concise Analysis of Stress Conflicts and Unions in Criminal Justice Organizations Case Study

Pages: 4 (1314 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] As explained by Patterson (2009), law enforcement organizations generally place the burden of managing personal and organizational stress on individual officers. In essence, there is often little or no acknowledgement of the role of the organizational environment in reducing stress among law enforcement personnel. This largely explains why problems such as inadequate supervision, lack of organizational support, low pay, insufficient staffing, excessive workload, poor training, as well as lack of enough equipment continue to plague police organizations (Patterson, 2009). These problems are further compounded by lack of comprehensive stress management programs.

Alternative Solution

For the department to address the problem of stress amongst its officers more effectively, it is imperative to use an organization-wide approach as opposed to targeting individual police officers. Targeting the organizational environment addresses the root causes of the stress rather than simply seeking to address the symptoms (Patterson, 2009; Neely & Cleveland, 2013). This is particularly because much of the stress experienced by police officers originates from the work environment. Changing the organizational environment implies mobilizing and providing the necessary resources, increasing staffing levels, providing police officers with enough equipment, adjusting workload assignments, providing enough on-the-job training, as well as enhancing the supervisory and managerial environment (Patterson, 2009). Other organization-wide measures include improving pay and adjusting laws relating to compensation claims (Patterson, 2009).

Reorienting the organizational environment does not necessarily imply that police officers will not experience stress. However, it will address the underlying root causes largely, though it cannot prevent exposure to traumatizing encounters such as assaults, murders, rapes, and hostage situations. Accordingly, it would be important to also provide individual stress management programs. These programs focus on several aspects including counseling, cognitive coping, social support, informational support, physical fitness, as well as time management and financial planning (Ellison, 2004; Patterson, 2009). The first step in implementing the programs would be to identify officers prone to stress symptoms using tools such as the Holmes-Rahe Inventory and the Sewell Instrument (More, Vito & Walsh, 2016). Individual stress management programs would supplement the impact of organization-wide measures (Ellison, 2004).

Conclusion

Owing to the unique nature of their work, which exposes them to traumatizing events such as assaults, shootings, murders, and rapes, stress amongst police officers is inevitable. The psychological burden these events impose on police officers is further compounded by organizational inadequacies such as understaffing, excessive workload, shift work, poor supervision, lack of organizational support, as well as inadequate equipment and training. Whereas individual stress management programs are crucial for helping police officers cope with stress, they generally do not address the root causes of stress. It is important for an organization-wide approach to be used in addressing the problem. This specifically entails addressing aspects of the organization that add stress to police officers. Combining individual stress management programs with organizational adjustments is more likely to yield effective outcomes compared to relying on individual approaches alone.

Since addressing the problem in question may require the department to carry out internal investigations, it is important to consider whether the Garrity principle may apply. The Garrity principle essentially implies that though officers may be compelled to provide truthful information during an internal investigation, the information collected may not be used against them in a criminal investigation. The application of this principle would be particularly important in this case as officers would be required to provide critical information about their work or the department that they perceive to be stressful. Even so, officers should be clearly informed that providing false information may result in criminal investigations against them. In essence, it would be vital to protect police officers during the investigation.

References

Ellison, K. (2004). Stress and the police officer. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publisher.

More, H., Vito, G., & Walsh, W. (2016). Organizational behavior and management in law enforcement. U.S.: Pearson.

Neely, P., & Cleveland, C.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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