESS COURAGE” from Amazon and watch an interview with Michael Sugrue and Dr. Shauna Springer here:

Christopher Littrell is a retired law enforcement leader from Washington State. With almost 25 years of public service, he had the opportunity to serve as an Air Force security forces sergeant, patrol officer, gang detective, child crime detective, CISM peer support group counselor, SWAT member, school resource officer, patrol sergeant, detective sergeant and community services sergeant. Christopher is a survivor of job-related PTSD. He is a leadership instructor for the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission. Christopher is the owner of Gravity Consulting & Training, LLC, and teaches leadership, emotional intelligence and communication skills. He and his wife co-host the Gravity Podcast with the mission of captivating audiences with perspective and support.