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Coeur d'Alene, ID First Responder Mental Health and Wellness

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Event description

Presented by 1st Responder Conferences in Partnership with First H.E.L.P.

Co-hosted by the Spokane Police Department

Endorsed by Spokane Police Department Chaplaincy, The Coeur d'Alene Police Department and the Spokane County Sheriff's Office

Venue: The Coeur d'Alene Resort, 115 S 2nd St, Coeur d' Alene, ID 83814

This training is for all 1st responders, police, fire, military/veterans, corrections, dispatchers, chaplains, retired 1st responders, spouses, professional staff, clinicians, and all who work in the public safety field.

1st Responder Conferences presents a multi-faceted two-day seminar and networking event for improving the mental health and wellness of our first responders. By discussing the real 21st Century issues that are consistently facing our first responders and their families, our conference will provide awareness, resources and action items to combat PTSD/PTSI, depression, suicide, addiction, stress, and overall mental health.

1st Responder Conferences proudly introduces a line-up of credible nationally recognized speakers who will address matters that impact the personal and professional lives of first responders and their family members through dynamic and engaging presentations for the entire first responder community. This two-day seminar is unique in that your spouses or significant others who support you are invited to come learn with you.

With a progressive and forward message of optimism and sustainability, 1st Responder Conferences goal is pushing past traditional silence and bringing first responder wellness to our Everyday Heroes.

Register now, seating is limited.

Speakers and Topics

“Building Financial Strength in First Responder Families"- (Ret. Sgt.) Nicholas Daugherty, FinancialCop
- Building Financial Strength in First Responder families is the premier financial wellness class designed for first responders, taught by first responders. We will cover the importance of financial wellness for your personal and professional lives. Topics include budgeting, how to avoid debt and pay off debt, the importance of will & estate planning, and how to build a plan to begin to win with money. Taught by instructors that have the heart of teachers to over thousands of first responders from over 2,000 agencies nationwide. Nick Daugherty began his career with the Grand Prairie Police Department (GPPD) in 2003 before semi-retiring in 2017 as a Sergeant. He continues to serve as reserve officer for Grand Prairie PD. Nick operates FinancialCop, the largest financial wellness training provider for first responders nationally as well as providing comprehensive fiduciary only financial planning for first responders. FinancialCops have coached hundreds of first responder families through almost every type of financial crisis and scenario possible. He also works with several first responder nonprofit organizations, focusing on financial wellness for those suffering from PTSD and suicidal thoughts.

"Trauma and Resiliency - Become more resilient to the stress of life"- Matt Quackenbush, LCSW – Matt uses his unique approach to help us understand the basics of the neurobiology of trauma and stress. You'll understand how stress and trauma impact your body and your mind and what to do about it. We also learn the ins and outs of how to increase your resilience to stress using some of the latest research and techniques in the field.  Matt has nearly two decades of experience in the mental health arena. He is the owner and creator of Finding Strength and the Finding Strength Method, a cutting edge therapeutic treatment approach. As Deer Hollow’s Director of Education and Trainings he travels the Nation with a team of fellow passionate healers, on a mission to educate all who are willing to listen that there is hope available to any who suffer from trauma. Using many different mediums to accomplish this aim, Matt is also the host of the critically acclaimed podcast the Finding Strength Podcast, available anywhere you get your podcasts. A Certified Mind-Body Bridging Therapist, specializing in a variety of evidenced based trauma treatment models including EMDR, Internal Family Systems, CPT, Psychodrama, and mindfulness. With over 10,000 hours of trauma focused therapy, Matt is considered an expert in the field of trauma treatment by many of his peers.

"Survive & Thrive: A Path through Trauma into Resilience"- Ryan Dedmon, Outreach Director, 911 Training Institute- A former dispatcher will discuss the accumulation of stress from personal loss and professional trauma that he experienced. His personal story of survival and journey to healing will help empower all first responders to seek peer support services and mental health treatment to build their resilience. Ryan Dedmon is a retired police dispatcher from Southern California. He currently serves as the Outreach Director for the 911 Training Institute. Ryan is a California POST-certified Academy Instructor, a CIT International certified CIT Coordinator, and has a Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology. He teaches various Advanced Officer Training classes at the Regional Criminal Justice Training Center at Golden West College and at the Orange County Sheriff's Regional Training Center. He blends his education and experience behind the console to help first-responders recover and grow from post-traumatic stress.

“Self Size-Up and Applying Situational Awareness Within"- Captain Justin James, Twin Falls Fire Department –As first responders we are constantly sizing up the scene and scanning for potential threats on incidents that could jeopardize our personal safety and that of our team.  How often, though, are we applying those same tactics to what’s going with ourselves internally? What life experiences have we endured that directly or indirectly shape the way we process the stress of the job?  Are we even processing the stress or are we self-medicating in our own way that may or may not be working?  These are hard questions to face.  Through his own personal life struggles and self-growth journey, Justin shares insight on how to navigate the mental challenges as we attempt to balance our career and personal life.  He has been a member of the Twin Falls Fire Department for 20 years and began his fire career spending several seasons on the Sawtooth Hotshots as a wildland firefighter. Justin is a proud dad of five children and hopes that his message inspires others to conduct their own self-awareness pulse check on the battle within.

"Bellevue Police Department Wellness Program: A Case Study of the Early Years"- Sgt. James Brack, Bellevue Police Department- This presentation will be a discussion of sources that were used to research Wellness programming, administrative and logistics of developing, implementing, and managing wellness resources, and lessons learned in the first two years of Wellness Program development at a medium sized agency.  James Brack was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. He graduated from the Bothell branch of the University of Washington with a Social Science degree. He completed one year of graduate studies in Kinesiology/Human Performance at San Jose State University before accepting a position with the Spartans coaching Division I college baseball. After a brief stint in retail banking, he was hired as an entry level Officer in 2008 after relocating back to the Northwest. During his tenure with the Bellevue Police Department, he has worked as a Patrol Officer, FTO, Crowd Control Officer, Economic Crimes Detective, Recruiting Coordinator, Patrol Sergeant and is currently assigned to the recently established Wellness Unit as the Sergeant and Peer Support Team Coordinator. He enjoys incorporating much of his past professional and personal experiences in developing and implementing the department’s Wellness programing in service to his peers and their families.  He has had the great opportunity to present regionally and nationally on Wellness programming including the National FOP Officer Wellness Summit, IACP Officer Safety & Wellness Symposium, Transform Law Enforcement Colloquium, and the NYPD Health and Wellness Section.

"Heart Disease- What First Responders Should Know"- Craig Bettis, Director of Development, Sigma Tactical Wellness- Being a First Responder is incredibly stressful and the current health culture is, in some cases, non-existent. Additionally, most wellness programs offered to our profession do not have the diagnostic capabilities to isolate high risk individuals and/or provide a quality system of cardiac screening low-risk individuals before they become critical. Using evidence-based data shows us a need for more wellness initiatives within law enforcement, first responders, corporations, municipalities and other high-risk clinical populations that focus on cardiac health//nutritional programming with minimal interference to normal daily operation. Craig Bettis is currently the Co-Founder and Director of Development for SIGMA Tactical Wellness, a company founded in 2017 that has pioneered Cardiometabolic Screening for 1st Responders across the nation. SIGMA has worked with hundreds of agencies and screened thousands of First Responders in the pursuit of educating, reducing and preventing Heart Disease - the number one killer! In 2021, Craig retired as a Commander from the Vail Police Department located in Colorado.  With over 22 years in Public Safety & Operational assignments in law enforcement, 15 years as executive leader and 13 years of tactical experience. Craig is credited with leading/managing a world-class police organization through expertise in Change Management, Organizational Team Building & Intelligence Based Policing. Craig also brings extensive experience performing in stressful operational and administrative environments.  As original board member of ResponderStrong and active partner of the All Clear Foundation, Craig is a dedicated leader in the Responder Wellness. Craig received his BA Colorado State University in Sociology with an emphasis in Criminal Justice. Craig continued his education in leadership by attending the Colorado Command Staff Institute, the FBI Command College, the Senior Management Institute for Police at Boston University, and the Daniels School of Business: Public Safety and Leadership Development at the University of Denver. 

“Fighting Through the Trauma—In and Out of Work”- An individual story of dealing with one’s own trauma the right and wrong way- Officer Richie Plunkett, Spokane Police DepartmentRichie will explain his own journey through dealing with trauma in and out of work along with how they overlapped. This story goes through his darkest days after severely being affected by trauma and how Richie worked through his problems to make sure he could go back to thriving as a police office, husband, and father. Richie explains what he did which worked for him while also going into detail the negative mindset which almost ended everything for him.  Richie holds a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling while also formally working as a Mental Health Therapist and Social Worker. He currently works in the Spokane Regional Behavioral Health Unit and as part of SPD’s Hostage Negotiation Team.

”How to bring work home to build a Stronger Family", Michael Marotta, Former Law Enforcement  Officer, Training Coordinator at First H.E.L.P.- In this presentation we will discuss how to bring work home to create positive outcomes. So often we hear not to bring work home. We will challenge that notion using R.A.N.G.E. of resiliency to create positive family interactions . We will also discuss how to have a conversation with family using the Results Oriented Communication model . This model can also be used as a conflict resolution tool.  Michael Marotta is a former San Antonio Police Officer with more than 15 years of experience. Michael worked patrol and on the mental health unit. He is trained in hostage negotiation, critical incident stress management, and peer support among a host of other training.  Michael also served his country for 6 years in The United States Air Force as an aircrew member. His last 3 ½ years as a police officer were spent serving his department as a wellness and resiliency officer. In this role he was able to support and navigate officers through work related difficulties, stress, and family issues. His work in wellness also led him to become a trained relationship coach and marriage conference facilitator. Michael believes in protecting the human behind the badge through teaching skills and raising awareness to issues affecting First Responders. Michael now serves the First responders community as the training coordinator for First H.E.L.P, where he hopes to continue to challenge the stigma surrounding first responder mental health.

Certificates of Attendance Available- All attendees will receive a certificate of attendance upon completion of the conference evaluation that can be used for self-submittal.

Registration is $300.00 (plus Humanitix platform fees) and includes the following:
A continental breakfast and lunch will be provided on both days. The venue has limited food choices so if you have dietary restrictions or allergies, please be advised. There will be a Networking Social on February13th from 4:00-6:00 pm @ the venue. This is a great opportunity to get to know others, ask questions and share your ideas and thoughts with other like-minded professionals. Appetizers will be provided and beverages will be available for purchase.

*You must register to attend. Seats are limited for this conference.

A limited amount of scholarships are available for those with financial hardships. Please contact Amanda at for more information.

Please note Everyone will receive a registration confirmation email from our registration platform Humanitix.  There is a possibility your agency's email security system may block those emails or send them to your junk folder.  If you do not receive a confirmation email after registration or an email two weeks prior to the conference, please contact Shawn at

Please note our 30 Day Refund Policy:
There are a lot of costs involved in organizing a conference. The reason we list our 30-day nonrefundable statement on the registration website when an attendee registers, is due to having to purchase everything in advance. We will allow registrations to be transferable, so food and other items don't go to waste. There will be no exceptions to this policy. 

*Accommodations: Conference specials/discounted hotel rates available: Group block/discounted hotel rates available: We have a group block at the Coeur d'Alene Resort for February 12th and 13th, from $109.00 a night to $169.00 a night. Since our original block is consumed, you will need to call the Reservation Department to book additional rooms.  They are available 8 am to 9pm, 7 days a week 888-965-6542. When calling this number, the attendee will still need to press #2, then #1 for Group Reservations. The group block code for reference is: FIRSTRESPONDER23 

All reservations must be accompanied by a non-refundable deposit equal to the first night’s room, tax and surcharges.  Guests can change or cancel reservations up to 14 days prior to arrival to avoid a forfeiture of deposit. If a change or cancellation is made within 14 days prior to arrival, the first night’s room and tax deposit on file will not be refunded.  Check or credit card is accepted for prepayment.  Please book before the cut-off date of January 12, 2023. After this date, rooms not covered by a rooming list or individual reservations shall be released from the Group's room block for general sale.

Please note: We've sold out of our room block a couple of times and continue to ask for more rooms.  If for some reason you are unable to reserve a room at the current block rate, please contact us so we can ask the hotel if it's possible to reserve more rooms. 

We also have an overflow hotel at the SpringHill Suites by Marriott. You will find the online booking link below that auto-populates the dates and group discount. If you prefer to call the front desk to book then you can certainly do that as well. You will need to mention First Responder Conferences and the dates. The last day to book the discounted rate is February 2nd - after that, any unsold rooms in the block will be released to the public at a regular rate. Below is the reservation link:Book your group rate for the 1st Responders Conference


Photograph/Video Disclaimer Statement

1st Responder Conferences (1RC) reserves the right to use any photograph/video taken at any event sponsored by 1RC, without the expressed written permission of those included within the photograph/video. 1RC may use the photograph/video in publications or other media material produced, used or contracted by 1RC including but not limited to: brochures, invitations, books, newspapers, magazines, television, websites, etc. No video recording by attendees permitted.

Waiver of Liability

Some of the material presented at this event may cause emotional triggers. We will have onsite assistance if needed. There will also be additional resources available if needed. This conference is not intended to provide counseling services, whether medical, psychological or of any other kind, nor to diagnose, prevent, cure or treat any disease, disorder or injury. This conference is certainly not intended to replace the advice of a physician. If you need expert advice, please consult a competent professional. This conference is only intended for “educational” use and it should only be used as a guide.


Written consent may be given by speakers, but 1st RC staff will need to be informed prior.

At registration we will have a waiver of liability and a photo release form that must be signed. If you have any questions regarding the waiver please contact us, so we can be of assistance.


Currently there are no mandated restrictions related to COVID. 

At registration we will have a waiver of liability and a photo release form that must be signed. If you have any questions regarding the waiver please contact us, so we can be of assistance.

To download a flyer please visit or contact us for flyers, basic info letters, and sponsor/industry partner/vendor forms for your organizations to share. 

Please note, sometimes we have last minute speaker changes due to unforeseen reasons.

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Refund policy

30 Day Refund Policy There are a lot of costs involved in organizing a conference (Venue, speaker fees, travel costs, hotels, catering, beverages, marketing, conference supplies, programs, lanyards, SWAG bags, etc.). The reason we list the 30-day nonrefundable statement on the registration website when an attendee registers, is due to having to purchase everything in advance. This is why we allow registrations to be transferable, so food and other items don't go to waste. There will be no exceptions to this policy.