Some of the world’s most-loved and well-known superheroes include Superman, Batman, and Spiderman. However great these superheroes may appear, their fictional stories also include stressors that they face everyday, such as the villains that they encounter and the pressure of being a hero and an everyday citizen. In this way, stress often negatively impacts the lives of the ones who watch over every neighborhood, every street, and every house. Such is the job of a police officer. Because stress has become an important topic in the community of law enforcement, things that are commonly discussed are the causes of stress, the effects of stress, and the handling of stress in the lives of police officers. To begin, the many sources of stress in …show more content…
The negative views of everyday people often make work hard for officers, adding more stress to their careers. The general public regularly criticizes officers for using excessive force and brutality, especially when a police officer ends up killing a suspect or criminal. Oftentimes, especially when a white police officer shoots a citizen of a minority race, the general public is quick to find faults in the officer, blaming the officer for being racist. However, cold, hard statistics show that the majority of police officers are, in fact, white, and the neighborhoods in which these officers are placed in tend to be high-crime areas with many minority citizens living there (Miller “When Cops Kill”). In addition, people might say that a citizen who was shot was not armed; however, almost anything close to the shot individual could have been turned into a deadly weapon that he or she could have used to wound or kill the officer involved. Whenever officers are in this position, the natural reaction is to defend themselves. Everyday, police officers confront the most aggressive, immoral, and sick-minded individuals of society. Officers jeopardize their own lives every time they report for work. Officers witness things that no person should ever have to encounter. They see the most horrific and gruesome scenes that the general public turns away from and …show more content…
First, stress in the lives of police officers often result in poor performance from sleep deprivation and panic. Sleep deprivation is one effect that stress can have on officers. The fatigue that stress causes can very literally kill the affected officer. Many times, officers hold anxiety inside them. When they are in bed, they are oftentimes let alone to think, which leads to many “racing thoughts” and “what if’s” (Koeling). Thinking about such things can keep officers awake for hours, leaving them fatigued and sleep-deprived when they report for work the next day. More causes of sleep deprivation are due to stressful, long shifts and odd hours (Casey). As a third-shift security guard for four years, Carl Koeling has had his share of sleep deprivation. In a recent interview, he said that when he stood a sleep-deprived watch, he remembers feeling “lightheaded and woozy” (Koeling). As a psychologist for thirty-eight years, Koeling also knows that fatigue caused by stress can also affect officers’ judgement, balance, and physical health (Koeling). It is vital that these three things be working properly for those in law enforcement, as the work they do often depends on good decision-making, decent balance, and high levels of physical fitness and well-being (Miller “Law Enforcement”). Panic is another effect that stress can have on police officers.
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The impact of rotating shift work on police officers in terms of fatigue, increased stress, and other long term medical problems cannot be overstated. In 2011, an in-depth research project, “Sleep disorders, health, and safety in police officers” (JAMA, 2011), was conducted involving a group of North American police officers in regards to the sleep disorders and the health and safety of the officers participating. The study involved 4,957 officers that worked rotating shifts over a period of approximately two years. The findings were startling and revealed that 3,930 officers (79.3%) were overweight or obese. Another 40.7% tested positive for at least one (1) sleep disorder and the majority of those that tested positive for a disorder had not previously been diagnosed with any sleep condition. 28.5% of the officers reported excessive sleepiness during the study while another 45.9% of the officers reported falling asleep at the wheel at least one (1) to two (2) times a month. Participants were also found to exhibit other adverse work related issues such as displaying uncontrolled anger at suspects and increased rates of absenteeism. The study concluded that, “sleep disorders were common and were significantly associated with increased risk of self-reported adverse health, performance, and safety outcomes” (JAMA, 2011, p. 2). Participants involved in the study reported higher levels of citizen complaints against officers that tested positive for sleep disorders. According to some research, the increase in complaints may be attributed to the fact that officers suffering from excessive sleepiness may be unable to “govern appropriate behavioral responses to negative emotional stimuli” based on their levels of fatigue (JAMA, 2011, p....
There are an estimate 623,000 police officers employes in the United States. It haas been argued that police officers are at increased risk for mortality as a result of their occupation. The average age of death for a police officer is 66 years old. (Law Enforcement Wellness Association) The ability to cope with stressful incidents is a personal journey that depends on an officer's past experiences with trauma. Appropriate development of coping strategies for stress is the ability to talk to family, friends, and other officers and to be able to recognize the dangers of ignoring signs and symptoms of post-incident stress. Regardless of an officer's personal experiences with traumatic incidents, avoiding, ignoring, or burying the emotional aftermath of a traumatic event can lead to serious short- and long-term consequences. Many officers believe that substance use and abuse is the best way to cope with their otherwise unbearabl...
Police shootings occur all over the world but are a huge problem within the United States. We continue to hear more and more about them. These shootings are making headlines. Front page news it seems almost weekly. All the shootings go one of two ways. Either a Police Officer has been shot or a Police Officer has shot a citizen, but either way the final result is death. Whether an Officer has been shot or an Officer has shot someone these cases seem to be related to one thing, fear. People in today’s society feel as though they can’t trust Police Officers as they are there to hurt and kill them. And Police Officers feel as though they are in danger of doing their everyday duties because people see them as the “bad guys” and want to hurt or kill them. Yes, police brutality and racism still exist, but not all cops are bad. Yes there are still bad citizens in this world that want to kill and harm others, but not all citizens are bad. People seem to react to these shootings by rioting quickly after a police officer has shot and killed someone without
It is important that law enforcement officers are able to handle stress and build his or her zone of stability. Officers have a ready-made support system in each other. They better understand the special problems and feelings that come with the job that friends and family members don’t. That doesn’t necessarily mean that this relationship with their fellow officers will cure all. Sometimes, because of the “macho” image that police officers uphold, they will give back negative feedback in a situation where an officer needs comfort. For example, an officer shoots someone in the line of duty and is having an emotional struggle with it, and a fellow officer (who thinks he is supporting that officer) makes a comment like, “Good job, that dirt bag deserves it.” In a situation like that, a fellow officer feels worse and more stressed. It is very important for management, whether police or correctional, to make sure that they can properly help out their officers when needed. There are many things that happen on the streets and in prison that can severely effect an officer. It is only with a good management system and staff that officers will have the proper support to move on.
...ly and friends. In addition, use physical exercise to help work through the stress and take care of your body through rest, relaxation and massage (Police stress). We as a society must push for better psychological treatment of our officers and make sure that they are receiving the proper training and diffuse techniques while in the academy. After all they are there to protect and serve us, so who better to protect them but society.
Police managers must evaluate the level of fatigue officers experience, the quality of their sleep and how tired they are while working, as well as their attitudes toward fatigue and work hours’ issues (Vila, 2009). Mangers should employ these strategies: administering sleep quality tests and training supervisors to identify signs of sleep deprivation. For example, falling asleep during a watch briefing and on how to deal with those who are too fatigued to work
Police officers have one of the highest suicide rates in the country. The daily stress that police officers face both on and off the job is a major contributing factor to that sobering statement. Police culture in the past failed to recognize stress as a problem affecting their officers. While being a police officer, officers have to learn to separate work from home life, however it is sometimes hard for the officers to leave their work at work and their home life at home. Sometimes, when these two worlds collide it creates a great deal of stress. As a result, officers have the second highest divorce rate in the country and often turn into problem drinkers to cope with the issues that they face (Constant, T). Also, the unmanaged stress of
Policing can be a highly stressful profession due to the implications that are inherent to the emergency service profession. The unpredictability of police work can have a significant impact on the stress level of police over time (Hickman, Fricas, Strom, Pope 2011), which has been shown to foster the ability to reduce one’s psychological well-being for a given period of time (Johnson, Todd and Subramanian 2005). It is often suggested that policing is a stressful profession in itself as police are often exposed to disturbing events through the very nature of their job. Violanti and Aron studied organizational and inherent stressors among police stressors officers. Organizational stressors where those related to the structure of the police
Proponents argue that police officers are responsible for maintaining order and peace within a society, act as protectors of the weak and defenseless, and do so at the risk of injury to themselves or even the loss of their own life. In addition, proponents argue that in the execution of an officer’s job it is necessary to come into physical contact with subjects to effect an arrest of violators, which increases the odds of a physical confrontation and raises the chances of the officer’s being assaulted. More than likely, police officers choose their profession because of their desire to help others, to protect members of society who cannot protect themselves, and to stop those who violate the law. It is unlikely that police officers become police thinking that being assaulted is a requirement or criteria of their profession. Moreover, it is apparent that police officers realize and readily accept the fact that they may be put in harm’s way, and may risk serious injury or even death to protect people they do not even know.
Many people overlook the misuse of alcohol within policing. Alcoholism and heavy drinking is a huge issue when one talks about the police world today. The article, Police and Alcohol Use: A Descriptive Analysis and Associations with Stress Outcomes written by Violanti et al., does an excellent job conducting a study on alcohol use by police officers. The focus of this study was to look at how demographics, life events and police stress are important factors that can be linked to alcohol use. This article is interesting because it looks at the outcomes of stress rather than what causes stress among officers. In addition, it is interesting because it addresses the issue of alcoholism in the police force, which is usually overlooked
The job stress consequences in correctional officers revealed that the correctional officer life expectancy is 59 years that is compared for the national average to 75 years. As manifested stress in various physical illnesses includes heart attacks, hypertension and ulcers that found to be higher in comparison to police officers sample. However, in general divorce and alcoholism rates are higher for the officers of correctional than in general for the population. Due to which organizations of correction spend enormous sums annually for liability claims, compensation, and sick leave. Stress among administrators and a correctional officer are often occurred by the rehabilitation and custody conflicting goals, the correctional system’s
Law enforcement personnel face many unique challenges on a daily basis. If not controlled properly, stress may not only affect an officer's well-being, but also the ability to protect themselves and the citizens they serve. There is plenty of evidence and research showing unmanaged stress can lead to anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (Bond, 2014). However, there are steps that law enforcement officers can take to reduce the amount of stress from which they suffer.
Police officers’s with a high-level of stress are encourage to seek help from their department. The Employee Assistance Program helps law enforcement agencies to provide medical assiatnce not only for them, but their families as well. Stress can take an effect to a police officer behavior, which can cloud their judgment when encountering a criminal. Also, stress can affect families, which can lead to domestic violence, lack of sleep, and divorce. The psychological mindset can lose the trsut within the community. In recent decades, police officer was the trusted organization in the United States, but it is now becoming a situation on the concerns for their safety. In addition, professions do not come natural in people behavior, they learn from the mentors that are provided and how the envornment function around
Law enforcement is an important element of the United States’ system of criminal justice apart from the corrections and the courts. It is one of the major functions of the various governmental agencies of police. It is therefore concerned with police service or functions of police departments. In this paper, the author analyzes at law enforcement and related issues. Specifically, the author discusses law enforcement, theoretical understanding of the different models of policing as well as policing styles. The author also looks at the question of stress associated with the life of a police officer and how such stress affects them. This is a purely theoretical discussion based on secondary sources of information. Time and resources constraints could not allow for a more empirical, experimental fieldwork research. The materials relied upon are mainly journal articles from respectable academic journals and databases.
Law enforcement officers have to meet various demands and adapt to various situations which can be stressful. There are four types of stress that individuals endure who works within law enforcement: (a) organization stress – emotional and stressful effects that is brought on due policies and practice; (b) task-related stress – stems from being overworked, conflict in roles, situations requiring use of force, etc; (c) external stress – frustration from the courts, prosecutor’s office, media, or correctional system; (d) personal stress – stress that have to do with marriage, health, addiction, and lack of accomplishments (Bartol & Bartol, 2012).