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Stress Management for Law Enforcement: Behind the Shield: Combating Trauma

NCJ Number
Peter J. Pranzo; Rachela Pranzo
Date Published
209 pages
This volume examines police occupational stress, trauma, and burnout; the impacts of police stress on the police officer and the family; and techniques and programs for stress management and responding to trauma.
The introduction notes that the New York Police Department has experienced more than 100 police suicides in the past 15 years, that police officers commit suicide at roughly triple the national average rate, and that police suicides are double the number of line-of-duty killings on the average. The text explains that sources of stress include the need to live with extremes; oppressive work schedules; work in high-crime neighborhoods; fear of injury or death; the operation, administration, and policies of a police agency regarding discipline and promotion; the possibility of internal investigation and lawsuits; and changed expectations with the integration of women into police field work. Impacts of stress include emotional hardening, the combat team syndrome, alcohol and drug abuse, stress among family members, and police suicides. Both preventive approaches and techniques of stress management can assist police officers. In addition, treatment and rehabilitation programs exist for helping police cope with the trauma of shootings and other traumas. Specialized field and testing units include critical incident debriefing teams, peer support units, and psychological testing units. Case examples, photographs, glossary, and appended profiles of 12 programs for coping with law enforcement stress and trauma