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Officer Stress week 3 discussion 2

The police work environment itself can and does have adverse effects on police officers. It creates stress, which may be defined as a force that is external in nature that causes both physical and emotional strain upon the body. The late Hans Selye, who is known as "the father of stress research," defined stress as a nonspecific response of a body to demands placed on it.  

To help officers deal with stress and its effects, a comprehensive wellness program is needed that should include five elements: (1) physical fitness, (2) stress management, (3) psychological and mental health, (4) nutrition and dietary-related behaviors, and (5) alcohol/chemical dependency.

Police agencies need a comprehensive wellness program to assist officers in coping with stress, but if that fails or is absent, an employee assistance program (EAP) should be available to help officers to cope with alcohol and substance abuse, psychological problems such as depression, or family management problems.

Read the Employee Assistance Program – The Police Notebook and address the following:

  • Why has the University of Oklahoma Police Department established an EAP, and how does the program work?
  • What portions of the EAP presented did you find particularly helpful? Why?  
  • What portions should be expanded? Why?
  • In your opinion, do you think either a comprehensive wellness program or an EAP helps with officer stress? Why or why not?

Peak, K. (2012). Policing America: Challenges and best practices (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education

Police officers during their work often encounter stress. The late Hans S. defined stress as a nonspecific response of a body to demands placed on it (Peak, 2012). To help officer deal with stress the employee assistance program should be used. The university of Oklahoma police department, established EAP to help employees find the best resources to deal with their challenges. The program works in partnership with the police officers and assesses the nature of the problem and then decides on the best avenue for help (Employee Assistance Program (EAP, 2015).

The EAP is helpful especially to the employees when they offer counselling services to the officers who have stress issues. This is because they are doing this in confidentiality and with no cost to the employee. This makes them to come forward when they have issues affecting them and hence addressing the issues.

One portion that should be expanded is the legal and financial services to the members and their families. Many officer’s face a lot of financial and legal problems. When the EAP comes to assist, this reduces the pressure that they were facing and hence do their work better without much distractions.

This program is helping a lot the officers to deal with their stress and other problems at large. When an officer knows where he or she can get help to deal with the stress, they will go for it and when it’s being done at no cost and in confidentiality many will come out to be helped. Also this program is factoring in the families of the officers. These are people who are close to them and can easily detect when the officers have any issue as they will not be behaving in the normal way.

According to Sergeant Haines (2003) “Managers should be able to assist subordinates in identifying stressors and help educate them in stress management. Research has shown that as managers we need to take an active role in providing counseling for our officers as it relates to stressful situations whether these stressful situations occur on or off the job” (p.7).  Education and counseling needs to be provided for the officers to help them manage stress. There needs to be policies in place. No two officers are the same. While one officer might be stressed another might not.  The School of Police Staff and Command has trained management to be more effective in promoting a healthy work environment (Sergeant, Haines, 2003). 

It is important to note that stress cannot be taken out completely but it can be reduced. If a officer needs counseling no one in the police department should know.  The Madison Heights Police Department like many other police departments fail to recognize the negative impacts stress has on a police officer (Sergeant, Haines, 2003).

Stress has a way of eating you alive, too many times a officer doesn’t get the courage to talk to their Deputy Chief or Chief even a Chaplain. But, this can also create more problems. A police officer has to turn off his or her feelings with the flick of a switch. If the department could do as well at reducing the stress of their officers as they do in rewarding them for extra work the department would thrive (Sergeant, Haines, 2003, p.16-17). 


Employee Assistance Program (EAP), (2015). Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Retrieved   July 6, 2015, fromhttp://evok.hr.ou.edu/Healthy-Sooners/Employee-  AssistanceProgram#139479how-eap-works

Peak, K. (2012).Policing America: Challenges and best practices(7th ed.). Upper Saddle River,   NJ: Pearson Education

Sergeant, Haines, C. (2003, September 19). PDF] Police Stress and the Effects on the Family. Retrieved from www.emich.edu/...%20%20Stress.../ Police%20Stress%20and%20the%20Effe... - Similar

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