The Mental Health of Law Enforcement Officers




Rucker, Phillip H.

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)


First responders, such as police officers, have been referred to as a unique breed. This is due to the fact that the professional life of an officer is one recognized as both, dangerous and exciting, however, the personal life of an officer may actually seem like a mystery, until recently where researchers having become more interested in the mental, physical, and emotional state of police officers worldwide. Many researchers of the law enforcement career maintain that “under highly emotional circumstances, officers must exercise extreme restraint, when excited they must remain calm, when nervous they must demonstrate their command of the situation, and when in a highly emotional state, they must remain stoic” (Madonna and Kelly, 2002, p.57). With these high pressure demands, as well as under-reported levels of stress reported by law enforcement officers, it presents the question: How does the law enforcement career path affect police officers overtime mentally? This paper serves as a breakdown and examination of the dawning influences the police world has on individual officers, how those influences negatively affect officers, stigmas surrounding law enforcement culture, and how these influences and stigmas can be combated to preserve an officer’s mental capacity, and ultimately their longevity within the field. One stance is to make psychological testing mandatory every four to six years, as psychological examinations serve as a birds-eye view into the minds of police officers world-wide.



Police Psychology, Police--Mental Health