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Executive Summary of the Law Enforcement Assistance & Development (LEAD) Program: Reduction of Familial and Organizational Stress in Law Enforcement

NCJ Number
Date Published
7 pages
This document provides an overview of the Law Enforcement Assistance & Development (LEAD) Program.
LEAD provided for a consortium of three rural law enforcement agencies and mental health professionals to prevent and reduce stress, and to enhance the overall health of law enforcement officers and their families. The program served the Iowa State University Department of Public Safety, the Ames Police Department, and the Story County Sheriff’s Office. The purpose of the program was to develop, implement, and assess multi-dimensional stress-reduction programs designed to benefit all participating law enforcement personnel and their families. Some services provided were a 24-hour crisis assistance pager system, critical incident debriefing for officers involved in traumatic incidents, counseling services, and family support services. Organizational consultation was also provided to identify and reduce factors within the law enforcement agency that contributed to staff stress. Surveys, clinical data, and training evaluations showed high satisfaction with services and generally positive outcomes related to services. The multi-dimensional approach showed several advantages. First, program staff members were able to reach a large percentage of the department on a personal basis. Second, through the provision of such a wide range and variety of services, personnel became more familiar with program staff members. Third, providing clinical services to the family members was an indirect, yet powerful and valuable way of serving personnel. Fourth, this approach fit well with the dynamic nature of the law enforcement organizations’ work environments and individuals. Finally, personal responsibility of constituents to provide program staff with direction facilitated the buy-in process, contributed to their sense of ownership, and boosted their commitment to the program and program objectives. The significant limitation of the program was the cost in sustaining an adequately staffed, multi-dimensional program. All elements of the program were designed to address the unique needs presented by the constituent agencies. It is clear that no one approach could be effective for all law enforcement agencies.

Date Published: January 1, 2001