How Stress Hurts Law Enforcement Families
Stress has a direct impact on the personal lives of officers. Research shows that police officers are at an increased risk of divorce due to stress from the job . Officers also have higher rates of divorce than other occupations .
While many spouses exhibit pride in being married to an officer, the reality is that being a law enforcement family is hard. Factors that have a negative impact on police marriages include:
- Shift work and long hours. Shift work is often required in policing to provide adequate police coverage. Working different shifts and extended hours can result in stress at home because officers often have difficulties getting time off for family events.
- Conflict between work and family roles. While on duty, officers must always be prepared to defend themselves and respond quickly to a situation. It can be hard for officers to change this mindset when theyre off duty. Officers must make a concerted effort to step out of that role at the end of their shift when theyre with their families.
- Perceived changes in an officers personality between work and home . On the job, officers tend to be analytical and assertive in order to remain safe, which may result in conflict once at home.
How To Reduce Stress
The good news is that the importance of reducing job-related stress is not going unnoticed by agencies and even the highest level of federal government. In fact, the federal government responded to this problem in the 1994 Omnibus Crime Act where the president and congress recognized the severity of the problem and mandated a federal government response. As a result of this legislation, the National Institute of Justice was assigned the task of sponsoring research on police stress, establishing pilot programs to help officers and departments deal with police stress, and conducting program evaluations on current programs in an effort to support state and local efforts.
American Military University faculty members Mark Bond, Matt Loux, and Dr. Shana Nicholson have written several articles about how police officers can reduce stress specific to police work. Law enforcement officers can reduce stress by:
- Keeping your civilian friends to help you get away from the job. If you socialize with police friends, make a point not to talk about work on your downtime together.
Keep Learning About The Law
It might surprise you to learn that the biggest stressor many police officers report isnt the risk of bullets, but rather plain, old-fashioned bureaucracy. The biggest stressor for a lot of police officers is the work environment, oddly enough, McKenna says. Its the politics, poor supervision, things coming down from administration that dont make sense and so on.
Many officers expect to feel stress on the street, but facing it in the department can be overwhelming. You have the normal problems any organization might have, like favoritism or bad managers, McKenna says. But on top of that, you also have restrictions that are confusing and sometimes unreasonable.
While restrictions are in place to keep people safe, there are some that cause confusion or lack clarity. McKenna says many police departments now have a policy that officers are not allowed to shoot from or into a moving vehicle, which is clearly to keep everyone safe. But then you have these situations where you are surrounding a car and the driver tries to plow through you, McKenna says. Its unlikely that the laws were made with extreme situations in mind. But they make you hesitate, because if you fire on that vehicle, you could be exposed to legal action.
As frustrating as some restrictions can be, officers who understand the laws are better equipped to make smart decisionsand that makes the job less stressful, McKinnon says.
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List Of Police Services Websites
Thank you for your interest in our local police services. Below is a comprehensive list of of the Police Services in Ontario. Once you click the link, you will be directed to the Police website.
Those interested in federal-wide policing can contact the RCMP for job opportunities. Please note that the RCMP does have a different Constable Selection Process and does not require the OACP Certificate in order to apply.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Section 83 of the Comprehensive Ontario Police Services Act, 2019, stipulates a person appointed as a police officer must:
is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada
is at least 18 years of age
is physically and mentally able to perform the duties of the position, having regard to his or her own safety and the safety of members of the public
is of good character
has successfully completed, prescribed training by the Minister
In addition, you must
obtained a University Degree or a diploma from a college of applied arts and technology,
possess a valid driver’s licence with no more than six accumulated demerit-points, permitting you to drive an automobile in Ontario with full driving privileges
have current certification in Standard First Aid Level C CPR by the time the offer of employment is given
be able to pass a security clearance as well as background investigation, credit and reference checks.
This certificate is valid for 2 years. That includes all documents in Part A and the Part B, Part C testing.
Federal Police Force Salary & Benefits
If youre interested in the federal police force, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police offers new hires $53,144/year with an incremental increase to $86,110 within 3 years of employment. Benefits include paid vacation days, an RCMP pension plan, medical, dental and family health plans and group life insurance. The RCMP also offers generous maternity and parental allowances as well as financial support for continuing education and professional development opportunities.
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Stop Feeling So Sorry For Predators That You Excuse Their Actions
Criminals are very good at making people feel sorry for them. This especially applies to habitual, predatory individuals. They are going to see themselves as the victims, and try to win people over to their side. How else are they supposed to keep committing crimes? Rapists, drug dealers, arsonists, and bank robbers are not nice people. Yes they all have a story, and many of them have had a hard life. Join the club. This is not an excuse.
How To Help Police Officers Respond To Persons In Mental Health Crisis
This post was co-authored by Michelle Heyland, DNP, APN, PMHNP-BC and Mona Shattell, PhD, RN, FAAN.
There will be more officers on the streets of Chicago but these extra officers wont stop events like what happened Tuesday evening in the Bronx a New York Police Department officer fatally shot a woman with a known history of mental illness after they were called to contain a situation. The officer described the womans behavior as irrational and reported that she threatened him with scissors and then struck him with a baseball bat. The officer reacted, with deadly force.
Officers need help more crisis intervention training, and more programs that partner psychiatric mental health nurses with officers.
Incidents like what happened in NY this week are unfortunately, increasingly common. Police officers on our streets and correctional officers in our jails are first line responders for individuals in mental health crisis. In the state of Illinois, agencies have operated all year without a state budget community mental health centers have had to close or at the very least decrease services and staff. And its not because there arent people in our communities who need mental health services.
The so called safety net has nearly completely disintegrated.
Better and more training for police officers.
Partner with psychiatric mental health nurses
We can save lives and avoid fatal incidents like the one in NY Tuesday night.
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Our Tax Dollars Should Be Invested In More Humane And Just Alternatives To Policing
That includes funding health care workers to respond to mental health emergenciesinstead of the police. It also means shifting our resources to transformative justice approaches that support survivors and work directly with the person who has caused harm through community-based systems of accountability. Under these models, community members work together to keep each other safe.
The human costs of investing in policinginstead of our communitieshave been social as well as financial. We have created a society that looks to policing as the answer to our problemsboth real and imaginedcalling the police not only in emergencies, but also in response to white peoples fears or annoyance in many situations where people of color are simply trying to live their lives.
Defunding police is one step we can take to free up resources and public imagination for more just and humane approaches to community safety and shared well-being. Its time to defund the police.
How Do Police Officers Help The Community
There are about 800,000 police officers in the United States. Police officers protect the lives and property of citizens. They maintain order, catch lawbreakers, and work to prevent crimes. Also called peace offers, police officers have different responsibilities depending upon the size and structure of the communities in which they serve. Police officers may patrol the streets on foot or in squad cars, control traffic, or work as detectives investigating crimes. At the police station, officers may be assigned to work in the crime laboratory or the records department. All officers file reports of incidents, and many testify at trials and hearings.
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Police Officers Mental Health Problems And Needs
Many studies have shown that the incidence of multiple forms of mental illness among police officers is higher than in civilians. Police officers with mental illness can suffer devastating consequences. These include diminished capacity at work and, tragically, increased suicide risk. Depression in police officers tends to increase their sense of hopelessness, the lead predictor for suicide. The current climate of anti-police sentiment and overt violence toward law enforcement can exacerbate this hopelessness.
The more trauma police officers experience witnessing or actively involved in dealing with traumatic situations, the greater the likelihood theyll develop PTSD. The tough guy attitude prevalent among law enforcement only exacerbates the effects of PTSD, depression, anxiety and substance abuse. Instead, individuals seek unhealthy means of coping with the overwhelming stressors. So, too, is the feeling that its necessary to move on too quickly after a traumatic event. That just minimizes the PTSD, doing nothing to resolve it.
For those struggling with PTSD, certain behavioral therapies and medications may help:
Police officers mental health problems will not magically go away on their own. Meanwhile, the officers, their colleagues and everyone they encounter can be affected by untreated mental health problems.
S To Seeking Care For Law Enforcement And Mental Health
Its important to note that substance abuse, depression, PTSD and other mental health problems wont go away on their own. This isnt something that can be willed away or ignored. Without proper treatment, the problems will continue to worsen, resulting in ever-escalating negative consequences. However, not just any treatment program will suffice.
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Pass The Post Exam & Become A Police Officer
In order to work as a police officer, aspiring applicants must pass the Peace Officer Standards and Training or Police Officer Standards and Training exam. Commonly known as the POST exam, this is required for each state except Hawaii . Each state has subtle differences in their testing procedure, requirements, and the test itself, so its important to do in-depth research on the test your particular state requires.
Examsfor police officers include not only the POST written examination which includes an evaluation of grammar, reading comprehension, andwriting but other points as well, such as physical agility,medical health, psychological fitness, background review, and an oralinterview. Some states might add other requirements, such as apolygraph test. Once these tests are satisfactorily passed, graduatesare ready to work as police officers. The procedure it takes to getfrom passing the tests to wearing the badge depends on the state andin some cases, the department itself.
Blessing Bags For Police Officers
How to Help Police Officers
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Folgers but all opinions expressed here are mine.
The best part of waking up each morning is my children piling into our bed as Folgers fills the air. Their sweet voices and tendency to put their appendages in strange places is an affinity I aspire to have. I sit in bed each morning, and I count my blessings. It is the way I start my morning with purpose. It is the mantra I have for my life.
Live with a plan and let the plan be the service of others.
It is easier to be nice when you will get something in the equation. It is easier to go to work when the job is easy. It is easy to say Yes if you know the outcome of the question will be a favorable one.
I will always say Yes to someone else making me a cup of Folgers and cleaning up the kitchen. I will not always say Yes to, Mom, can I make you breakfast? That automatic Yes once landed a bowl of cereal in front of me with a large scoop of lox spread. Yes, salmon spread and cereal arent going to win a cooking competition anytime soon, but the thought process of combining my two favorite breakfast ideas was a good one.
When I spoke with Folgers about my commitment to our country, my community, and the people who matter in my life we decided that telling them they mattered was paramount.
Telling people they matter is the most important action you can take each day.
I am filling mine with:
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Law Enforcement Resistance To Seeking Help
Among law enforcement, theres strong resistance to seeking help. Police officers with mental illness, especially, dont want to voluntarily ask for assistance. Why? According to the Ruderman Family Foundation study, police officers cited the following reasons for why theyre reluctant to seek help:
Body Cameras Trainings And Other So
In Minneapolis and other U.S. cities, body cameras and other reform measures were implemented as part of the Obama administrations multimillion-dollar response to the call for police accountabilityand have proven largely ineffective.
- Body cams are regularly shut off by police and do not result in less violent behaviorwhile increasing surveillance of those being policed.
- Trainings on implicit bias for police have shown no demonstrable effect. In fact in Chicago, it was found that officers accused of abuses were leading the training.
- Community policingthe idea that if police and community work together, there will be more trust in the policedoesnt work, either. The practice deputizes white and wealthy community members to surveille their neighbors, resulting in even more police actions based on racist attitudes and beliefs.
Meanwhile, police murders continue, with 1,002 people shot and killed by police already this year.
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Breaking The Stigma And Silence About Mental Distress And Suicidality In Police
Posted April 7, 2020
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, middle-aged men have the highest rate of suicide in the US. In fact, 2018 statistics indicate that men died by suicide 3.6 times more often than women.
Some groups of men may be at particular risk of suicide, with some research indicating that police officers have a higher rate than the general population. Indeed a recent report found that more police officers die by suicide than die in the line of duty. Another study found that 1 in 4 police officers have thoughts of suicide during their lives.
Such suicides are often related to mental distress. Police officers must regularly deal with disturbing and traumatic events including murder, rape, and violence. They are often at risk of assault and abuse and can work long, unsociable hours under constant physical and mental strain.
Fortunately, there is a growing recognition that more action is needed to foster positive mental health in the police. For example, the International Association of Chiefs of Police has developed considerable resources for mental health and suicide prevention for police across the world.
For every one person that dies by suicide, 280 people think seriously about suicide but go on with their lives. These stories of hope are not being told, but they’re so vital and can help change the way we think about suicide and mental health.
Engaging the Media and Entertainment Industry
The Police Officers Guide To Addiction And Mental Health
Every day police officers face a unique set of stressors that can make them more vulnerable to mental illness and addiction. Life and death situations can occur without warning and require immediate action from the trained officers serving the nations cities, suburbs, towns, villages, and rural areas.
Without proper coping mechanisms, police officers may sink into addiction and develop mental health issues and, because of a blue line culture of stoicism and silence, those in law enforcement may be more reticent to ask for help.
Yet, help is what they need. It is reassuring that police officers mental health is now the focus of an increasing number of addiction and mental health treatment programs.
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Apply To Become A Police Officer
Working as a police officer is a popular job, so it makes sense that each job opening has more than a few applicants. In fact, in some areas of the country, becoming a police officer can be a highly competitive process, with hundreds of qualified applicants vying for only a handful of positions. Given this, its very important to learn how to stand out from the pack of hopefuls and get the attention of those who call the shots when hiring time rolls around. The following resources can help you with everything from cleaning up your resume to understanding how to interview for the job you really want.