Briefing: Worry and anxiety lead to stress. Law enforcement is one of the most stressful jobs in existence today. How do you deal with stress?
Dispatch (Assignment): How do you relieve stress? Do you have a healthy outlet?
On the Street: Stress is a killer. A retired police officer is 300 times more likely to suffer a heart attack than any other retired professional. One in six police officers on the job at any given time are dealing with untreated post-traumatic stress disorder.
Studies show there are 11.3 suicides per 100,000 people a year in the United States. Among law enforcement the number is 17 suicides per 100,000 people a year.
Hans Selye, the foremost researcher in stress in the world, said that police work is “the most stressful occupation in America even surpassing the formidable stresses of air traffic control.”
I have seen my share of stressful situations. I have been involved in just about every major incident a police officer can experience. I have had my share of sleepless nights, scenes that replayed in my head, over and over again until I thought I would throw up if I had to relive it one more time. I’ve spent hours going over details of how a call/incident went down and retraced steps, given statements and cried until there were no more tears to cry.
Proverbs 12:25 (NIV), “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.”
Proverbs 24:19-20 (NIV), “Do not fret because of evildoers or be envious of the wicked, for the evildoer has no future hope, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out.”
Looking back, I can see how my relationship with God got me through each ordeal. I don’t know how officers make it through without Him. I can also tell you that I have seen the difference in how a believer and a non-believer handles PTSD. Believers tend to fall back on faith, church, and family where non-believers turn to anything else. If you have not made a decision to put your faith and trust in God, now seems like a good time. The page on this website entitled, “Do You Know Jesus?” is a good place to start.
Investigational Resources: Romans 10:9, 3:10, Acts 17:30, Romans 5:8, Romans 10:13
Officer Safety Principle: There is only one anchor: Jesus Christ; without Him you are drifting. He is our only hope.
1. Kaplan Z, Iancu I, Bo E. A review of psychological debriefing after extreme stress. Psychiatr Serv 2001;52:824-7
2. “Suicide in the U.S.:Statistics and Prevention” (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/suicide-in-the-us-stastistics-and-prevention/index.shtml)
3. “Police suicide- A web surveillance of national data”. Journal Of Emergency Mental Health 11 (1). Winter 2009
4. “Not So Obvious Police Stress” (http://www.tearsofacop.com/police/article/constant.html).
from The Book of Proverbs Through the Eyes of a Cop
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
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