Humanity of Policy
Though a considerable number of law enforcement officers have a rudimentary training into recognizing the sources of stress accompanying situations like shootouts and violent crimes, still a majority of them do fail to grasp the size and scope of the physiological and psychological effects of stress on their body and mind (Ford, 1998). Police officers often come across gory and disturbing scenes accompanying violent crime investigations and shootings. Over the years, the cumulative impact of such incidents gives way to physical and emotional disturbances, which can fructify into undesirable results and consequences. Now is the time when the authorities and the people need to change their perceptions about law enforcement officers. They are not mere heartless and dry automatons, impervious to emotional trauma and stress, but live and pulsating humans whose very nature of work requires them to face violent incidents and situations. Yes, law enforcement officers do feel stress and there is no dearth of data revealing the unwanted impact of that stress on their personal and professional lives (Ford, 1998).Between the year 1976 and 1999, nearly 1,800 police officers and law enforcement personnel lost their lives in the line of duty (Lindsey Kelly, 2004). This comes down to an average of 78 officers per year. In fact, the state and the authorities are utterly sensitive to this issue and are doing their best in terms of upgrading the police infrastructure and equipment, modernizing training procedures and assuring ample budgetary allocations to save the lives of police officers. Sadly, the authorities are not as cognizant of and responsive to the silent killer called stress that has a more drastic impact on the mindset of law enforcement officers. All because of occupational stress, more than 400 police officers committed suicide in the year 2000 alone (Lindsey and Kelly, 2004). What more, the rate of suicide amongst the law enforcement officers in the US stands to be thrice that of the national average (Lindsey Kelly, 2004). The deathly toll that stress takes on the protectors and defenders of the civic life urgently needs to be arrested and dealt with.