Home » Crime » Police Stress Research Paper

Police Stress Research Paper

“Stress is simply a fact of nature — forces from the inside or outside world affecting the individual. ” (Stoppler, MD, p 1) Today’s officers face many obstacles on and off the job. Stress is generally one of the first of many challenges thought of that an officer faces on a daily basis. When one thinks of all the places stress can come from, a person who is asked to take a stand on other people’s stressors, like a police officer, just adds on to the stress each one of the individual officers has already in their own lives outside of the work area. As a society, we are asking these men and women to put their lives on the line for our own ersonal issues causing stress for us, and ultimately, adding to the stress of the officer as well.

II. Reasons for stress When one thinks of a police officer they tend to think of how “easy” cops have it. Some might say police officers are just lazy and do not actually do their jobs the way they should. That is not the case with all people though. If you walked into a classroom of students who have been discussing policing, they might have different answers on their personal views about police officers and their jobs. Stressful” would typically be a word that comes to mind with those discussing this topic. Police fficers face stressful situations on a daily basis.

The more serious situations of stress would probably be dealt with by those officers who have constant contact and communication with civilians. A police officer has the possibility of facing life and death situations multiple times in as little as one day’s time. This is not something they go into work asking for, but it does happen. Officers know what is asked of them when they step into that uniform and strap on their gun and badge.

We see it on the side of their patrol cars, they are here to protect and serve the community. Sometimes, things go wrong and police officers re killed in the line of duty. It is a risk the police are willing to take, but it is not something they want to happen. This thought in the back of an officer’s mind is a key factor in stress for police. Other key factors contributing in police officer stress are “Human Indecency and Pain, Internal and Personal Stressors, Criminal Justice System, Safety, and Administrative Stressors” (Walker, p 1).

First, we have human indecency and pain, this is stress related to dealing with pain caused by seeing people, mostly the elderly and children, fall victim to harsh crimes and having to put aside one’s own feelings. Also, having to get inside a criminal’s mind can cause extra stress. Those who specialize in homicide, gang units, and special victims’ units all have this extra stress related to human indecency and pain, given the fact that their job is concentrated on those in particular types of crimes. Next, we have internal and personal stressors.

Internal stressors are related to bodily harm due to fatigue. When police officers switch shifts going from grave yard shifts to day shifts their internal clocks are thrown off. Especially if an officer is on call, they could be out the door and off to work at any time. Now, personal stressors are contributed to relationships. This is directed towards relationships with family and friends. Making adjustments to an officer’s daily routine can cause relationships to fall through the cracks or put extra pressure on those around the officer dealing with the stress.

The following topic is the criminal justice system itself. Having to deal with other agencies who demand certain things that make an officer go out of their way and off task. Also, taking time out of one’s own duties to attend court where a criminal ultimately gets released can increase stress in a police officer’s life. If an fficer feels that their job is not being valued or taken seriously the stress to do a better job or figure out another way to make things run more smoothly will continue to add stress to an officer’s life.

We discussed safety of one’s life, in terms of the possibility of death as an outcome, but something as little as carrying a gun for some officers causes them to add stress to their lives. Then we have administrative stressors. These deal with officers believing they are being watched inside their own departments as well as off the clock too. Female officers may feel they have an extra weight of pressure trying to live up to heir male counterparts.

III. Solutions to the challenge To find a solution to the challenges of stress in a police officer’s life will be a difficult task to do. There are so many factors that contribute to the stress in an officer’s life that it is hard to mately pin point one are stressor goes, not much can be done besides ultimately keeping an officer on a certain shift or prolonging the time frame in which the officer is assigned to that certain shift. Human indecency and pain stressors cannot be completely erased from the mind, but they can be discussed. Most police officers are not ining up to discuss how they feel about seeing certain things on the job. Mostly, because they feel it will show a sign of weakness.

If officers felt it was alright to open up about how a certain case got stuck in their mind or how they could not deal mentally or emotionally with victims, then these stressors could be made more manageable. Dealing with the way one agency works with another was tested during the time of 9/11. Each federal department thought it had more pull and say in what was to happen during the course of this tragedy. Eventually, the government stepped in and created a department to assure all epartments worked together.

It is just a matter of both sides agreeing on things and not trying to pull rank just because they have the “authority”. With time, officers will come to realize they have no say in what a judge or jury decides on the verdict of an offender. An officer may give the best testimony and have all their I’s dotted and T’s crossed, but that one testimony is not always what makes a deciding factor. Officers will usually begin to grow a tough layer of skin to this stressor. Safety is just an issue that officers will always have stress about. Accidents will happen. The unimaginable can happen, especially in the line of of focus.

As far as the internal work a police officer is involved in. As long as an officer follows guidelines and procedures the risk can sometimes be kept to a minimum but, like each person knows, a police officer knows their life may be at risk every day when in uniform. Administrative stressors could be reduced if higher ranking officers with authority made their fellow officers feel as though they did not have to always watch their backs. Positive feedback from other officers would make others feel like they were doing their jobs well, and this stressor could be decreased.

IV. Conclusion Many officers deal with multiple types of stressors; from their administrators to victims to thoughts of being killed in the line of duty, as well as thoughts of possible suicide. It is hard to tell a person to not worrying about possibly being injured or killed when they are about to walk into an armed situation. While most situations involved in police officer stress cannot be eliminated they can be managed and decreased. Stress is just one of the many challenges that police officers face in their everyday lives, but it is a big factor at one point in time or another for each individual.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this essay please select a referencing style below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.