Serving New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Florida
Exclusively Law Enforcement
Officers in Crisis
"There is none among us who can honestly say that we have not contemplated ending our lives. In this profession our death is the reality of the job, to be able to determine the day, time and manner in which it ends puts us in control of our destiny". anonymous officer
** PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU SHOULD YOU DECIDE TO DISCUSS YOUR FEELINGS WITH A SUPERVISOR THAT THE SUPERVISOR IS OBLIGATED TO REPORT YOUR DEPRESSION AND YOU MAY FIND YOURSELF SENT TO A FITNESS FOR DUTY EXAM. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT YOU ONLY CONFIDE IN YOUR PRIEST, COUNSELORS OR DOCTOR. THERE IS NO CONFIDENTIALITY OR PRIVILEGE BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR SUPERVISOR**
Repeatedly being exposed to the negative side of human nature can quickly depleat an officer's ability to see any good in society. Many times an officer's only solace is at home. In order to prevent the job from interfering with the officer's home life, the officer learns to shut out the unpleasantness of work, this often means shutting out his family as well.
Internalizing stress can lead to many physical and emotional problems. It is well proved that it does not take a traumatic event to cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but merely the prolonged exposure to same.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a common symptom of law enforcement officers. It has been estimated that more than 1/3 of law enforcement officers suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in varying degrees.
Domestic Violence occurs frequently in police families as job stress effects the entire family. Officers exhausted from shift work and stressed from the variety of calls are difficult to deal with at home. Once at home, the officer feels his day is over and wants to relax only to be met by a family that needs and deserves his attention.
Officers deal with stress in a variety of ways:
* They shield their families from the ugly realities of their careers, this results in shutting off their families which leads to alienation.
* Officers suppress their emotions, this takes years of practice. In order to perfect this stress dealing tactic, the officer may shut down at home as well. Little emotion leads to little intimacy.
* Another way of shutting down is to escape, or self medicate, using alcohol. This allows the officer a brief escape from the everyday stressors.
* Officers extend their authority and need to be in control of their home life. This stifles growth within their families and leads to an environment of mistrust.
* Officers isolate themselves, they associate mainly with other officers. This is because those outside the law enforcement field rarely understand the world as viewed from our eyes. Secondly, we are not permitted to discuss our job with those outside our agencies, this limits the amount of friends we can develop.
* Officers routinely date within their agencies which, while leading to very deep and intimate relationships, can spell disaster and end careers. (These cases are not unusual, they are a dime a dozen).
An officer needs to be able to look at both sides of the situation. Take a look at domestic violence at the hands of a police officer from the eyes of the victim:
On the other hand, spouses have been motivated for numerous reasons, including revenge, spite, jealousy and hatred to make false domestic violence complaints against officers. There is help - these are just 2 of the hundreds of web sites available to help you.
Infidelity is also a common problem among law enforcement officers. Officers not wanting to get into confrontations with their spouses frequently seek outside relationships instead of investing the time necessary to take care of their marriages. Unfortunately, marriage may pale in comparison to job excitement. As thrill seekers, the "thrill" of a new relationship or affair can be as stimulating as the job.
This course of action leads to divorce and remarriage, expanding the officer's family to include step-children, x-spouses, etc, which only complicates the marriage and decreases its chances of success.
Alcohol is an acceptable way to self medicate and temporarily escape the stress of the job. We are all familiar with the officer who has an accident after drinking too much and ends up taking the life of an innocent civilian, or worse, a loved one or family member.
The officer who after being pulled over and let go by his buddy strikes and severely injures or kills himself or another.
Officers tend to believe that there is no help available to them because if they reach out for help their Departments will become involved and disciplinary charges could be lodged against them. It is difficult to get help for a problem which, once admitted, will bring more problems by way of discipline. An officer who admits domestic violence, alcoholism or a similar problem opens himself up to scrutiny from his Department.
It is not unusual for Departments to become more concerned with the liability of an officer in crisis than with the officer's well being. There are several agencies that officers can turn to for help outside of their Department. Officers are encouraged to seek private counseling, however, doctors are required by law to report crimes to the police. It is important to find a confidential source of help for the officer in crisis.
You can call 1-866- COP-2-COP or 1-866-267-2267
The most important goal is to stay alive, the rest of the mess can be straightened out. I'll show you how if you stick around.
This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.
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