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Discussion Six 


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            In the line of duty, police officers withstand tremendous stress due to various factors that may have a detrimental effect on not only their well-being but how they effectively perform on the job. Most often than not, police officers are exposed to traumatic events such as shootings and the loss of their partners or fellow officers. With that being said, exposure to traumatic events with additional stressors, negatively impacts officers in numerous ways.

            Novak et al. (2020) mentions both Physiological and Psychological processes pertaining to what one’s body endures during events of stress. “Physiological stress deals with the biological effects on the individual, including such factors as increased heart disease and high blood pressure” (Novak et al., 2020, p. 415). Psychological stress on the other hand, has been deemed difficult to evaluate and therefore, “stress” is used pertaining to physiological changes and “anxiety” is used pertaining to psychological effects (Novak et al., 2020, p. 415). With the combination of both, police officers can endure health related issues, mental health risks, and consequences that result from such stress. Additionally, consequences of stress can lead to alcohol abuse, drug abuse, suicide, and high impacts on families and loved ones.

            Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is defined as, “a mental health disorder that some people develop after they experience or see a traumatic event” (Medline Plus, 2020).  Therefore, police officers who are exposed to traumatic events may experience or develop symptoms of PTSD; sleep disturbances, flashbacks, nightmares, feelings of blame and guilt, and depression. According to Novak et al. (2020), “stressors leading to PTSD included shooting someone; being shot; working with child abuse, spouse abuse, and rape cases; being threatened or having family threatened; and observing death through homicide, suicide, or natural disasters” (p.423). Consequently, being exposed to such traumatic events and developing symptoms of PTSD may cause impairment in an officer’s mental well being as well as affect how they do their jobs properly (Violanti, 2018).

            Alpert et al. (2012) mentions two distinctive ways individuals process information into their memories: “the rational thinking mode during low emotional states and the experiential thinking mode in high stress situations, such as officer-involved shootings”. Therefore, the trauma police officers are exposed to during officer-involved shootings, may affect the memories and perceptions of police officers (Alpert et al., 2012). With that being said, an effect on memories and perceptions among police officers may distort their sense of reality while on the job, making it difficult to perform effectively. Furthermore, studies pertaining to officer-involved shootings have shown that, “70% of police officers claimed heightened clarity of vision and responded to threat with no conscious thought, approximately 40% reported disassociation, and 46% reported memory loss” (Alpert et al., 2012). All in all, there is a clear correlation among stress, officer-involved shootings, and traumatic events.

In order to alleviate the stress that law enforcement personnel withstand, administrators can implement various policies and programs; establish quality-of-work life activities, address work-place environmental issues, develop training programs pertaining to stress awareness, establish specific stress programs, establish operational policies that reduce stress, improve management skills, utilize peer-counseling programs, develop support groups, establish physical fitness programs, and encourage family activities (Novak et al., 2020, p. 433-434).  Unfortunately, some departments do not have sufficient funds to implement such policies or programs and therefore, they should analyze and asses the issues that are affecting police officers greatly, in order to implement a specific program or policies to alleviate some pressure. Additionally, “Hero Fund” can be seen as a method to reach out for aid in funding, as it has helped fund PTSD training to Kinsley Fire Department and Local 42 (KCTV5 News, 2019). Another program that should be heavily analyzed and considered is suicide prevention programs and trainings. Police officers have easy accessibility to firearms and lethal-weapons and therefore, have higher suicide rates.

Word count: 637

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Amanda Mason 

Chapter 13 Discussion 


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            Becoming a first responder is such an honorable goal, but it can also cause long term effects that in the long run be detrimental to them as well. This happens because of the situations that the officers see on the field. Officers can develop concepts of stress as a result. Such as, physiological stress, psychological stress, distress, acute and chronic stress. Another type of stress that is worth mentioning is prolonged emotional stress, which is, “stress that is a part of the everyday work environment can produce wear and tear on the body, with effects that my prove irreversible if not treated in time,” (Novak et al., 2020 p. 416).  According to Loo (2005) these types of stress can be caused by police work itself, the criminal justice system, the community, and family life, (Novak et al., 2020 p. 417).  Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition that arises when exposed to crisis and traumatic events, such as an officer involves shootings (OIS). When officers are involved in these situations it can result to alcohol and drug abuse, suicide, and stress in the family. “In one study published in 2013, about 80% of officers reported seeing dead bodies or severely assaulted victims in the past year,” (Javanbkht 2020). Now, imagine what that can do to someone’s mind over a period of time without any outlet of support. Javanbkht was speaking with an officer Steve that has served for 24 years and was a SWAT team member as well and Steve said, “Imagine trying to help them while their family is screaming and begging you to do it ‘quicker, quicker,” (2020). That being said, if the officer can’t save them, they may feel like the victim’s death is in their own hands. Also, another thing to consider that is very traumatic is an officer involved shooting because you are watching one of your team members go down and you have no control over it. So, you feel as if it is one of your own loved ones being hurt. 

            These types of situations are hard, but they understand that this is their occupation. That being said researchers have tried to find the best way possible to alleviate the stress of officers by figuring out when they should interview officers that have dealt with a traumatic event. “Her findings are both important and consistent with other research indicating that officers experience memory distortions during a critical incident, such as an OIS,” (Alpert et al., 2012). This being said, some researchers say that it is best to interview right after or give them a couple of days to rest. 

            As Novak (2020) stated, “the findings of this 1991 study are similar to those of the 1974 and 1995 studies regarding stress relating to inadequate departmental support and shift work,” (p. 420). Administrators can make officers jobs a little easier by providing adequate support within a community. Officer Schimming was talking about the Hero Fund, which provides services to first responders, (KCTV News 2019). These services consist of training, counseling, gear, and funding to ensure the safety of first responders. If administrators kept up with policies and procedures to ensure safety physically and mentally this would alleviate the stress involved with police work. 


Word count 539 

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Sarah Tejera 

Chapter 13 Discussion 


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Being a police officer is undoubtedly difficult and demanding. Those who take on such a task are exposed to various traumatic situations that can affect their mental and emotional health. Whether it is an officer-involved shooting or a fellow officer’s death, the job’s stress and trauma can cause many problems for law enforcement officers. In this essay, I will discuss the problems that officers face due to exposure to such traumatic situations and what administrators can do to help alleviate some of the stress caused by this line of work.

The article “Working Toward the Truth in Officer-Involved Shootings” (Alpert et al., 2012) explains that an officer-involved shooting is an emotionally charged event that may have a lasting impact on the officer or officers involved. Exposure to traumatic events can lead to many negative effects for officers, including “depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.” In addition, officers may experience “guilt, anger, shame, remorse, and fear” in the aftermath of a traumatic event. These mental and emotional issues can significantly impact an officer’s personal and professional life, leading to decreased job performance, absenteeism, and suicidal thoughts. In addition to the psychological repercussions of such events, officers may experience physical symptoms such as increased heart rate and blood pressure, nausea, headaches, and difficulty sleeping.

While it is impossible to eliminate the stress of being a police officer, administrators can take steps to help alleviate some of the stress caused by traumatic events. These steps include providing access to mental health services and education, establishing peer support programs, and implementing critical incident stress debriefing sessions. Mental health services can provide officers with the support they need to cope with the psychological effects of trauma. In contrast, peer support programs can offer a safe space for officers to talk about their experiences and provide emotional support to one another. Finally, critical incident stress debriefing sessions can be used to provide officers with a safe and structured environment to discuss their experiences and process any traumatic events they may have encountered.

In addition to providing officers access to mental health services and peer support programs, administrators can also ensure that officers are given the necessary time to rest and recuperate after a traumatic event. This can include providing officers with time off to spend with family and friends, as well as encouraging officers to take part in activities that can help reduce stress, such as exercise and meditation. Administrators can also remind officers of the importance of self-care, such as getting adequate sleep, eating healthy meals, and engaging in activities that can help reduce stress.

In conclusion, officers can experience various physical and psychological problems from exposure to traumatic situations. Administrators need to provide support and resources to help alleviate some of the stress caused by this line of work. By providing officers with access to mental health professionals, offering resources such as peer support groups, and creating a more positive work environment, administrators can help to reduce the emotional burden placed on officers and help to ensure their well-being.

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Natalie Rivero 

Chapter 13 Discussion 


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1. What kinds of problems do officers experience because of this exposure?


· Police Officers go through two types of ways of processing information into their memory. The first way is the “rational-thinking mode” during more low emotional states and the second one would be the “experiential-thinking mode” which occurs in a high stress situation (Alpert et al., 2012). An officer involved shooting would be considered the second emotional state that directly impacts memories and perceptions. According to the FBI, more than 60 percent of Officers who were involved in a shooting recall it to be in “slow motion” (Alpert et al., 2012). Some Officers note they experienced “auditory lockout” and “intensified sounds”, all examples of the physical stress these emotionally stressful situations put Officers through. The Officers also claim that when they are in these stressful situations like shootings, they react in “auto pilot” mode instead of having “conscious thought” (Alpert et al., 2012). According to the FBI, Officers who were interviewed 12 weeks later in a second interview were much better in being able to recall the incident than the ones who were interviewed right after the incident or only once. The study conducted by the FBI noted that during high stress events, it is evident that Officers are focused on the threat and not on their surroundings or peripheral objects. They also note that Officers who experience these shootings or traumatic events have a hard time identifying their memories as realistic or imaginative. Officers experience memory distortions and perceptual distortions when experiencing stressful critical incidents.

1. What can administrators do to help alleviate some of the stress caused by this line of work?


· When questioning an Officer who has just experienced a traumatic event, the administrator should consider whether the Officer is exhausted, injured or otherwise impaired (Alpert et al., 2012). The administrator should provide a work environment that allows Officers to be able to freely speak about their mental health and encourage taking a day off when it is needed for their mental health. Administrators can also provide resources to their Officers who need services after a traumatic event. Administrators should be the individuals who ensure that their Officers are mentally well and able to perform the duties of their jobs. An Officer who has a clouded mind is of no good to the public and to the community. When an administrator notices that one of their Officers are not preforming well or not preforming their job to the best of their abilities, there should be some form of honest communication where an Officer is able to reach out knowing they will be heard. Officers should also be able to have an opportunity to take days off work to clear their mind and work on their mental health. The trials and tribulations Officers go through on a day-to-day basis is disheartening and leaves Officers exhausted by the time they come home. Officers carry a lot of baggage when they leave their jobs and there should be an outlet of relief for them.


Word count: 511 words

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