Weaver, Johnny

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)



It is well known throughout the law enforcement community that police officers experience traumatic events almost on a daily basis. After many years of witnessing a variety of horrific events throughout an officer’s career, officers can become callous and may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). From lack of knowledge and education, officers may not realize they have a mental health disorder. Furthermore, officers may realize they have a problem but because of the possibility of negative consequences, they are generally not willing to let someone know they are suffering from this debilitating condition. If an officer refuses or neglects to get treatment for PTSD, it is likely that the symptoms will worsen and it will continue to take a negative toll on the officer’s ability to perform his/her job efficiently. The officer may have negative coping mechanisms such as drug abuse, alcohol abuse, or gambling. Law enforcement agencies should mandate mental health training for officers annually and offer a variety of treatment options to them. Officers should be advised of the treatment opportunities available and should be assured that the sessions will remain anonymous. If training is mandated, officers will understand the effects of prolonged exposure to these incidents and what their psychological toll on their well-being can have. These officers need to understand that help is available to them at little to no cost. Officers should realize that they are not alone when they are possibly victims of PTSD. The purpose of this paper is to provide evidence that annual training can lesson or eliminate the possibility of mental health issues in law enforcement.


Police -- mental health, Police -- job stress, Police psychology