Research Paper: Stress Among the Police

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Police Officer's Stress: Causes And Effects

This research will identify causes and effects of police officer's stress. The paper will also discuss various measures for managing stress in police departments. Today, stress plays a part in the lives of every individual. Stress is anything, which poses a threat or a challenge to a person's well being. For instance, stress at work often impact employees mentally, emotionally and physically; this usually happens if the employees cannot cope with pressure, which thereafter triggers physiological responses. The purpose of this research paper is to describe how stress negatively affects the police officers. The research method to be used will rely upon Internet sources and professional papers such as free access journals and published magazines. It is therefore, recommended that Police officers to be well trained on how they can manage their stress more effectively. The police departments on the other hand, should ensure that they take the responsibility in training and combating officer's stress by providing them with confidential counseling especially to individuals who are negatively affected by job stress.

Introduction

Today, high level of stress related illnesses are said to cause a great concern across different industries. Despite the fact that the legislative are working hard to improve this situation, there are still various things to be done such as identifying the key work related stressors. The police work is regarded as an inherently stressful and difficult because of personal risk of exposure to violence and day-to-day involvement of traumatic incidents. As a result, this may lead to high levels of stress related symptom. Research has also shown that many police officers who have stress get to such state as a result of the quantity of work they do at their workplaces. These stresses usually come in different forms both from internal or external pressure. For example, in the case of police officers, this has become a major problem in the fact that in most cases, they are assigned to do shift work, which they have to perform regardless of special occasions or holidays. However, it is noted that something that may stress one officer may not necessarily affect or stress another officer in the same way. As a result, these have helped many police officers to react to certain situations presented in dissimilar ways. For example, in a scenario where two officers have been assigned for a project deadline of a period less than one hour; in this case, one officer may thrive to work on the project whereas the other officer may feel stressed up to meet the deadline.

Causes and Effects

Police officer's stress comes from a variety of sources. These include autonomic arousal as well as, being involved in risky situations. Stress affects police officers emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. Family members and friends of the individual can also be affected as well. Conversely, the communities can also be affected indirectly by law enforcement officer's stress as a result of reduced quantity and quality service. Many police officers believe that stress is not a problem, which requires attention; therefore, each person may be in a better place of finding solution to it in spite of it causing various problems in the police officer's social life and profession. The officers tend to experience frequent stressors in their workplaces. The stressors may range from cumulative stress to critical incidents, which include mass disasters and violent crimes. Stressors have a significant impact on officers given that the police officers who endure stress for a long period of time usually develop depression and anxiety.

It has really become critical for the police officers to understand the causes and effects of stress at their workplace Snipes (2004). This has enabled them to open acknowledgement and discussion of the subject. To help them implement a prevention plan before it actually occurs. Various factors causing stress to the police officers include; poor management, excessive overtime, regular changes in duties and frequent rotating shifts. In summary stress have negative effects both on police officers and their children, which may eventually affect the department through impaired officer performance related problems such as, low morale, increased sick leave and decreased motivation. Today, the negative consequences for such departments are profound because they lower the productivity within the organization. In addition, stress can also lead to health problems, which are not just physical, but mental and emotional as well. Most police officers tend to develop a habit of not communicating properly with their spouses as well as, families this may be unhealthy for the entire family Baker (2008). There are more significant problems that may result from failing to manage the stress of police officers.

Measures to help solve the problem

Most departments are focusing on how they can provide a long-term for counseling to stressed police officers. Today, most police officers are using a variety of coping methods that help them in dealing with stress; some have positive effects while some are less adaptive. This has forced the Police Stress Unit (PSU) to provide a confidential response for police officers with no external interference from their agency. Various measures attempts have also been put in place to help solve the problem of stress affecting the police officers. However, a study revealed that any attempt to control the stress will have to take into consideration both individual as well as, organizational factors since the two are inextricably linked to each other. In case of individual factors, the police officers will then be educated on how to manage stress especially when experiencing stress (Snipes, 2004).

According to Baker (2008), "Policing is a psychologically stressful work environment filled with danger, high demands, ambiguity in work encounters, human misery and exposure to death." Baker also argues that intervention is necessary to help the police officers deal with stressful occupation. He says "we want to educate police officers on how to survive at most 30 years of police work, police officers need to learn how to relax and think differently about things they experience as cops." A study has shown that a number of occupations have become at a high risk for a stress. As a result, the policing organizations managed to come up with programs that are based on counseling and peer support models. However, the implementation of stress management and prevention program at the beginning requires an increased use of personnel as well as, resources. This should not necessarily be the case because the program on the other hand may lead to long-term cost savings, increased morale, high productivity as well as, enhanced community-police relations. Therefore, an implementation of a multi-faceted program will help to address both stress and incident stress. The program will allow all the officers to create and sustain a positive working environment, whereas all police officers will have equal opportunity of fulfilling their potential within the profession. The other measure to help solve the problem of stress in police officers is counseling services. An external provider of counseling services may be chosen to address the issue in anonymity and confidentiality since these are essential to a successful program. Measures such as limiting the on-duty hours as well as, making work rotations from high stress to lower stress functions can also be of advantage to people having stress. Other measures include development of a Law Enforcement Survival Institute by the police department. This Institute may be used by the government on educating the police officers on how to create and sustain success in their careers as law enforcement professionals. In most cases, it is usually the primary objectives and goals of the Law Enforcement Survival Institute to ensure that they become the preeminent source for training and educating the stressful individuals on how they can be happy as they provide superior law enforcement service to the community. This… [END OF PREVIEW]

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