The effects of stress on police

First of all, stress is the body’s reaction to internal and external stimuli that interferes with the body’s normal state. It usually upsets this normal state. The stimuli that cause stress can be physical, mental, or emotional. The body has to react to stressful situations which are called the flight-or-fight response. ( ) Stress can weaken and disturb the body’s defense mechanisms and may play a role in developing hypertension, ulcers, cardiovascular disease, and maybe even cancer. ( )Stress by itself does not cause illness but it helps contribute to possible illnesses.

When people experience stress the body produces amounts of adrenaline which are released into the bloodstream. Adrenaline is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. This release of adrenaline causes the liver to provide the body with more carbohydrates for extra energy. It also causes a quickened heartbeat and respiration, as well as increased blood pressure and respiration. ( ) At this point the body is getting prepared for extraordinary physical exertion which is not a bad thing. It can be bad if the need for this exertion does not occur. If this exertion does not occur it can cause a headache, upset stomach, irritability, and other symptoms.

Best services for writing your paper according to Trustpilot

Premium Partner
From $18.00 per page
4,8 / 5
Writers Experience
Recommended Service
From $13.90 per page
4,6 / 5
Writers Experience
From $20.00 per page
4,5 / 5
Writers Experience
* All Partners were chosen among 50+ writing services by our Customer Satisfaction Team

Police officers face many stressful situations during their job. Most jobs have high rates of stress but it has been said that police work is the most stressful out of all the jobs. There are four categories of stress that police officers face. These four categories are external, organization, personal, and operational stress. External stress is produced by real threats and dangers. External threats happen outside of the office. Some examples of this are gun runs and other dangerous activities that take part in auto pursuits. Organizational stress is produced by elements within a quasi-military character. ( ) This stress comes from within the organization. This can be a constant adjustment of changing duties, odd working hours, working holidays, and strict discipline imposed on officers. It can also be stress from workplace conditions, the lack of influence over work activities, and workplace prejudice.

Personal stress is produced by interpersonal characteristics of being in a police organization. Interpersonal means something involving two or more people. An example of this would be difficulties getting along with other officers. Lastly, operational stress is produced by the daily need to confront with the tragedies they face. These tragedies consist of the need to deal with derelicts, criminals, mentally disturbed, mentally ill, homeless individuals, and drug addicted. It also deals with engaging in dangerous activity to protect a public when they are unappreciative. Another thing it deals with is the awareness of being legally liable for the actions they performed on duty.

There are many factors that cause stress in police work. These factors are poor training, substandard equipment, poor pay, lack of opportunity, exposure to brutality, fears about job incompetence and safety, lack of job satisfaction, lack of physical fitness, and de-personalization. ( ) There is also pressure of being on duty 24 hours a day. The police learn to cope with stress by emotionally detaching themselves from their work and the people they serve. Another factor is fatigue. Police officers work long hours and also work overtime which can cause stress and physically drain them.

There is something known as suicide by cop, which is compounding the stress problems of officers. ( ) This usually means a person wishes to die deliberately. They will put themselves in a life threatening situation and cause the officer to use deadly force against them. This usually leaves the police officer with feelings of guilt and also of being tricked into using deadly force. It can also be portrayed by the media as the deceased being the victim, which is the complete opposite.

Some short-term effects are mentally replaying the event repeatedly, disruption of sleep, irritability and detachment, being hypercritical, sensory disturbance, and hyper vigilance. Another emotion is anger towards the subject for forcing them to use deadly force against the person. Some long-term effects are vulnerability, being more protective of the family, and being less trusting of the general public. Some officers interviewed considered retiring or quitting the department after being in situation like this. Sometimes officers involved in these killings suffer from post-shooting trauma, which can ruin their careers. They usually leave the department within 7 years and in some cases may commit suicide within 5 years. ( )

There are many effects that stress has on police officers. The first is that too much stress affects health. The fact that police officers must be ready for danger at all hours causes a great amount of stress, as well as the working hours and living conditions. These all have negative effects on their health. According to A National Institute of Justice report some other consequences of being a police officer that causes stress are cynicism and suspiciousness, emotional detachment from aspects of daily life, reduced efficiency, absenteeism and early retirement, excessive aggressiveness, alcoholism and other substance abuse problems, marital or other family problems, posttraumatic stress disorder, and suicide. ( )There are also specific health issues such as heart attacks, ulcers, weight gain, and other health problems. An early study 2,300 police officers in 20 U.S. police departments revealed that 37% had serious marital problems, 36% had health problems, 23% had alcohol problems, 20% had problems with their children, and 10% had drug problems. ( ).

Police jobs do not only affect the officers but it also affects their families and friends. A study

showed that between 10-20% of all police wives are dissatisfied with their husband’s job and would like for them to quit. They were also not happy with rotation shifts which interfere with planning holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries. Some wives also said it was difficult for them to pursue another career. ( ) There is also an issue with families and the unpredictable work environment. This means constantly changing work settings.

Another issue is job-related personal change and family relationships. With officer facing tragedies it affects them personally. This could also affect the family if the officer’s personality and attitudes change. There are also a high demands and expectations from the community. The public hold police officers to very high standards and expect them to solved everything and be available all the time. The last issue is intrusion into family life. A police officer may have to bring parts of his/her job home. An example of this could be his/her gun or the fact that they have to be available 24 hours each day.

There are multiple ways in which departments deal with police stress. The first way is that they provide stress management programs to officers and to their spouses. They identify officers who are under stress and provide them counseling to help relieve the stress. They also conduct periodic screenings and training on stress management. Lastly, they provide confidential counseling services to officers and their families.

Stress can cause police officers to turn to alcohol and even suicide. Police suicide has been increasing. According to the book, every 17 hours an officers kills himself or herself. 97% of officers use their own weapons to commit the suicide. Alcohol for many officers is a way to relax after a long day, to others it is a way to cope with anxiety or depression.


When writing any formal paper, such as a term paper, the writer is expected to identify the sources of all information by citing the names of the authors and year of publication. Quotations, specific terms, and statistics must be cited by giving the author(s), year, and page number of the reference. Footnotes or endnotes are generally not used to cite references. The citations are included in the text within parentheses. The full reference is included on a “reference” page at the end of the paper.

Some Common Writing Errors:

Incomplete sentences: sentences must have a subject, verb, and predicate.

Lack of subject-verb agreement, especially singular-plural forms.

Spelling errors: use a dictionary. Note the correct spelling in references you are using. Use a spell checker, included in most word processing software programs (but you still must proofread for homonyms – words that sound alike, may be spelled correctly, but have different meanings (their-there, to-too-two).

Typographical errors: carefully proofread and make corrections.

Must use apostrophe to show possession. Singular & plural forms: “…a judge’s sentence.” “Prisoners’ needs….”

Sentence structure: make them clear, simple, to-the-point. Active verbs are more clear and direct than passive verbs. Do not begin sentences with digits (e.g., “50 percent of crimes…” use “Fifty percent….” instead).

Paragraph organization: never use a one-sentence paragraph. Organize related thoughts and sentences together.

Try to express the author’s ideas in your own words – simply and clearly. If you cannot say it more simply and clearly than the author, then use a direct quotation and cite it properly (author, year, page number). *Do NOT PLAGIARIZE.

When reviewing literature such as previous studies and essays, refer to the author (or authors) in reporting the research findings. “Articles” do not conclude – “authors” do. “Books” do not tell us anything – but the authors who write those books do. In other words, do not “anthropomorphize” inanimate objects, such as books, departments, agencies, governments, etc.

All direct quotes, statistics, figures, and data must indicate the source in a proper reference citation style (e.g., author, year, and page number). At least, do your best.

Common errors in word usage: affect-effect; there-their; to-too; “people who”aˆ¦. “things that….”; “number of crimes” (not “amount of….”).

12. Coordinating conjunctions: do not use “didn’t,” “won’t,” and similar conjunctions in a formal paper or any research report (write “did not,” “will not” instead).

REFERENCES – Sample APA Format
One Author

Laub, J. H. (1981). Ecological considerations in victim reporting to the police. Journal of Criminal Justice, 33, 55-66.

Two to Six Authors + Journal Paginated by Issue

Klimoski, R., & Palmer, S. (1993). The ADA and the hiring process in organizations. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 45 (2), 10-36.

Six or More Authors

Wolchik, S. A., West, S. G., Sandler, I. N., Tein, J., Coatsworth, D., Lengua, L., et al. (2000). An experimental evaluation of theory-based mother and mother-child programs for children of divorce. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68 (4), 843-856.

Magazine Article

Henry, W. A., III. (1990, April 9). Beyond the melting pot. Time, 135, 28-31.

Review of a Book

Carmody, T. P. (1982). A new look at medicine from the social perspective [Review of the book Social contexts of health, illness, and patient care]. Contemporary Psychology, 27, 208-209.

Daily Newspaper Article + No Author

Generic Prozac debuts. (2001, August 3). The Washington Post, pp. E1, E4.

Newspaper Editorial

Stress, cops and suicide [Editorial]. (1993, December 1). New York Times, p. A22.

By a Single Author

Nagel, P. C. (1992). The Lees of Virginia: Seven generations of an American family. New York: Oxford University Press.

By Two Authors

Carmines, E. G., & Zeller, R. A. (1979). Reliability and validity assessment: Quantitative applications in the social sciences. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

By Three or more Authors

Fortune, A. E., Reid, W., & Reid, W. J. (1998). Research in social work (3rd ed.). New York: Columbia University Press.

By a Corporate Author + Published by Author + Edition

American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

By Anonymous Author

Guidelines and application form for directors, 1990 summer seminar for school teachers. (1988). Washington, DC: National Endowment for the Humanities.

Chapter in a Book

Burghardt, G. M. (1984). On the origins of play. In P. K. Smith (Ed.), Play in animals and humans (pp. 5-42). Oxford, England: Basil Blackwell.

* The key to a well-written paper is: Proofread, revise, and correct all writing errors.

Your paper should clearly communicate your thoughts and research findings. They represent the final product of your research, and are the basis upon which you are evaluated. Your professors will carefully read your written work. We will notice words that are misspelled; incomplete sentences; typographical errors. We will also notice papers that have been carefully written, proofread, and revised before being turned in – and we will reward those students with better grades.

Good quality writing now in college will be rewarded. Good writing will likewise be rewarded on the job, and in graduate school. Criminal Justice agencies, other public sector agencies, and all private sector businesses demand good writing skills. Administrators and supervisors notice good writing, and they notice writing errors. Whether you get hired for a job may well depend on your writing ability. Whether you get promoted in a job will certainly depend on your communication skills – both oral and written communication. That is why your college professors are “picky” about writing errors. We want you to succeed: now in college, in graduate school, and later in a career.

NOTE: If you need to reach me via email, please use this email address: [email protected]

You Might Also Like

I'm Alejandro!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out