Police and Untreated Trauma: A Toxic Relationship




Mirabelle, Tricia

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)



According to Kates (2008), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a serious condition that is common among police officers and other first responders. PTSD can lead to depression, thoughts of suicide and suicide attempts, addictions, and eating disorders as well as job and family conflict. Common symptoms include nightmares, flashbacks, anger, concentration problems, emotional detachment, and avoidance of people and places. On average, this disorder will affect one out of three police officers. It is the belief of this author, that training must be implemented early to normalize PTSD. With training and positive support from administrators, officers will be more inclined to recognize signs of stress and trauma, and seek out treatment. It is time that every law enforcement agency takes a strong stance to create an early, open dialog in regards to trauma and resilience, maintain consistent mandatory training, feed their employees with as many resources as possible (peer support teams, chaplain programs, wellness programs, etc.), and continue to seek out and implement a culture of support and understanding within their department


Police--Job Stress, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Police Psychology