The #1 Stress in Law Enforcement and How to Mitigate It

Nobody will argue that criminal justice professionals face unique challenges and stress associated with the job.  Things like shift work, missing holidays and family events, the physical effects of the hypervigilance rollercoaster, the danger of being assaulted, killed in a car accident, being forced to utilize force (and the resulting political fallout), and of course the possibility of being murdered just for wearing a uniform and many many more, are obvious realities.  I previously wrote about some of the things that can be done to combat stress in law enforcement, but right now, I want to focus on what I feel is the number one stress in law enforcement: Continue reading “The #1 Stress in Law Enforcement and How to Mitigate It”

Fear, Anger & Animals Wearing People Costumes

Fear is an understandable human emotion when faced with danger. Of course there are different forms of danger out there.  Unfortunately our bodies tend to be wired for the imminent danger of being gobbled up by a Sabertooth Tiger and biologically we are predisposed to the “Fight, Flight or Freeze” response.  This flooding of chemicals and hormones into our system is great when we need to run away from a predator or fight off a fellow caveman for scarce resources.  It isn’t great when this biological response causes us to literally become dumber.  There is lots of research out there regarding the effects of stress hormones and adrenaline on cognitive functions.  What does this mean for law enforcement? Continue reading “Fear, Anger & Animals Wearing People Costumes”

Five Post Officer Involved Shooting Considerations

According to a study cited by Law Officer Magazine, more than 80% of the population believes the average officer has been involved in at least one shooting in their career. In reality, the true number is roughly 27% of officers have EVER fired their weapon outside of the range. Without seeing the raw data, I don’t know if that covers having to put down injured animals. I know I have probably killed more deer than most hunters.

Regardless of the numbers, all law enforcement officers have to live by the adage, “Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.” Continue reading “Five Post Officer Involved Shooting Considerations”

The New Officer’s Guide to Handling Stress

Handling stress in law enforcement is critical. There is no quicker way to achieve burnout and get fired or sued than by failing to manage stress. Here are some of the tips, I give new officers for dealing with the stress associated with working the road.

First is that you should already have an innate ability to handle stress. High strung people who don’t handle stress well don’t make good cops and they rarely last long. The repetitive crushing weight of the horrors seen day in and day out wear them out quicker than those who already come to the table with excellent coping skills. Be honest in your self assessment of how you handle stress. If you feel your coping skills may need a boost, don’t worry! There are lots of things you can do to help.

Continue reading “The New Officer’s Guide to Handling Stress”