POLICING Essay

This essay has a total of 1224 words and 6 pages.

POLICING



Policing and stress go hand and hand. I feel as tough many police officers can bring the
stress on themselves. Throughout my essay I will talk about stress in policing, community
policing and why it would decrease stress, and finally I would talk about how I feel about
stress in policing.


"Several studies have shown that stress levels are considerably higher among police
officers than they are in the general population. As law enforcement professionals try to
adapt to stressful experiences, they frequently develop habits that are personally and
professionally destructive. Some studies indicate that diminished physical and emotional
health, including increased risk for divorce and suicide, occur as a result of officers'
cumulative job stress."




"The cumulative impact of stress may lead a depressed officer to a state of "learned
helplessness." This concept was developed by Seligman (1975) through a series of
experiments that used dogs as subjects. Seligman exposed the dogs to conditions under
which they could not alleviate the stress encountered. As a result, the dogs became
passive and accepting of stressful circumstances. Seligman paralleled the dogs' state of
learned helplessness to the human state of depression. "


"Police stress, in many cases, falls into the category of "presumptive disorders" those
illnesses or disabilities that are presumed, rather than proven, to be present in the
individual because they are not visible or validated by objective testing methods. Stress
is a psychological condition and is the direct result of how we have learned to cope; it
is a specific emotional and/or bodily response that is triggered by our perception of
signals in our environment or in our thinking. "


Not all stress is undesirable. In fact, the demanding and pressured environment of
policing leads us all to experience stress at some level usually in the form of tension.
It is only when our internal defense system begins to break down because of our
ineffective coping methods that stress becomes undesirable. At that point, it's necessary
to re-evaluate how we think, act and react to our world.


"Selye (1956, 1974) pointed out that a person's level of subjective stress depends not so
much on what he or she does for a living as much as it does on what happens to him or her
through the process of living. Perceptions are crucially important a point that is
particularly relevant for police personnel. It is imperative that police officers learn
how to effectively process their emotional tensions and to identify and accept their
physical and emotional limits. "


"With regard to the psychological effects of work stress, various researchers have found
linkages to mood disturbances and in particular to depressive symptoms (Hatfield 1990,
Sauter et. al. 1990). Some affected individuals complain of feeling "blah," having no
feelings or feeling anxious; the presence of a depressed mood can be inferred from the
person's facial expression and demeanor (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). Officers
who become depressed may also experience sleep disorders and insomnia. Most individuals
experience middle insomnia (i.e., waking up during the night and having difficulty
returning to sleep). Police officers may enter a repetitive cycle in which images of
violence recur and escalate. With each mental representation, imagination or rehearsal,
the officer imagines further potentially devastating outcomes."


"The officer's mental process might involve something such as:
If the suspect is at the location and has the knife, I could attempt to use my baton. If
that is ineffective, or if he charges me, then I may attempt a retreat. If that fails then
I may have to use deadly force."
Continues for 3 more pages >>




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