Peter Forcelli is a 9/11 Survivor, Retired ATF Executive, and former NYPD Homicide Detective

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In retirement from his role in law enforcement, Peter Forcelli now focuses his time and energy on coaching law enforcement leaders and in speaking out about the importance of self-care, resilience, understanding, and dealing with both PTSD and survivor’s guilt.  He also speaks about law enforcement accountability and his role in blowing the whistle on Operation Fast and Furious, which he did while battling PTSD.  He is also a recurring guest speaker at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

This was an unexpected pleasure. I say that because I heard of Operation Fast and Furious, but I was so consumed with deploying, then chasing money and adrenaline that I didn’t realize it had happened in my old stomping grounds. It was fun reading a book about places and events I have a memory of instead of imagining where this all took place. 

That aside, the man who is telling the story, Peter Forcelli, was an awesome guest. He is so passionate and genuine. I really enjoy talking with him. It was so cool hearing his story, struggles and triumphs. 

There were a few moments that popped out to me personally. In his book he is mentioning being able to tell that someone was likely dead due to the amount of blood he saw while entering a scene. This jumped out to me because knowing that is not a normal thing. The cues that first responders have stored in their minds to help them quickly assess a situation is wild. This reminded me of a chat I had with a medic. He knew before anyone else that the child he was looking at would not survive; he didn’t need to spend any time on her and moved on. Or how an EOD tech can smell sulfur in the air or white phosphorus from a mile away (sarcastic mile). Sound of an explosion to know if it’s incoming or outgoing. Sound of a bullet zipping past or a mortar coming in. 

A person learns a lot and retains a lot from their life experiences. First responders and some combat veterans sometimes have years of learned lessons that help them be better in chaotic situations. I just find it interesting that people who know these things and have them so quickly accessible to be successful are then demonized or looked down on by others for later struggling with the weight of those learned lessons. 

Resources Mentioned:

  • Meditation with Anthony Profeta (
  • Walking, being outdoors
  • Support Structure
  • Medication
  • Doing challenging things
  • Get those dark thoughts out, with a friend, a therapist, spouse, journal…
  • Spending time with family or loved ones
  • Helping other and giving back to your community

We would really appreciate a share and like on IG, FB, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter. I am always looking for veterans or first responders who have PTSD to share how you have raised the quality of your life to hopefully shorten that journey for others. Additionally, if you support, provide services for these groups, or have extensive knowledge of benefits available for these groups please reach out. I would love to have a chat and share that knowledge with the community.

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