Law Enforcement and Coping Strategies

Recently law enforcement has been on the news often for various situations. Many people are questioning the law enforcement and the way their behaviors. However having a position in law enforcement can better very stressful. Therefore I was interested in the coping strategies of law enforcement officers.

An article from the American Journal of Criminal Justice examined the coping strategies of officers after the deadly police shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge in 2016. It was determined that there were three most commonly used coping strategies(lifton, Torres, & Hawdon, 2018). These included support networks, self-help, and self-medication(lifton, Torres, & Hawdon, 2018). The study also examined the impact of coping strategies on motivation(lifton, Torres, & Hawdon, 2018). It was determined that officers using support networks,self-help, and self-medication had a decrease in motivation over the 6 months after the police shootings(lifton, Torres, & Hawdon, 2018).  Self-help and self-medication were expected to decrease motivation but support networks were not(lifton, Torres, & Hawdon, 2018). Using self-help and self-medication are not effective ways of coping and can lead to stress disorders and high rates of alcohol use(lifton, Torres, & Hawdon, 2018).

Overall it appears that law enforcement officers need to implement a program to help with coping strategies. This may be difficult because of the tough persona that officers may feel they have to act on. Helping officers with their stress may lead to more motivated officers and less mistakes on the job(lifton, Torres, & Hawdon, 2018).



Clifton, S., Torres, J., & Hawdon, J. (2018). Whatever Gets you Through the Night: Officer Coping Strategies after the High-Profile Line of Duty Deaths in Dallas and Baton Rouge. American Journal of Criminal Justice. doi:10.1007/s12103-018-9437-7

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