Prevention and Management of Stress In Officers
The exposure to various stressors is one of the many job hazards that law enforcers in the USA face constantly. Their occupation often puts them in danger while in pursuit of lawbreakers, violent demonstrators, dangerous insurgents, and domestic calls to ensure peace and security is preserved in society. Unfortunately, while the occupation of law enforcement is rewarding to the society, it harms officers. Evidence has shown that they are more likely to die from job-related causes compared to being killed by criminals (Sewell, 2013). Regulating law enforcement officers’ responses to stress is, therefore, not only beneficial to their mental and psychological well-being but also to their job performances and families’ wellness. Several stress management techniques have been developed over the years to deal with this perennial challenge.
Establishing Stress Management Policies and Programs in Law Enforcement Units
Developing assistive programs and policies, such as self-regulation resilience-building program, to help officers who face different types of stress cope with their situation is an excellent way of improving their mental and psychological wellness (McCarty & Skogan 2012; Weltman, 2014). According to Dowler (2005), while developing these policies and programs, it is critical to ensure the inclusivity of all races, gender, and even the families of these officers among other cultural groups. Striking this balance is essential in mending racial and gender divides among law enforcement personnel by disproving perceptions such as law enforcement is a masculine occupation. However, it is imperative for criminal justice agencies to thoroughly plan before establishing advisory boards and committees to be tasked with identifying the most suitable stress management programs for officers to ensure the effectiveness of the policies and programs that they establish.
Professional counseling and mentorship of officers should be incorporated in the workplace. One way to achieve the mentioned intervention is by employing psychologists to monitor and counsel the officers constantly. Such programs will go a long way in helping the officers deal with the professional challenges they face by giving them a platform where they can openly express their emotions in a controlled environment where they are understood and not perceived as weak (Newbold, Lohr & Gist 2008). Supporting officers allows them to work effectively and has great impacts on reducing stress.
Reducing Administrative and Bureaucratic Stressors in Law Enforcement Units
Police administrators can work with relevant bargaining authorities towards reducing their units personnel’s stress by changing various making working conditions more favorable. Excessive workload among law enforcement officers is a major stress trigger and thus ensuring even shift work is a great way of preventing stress in officers (Hickman, Fricas, Storm & Pope, 2011). Dowler (2005) suggests that pairing officers with similar personalities promote job satisfaction and performance among them. Additionally, it is critical to train supervisors in a manner that allows them to be supportive leaders (Hansell & Brandl 2009). Such supervisors are approachable thus will allow officers under them to overcome the stigma that is often associated with asking for help. Hiring psychologists together with supportive supervisors is important for law enforcement units as it would help administrators to easily identify personnel who exhibit attitudes and behavior that suggest they are stressed. As a result, undesired outcomes associated with the problem will be lessened.
Stress is highly prevalent among law enforcement officers. The prevention and management of the issue are, therefore, critical in preserving the health of the officers, relationships among them and those round hem, and enhancing their job performance. Techniques such as establishing stress management policies and programs and reducing administrative and bureaucratic stressors can play a critical role in combating stress among Americas law enforcement personnel.
Dowler, K. (2005). Job satisfaction, burnout, and perception of unfair treatment: The relationship between race and police work. Police Quarterly, 8(4), 476-489.
Hansell, K. &. Brandl, S.G. (2009). An examination of the workplace experiences of police patrol officers: The role of race, sex, and sexual orientation. Police Quarterly, 12(4), 408-430.
Hickman, M. F., Fricas, J., Storm, K. J., & Pope, M.W., (2011). Mapping police stress. Police Quarterly, 14(3), 245.
McCarty, W. &. Skogan, W.G., (2012). Job-related burnout among civilian and sworn police personnel. Police Quarterly, 22(1), 66-84.
Newbold, K. L., Lohr, J.M., & Gist, R. (2008). Apprehended without warrant: Issues of evidentiary warrant for critical incident services and related trauma interventions in a federal law enforcement agency. Criminal Justice and Behaviour, 35(10), 1337-1353.
Sewell., L. T. (Ed.). (2013). Stress management in law enforcement. Carolina Academic Press.
Weltman, G. (2014). Police Department Personnel Stress Resilience Training: An Institutional Case Study. Global Adv Health Med, 3(2), 72-79.