Policepersons who experience stress for an extended period may have depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic disorder. PTSD is marked by an inability to be intimate, increased nightmares, inability to sleep, and increased feelings of guilt. Stress among police officers may be caused by two main factors: work-related and individual factors. First, broken or inadequate equipment as the police officers have to work with modern and most efficient equipment. In case, they lack they are likely to have to stress when dealing with criminals who have more efficient firearms than theirs ("Causes of Officer Stress and Fatigue," 2017). Second, police officers may experience stress as result of working overtime for a long period. All workers need to work for a given maximum amount of time per day and increasing this time for a long period leads to stress making the work more difficult. Third, poor management since some of the police stations are managed by incompetent personnel. Police officers need to be managed by competent individuals who will be able to address their issues.
Fourth, regular changes in duties may be stressful to the police officers. For instance, police officer spending time intervening in a violent domestic dispute and the next day spending most of the time filling out domestic paperwork. Fifth, family problems may be another major cause of stress among police officers. People who experience frequent domestic violence and siblings wrangles may not be able to do their work effectively due to mental disturbances. Sixth, financial problem brought about by low pay among the police officers. The government needs to know the importance of paying their workers adequately to ensure they are highly motivated which will lead to high productivity. Lastly, some officers take the second job as a way of making an extra income, and this would lead to stress due to excess working hours ("Causes of Officer Stress and Fatigue," 2017).
The major effects of stress among police officers are numerous as they are at risk of having insomnia, high blood pressure, heart problems, increased levels of destructive stress hormones, and post-traumatic stress disorder. These effects may make the life of police officers to be difficult, especially social life. This may lead to divorce as they cannot relate to their spouse well as most of the time is spent on the work and in case they get home they are exhausted to carry out domestic chores. Stress may lead to less job performance as the police officers are less productive when they are highly stressed. The police officer is likely to have poor health since they have a poor appetite when stressed and overworked (Beshears, 2017).
The supervisors in charge of police departments can observe various indicators to know when their colleagues are under stress. One, officers who are under stress tend to take many sick leaves as a way of avoiding work environment that makes them experience much stress in their lives. Second, the officers do not care about tardiness, and most of them arrive at work past the required time. When the supervisor realizes that cases of lateness are uncountable, he/she should know that something is not well at all. Third, the suicide rate among officers who have a stressful career is high, and the moment a supervisor realizes such incidences he/she should be ready to take his/her officers for counseling and therapy. Lastly, the officers will record low productivity when under stress. The supervisor should compare the trend of the productivity among the officers and in case she/he realizes that it is reducing he should know that these workers are under stress.
The management should be vigilant on how to manage in order to ensure police officers are productive as much as possible. The supervisor can use the following methods to manage stress among the police officers. First, the supervisor should ensure that the police officers are going to visit their doctors more often for check-ups. Second, the police officers should be aware of their scheduled vacations to enable them to manage their time well. When police officers have a thorough knowledge of when they will be given a vacation they will be able to save an adequate amount of money and plan how to spend their time productively. Also, they will be able to spend quality time with their families. Third, the supervisors should educate their other police officers about planning their meals and how to make healthy choices. The police officers should be aware of the negative impact of eating food that has high-calories and the kind of healthy food to substitute with to ensure their health is good.
Fourth, the supervisor should ensure that the police officers are sharing their workload and decrease the amount of overtime that one is supposed to be on duty. Police officers do not like working overtime since in most cases they are not paid. (Beshears, 2017) Fifth, the management should educate the officers about the importance of exercising regularly to ensure they are physically and mentally fit. Additionally, supervisors should ensure their officers have enough time to sleep and reduce their caffeine intake. Lastly, due to internal wrangles that may arise among the officers with their colleagues, supervisors should know how to solve these cases amicably. Working with people who are not ready to cooperate is very stressful, and most of the officers are not ready to reports such cases to their department, but competent supervisors should be able to identify them and solve them.
Police officers live in an environment full of drug dealers, murders, thieves, and other major criminals who threaten their lives every day. This means that the officers are prone to stressful life, but the fact is that they hardly seek counseling assistances. Counseling is offered as either mandatory or voluntary option but is one of the most underutilized tools in police officers arsenal (Shallcross, 2017). One of the major reasons why police officers are reluctant to seek counseling services is because of the stigma that arises from the process. They believe that once the management realizes that someone underwent counseling, he/she will not be treated the same anymore. They will believe that the person has mental conditions and he will be put under close supervisions as if cannot manage himself or make major decisions. Also, they fear that their colleagues will not be ready to work or cooperate with them as they are seen as lunatics. Generally, there is a negative impression that is associated with visiting a counseling department after a person has been demoted from his regular duty after making a certain mistake. Lastly, most officers do not trust the professionals offering these services as they believe sharing confidential information with them, the information will be later be disclosed to the public. The supervisors can communicate with their juniors to assure them the feeling they are experiencing is a common one and very soon they will be feeling as normal after going for therapy more often. Supervisors should assure the officers that the information that they will share will the counselor will remain confidentially and the members of the public cannot receive such information (Shallcross, 2017).
The supervisors should build a good relationship with their clients as this ensure the officers have trust with whoever who is offering the services to them. When the officers realize that personal information they shared with an officer was shared with other people, they are not likely to come back for the services. Therapists should give their officers a way forward on how to deal with their stress and trauma and carry out their activities as usual. The officers do not visit therapy departments because they fear that they are likely to be put under investigations hence this trend should be stopped to encourage more officers to seek counseling services.
Beshears, M. (2017). How police can reduce and manage stress. PoliceOne. Retrieved from https://www.policeone.com/stress/articles/322749006-How-police-can-reduce-and-manage-stress/
Causes of Officer Stress and Fatigue | National Institute of Justice. (2017). National Institute of Justice. Retrieved from https://www.nij.gov/topics/law-enforcement/officer-safety/stress-fatigue/Pages/causes.aspx
Shallcross, L. (2017). First, to respond, last to seek help - Counseling Today. Counseling Today. Retrieved from https://ct.counseling.org/2013/08/first-to-respond-last-to-seek-help/
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