Officer Health and Wellness

Destination Zero Officer Wellness Resources

IACP, Police Chief Magazine
Dr. Olivia Johnson and Jerrod Brown
The law enforcement profession must recognize the importance of officer safety and wellness. Officers see, hear, and face things that most people will not witness in their life-times, and the resulting cumulative impact of stress and traumatic events witnessed by officers can wreak havoc on their physical, emotional, and psychological health. As a result, detrimental effects can percolate into all areas of an officer’s life (e.g., family, friends, peers, agency, and community members). Despite this, many officers do not ask for assistance due to the fear of being labeled as weak by their peers. Instead, officers often battle their demons through addiction or behavioral and relationship issues. Officers and law enforcement leaders must take an active role in normalizing the process of requesting assistance for these issues to limit how many officers suffer in silence. (read more...)
U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs Diagnostic Center
Jaime Brower, Psy.D., ABPP
Health and wellness among those who work in correctional agencies is an issue that has always existed, but is just starting to get the increasing attention that it deserves. One of the greatest threats to correctional officer (CO) wellness involves the stress they encounter as a result of their occupation. This document reviews the body of literature on the causes and effects of stress for COs, and describes the available research on CO wellness programs and their effectiveness. (read more...)
Policing is a demanding, often stressful career. On a daily basis, officers can be exposed to the worst humankind has to offer. They are called upon to make life and death decisions in a split-second and margins for error are slim. Despite these known stressors, officer mental health is a an often overlooked component of officer safety and wellness. IACP is committed to raising awareness around the importance of officer mental wellness and providing corresponding resources to help. (read more...)
National Institute of Justice
Law enforcement officers commonly work extended hours in ever-changing environments that can cause great mental and physical stress. Enduring fatigue for a long period of time may lead to chronic fatigue syndrome, a health problem characterized by extreme fatigue that does not improve with bed rest and continues to worsen with physical and mental activity. (read more...)
National Center for PTSD
PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault. This document overviews the aspects of PTSD (read more...)
National Institute of Mental Health
Everyone feels stressed from time to time. But what is stress? How does it affect your health? And what can you do about it? Stress is how the brain and body respond to any demand. Every type of demand or stressor—such as exercise, work, school, major life changes, or traumatic events—can be stressful. Stress can affect your health. It is important to pay attention to how you deal with minor and major stress events so that you know when to seek help. This article details the five things you should know about stress. (read more...)
Police Foundation
The “Shift Length” Experiment was designed to assess the advantages and/or disadvantages of various shift lengths and to examine whether or not there were differences in efficacy across different shift lengths. This study examines if the length of a shift, independent of time of day of the shift, impacts performance, health, safety, quality of life, overtime usage, and a variety of other outcomes. (read more...)
COPS Office
International Association of Chiefs of Police
This guide is intended to provide guidance for preparing officers and departments prior to an officer-involved shooting, suggested incident scene actions and procedures, recommended procedures for conducting criminal and administrative investigations, suggestions for working with the media, and mental health and wellness considerations and procedures. (read more...)
Police Chief Magazine
Michael Kehoe, Chief (Ret.), Newtown, Connecticut, Police Department, and Laura Usher, Manager, Criminal Justice and Advocacy National Alliance on Mental Illness
Police officers are carefully recruited and well-trained to deal with threats and ensure their own safety and the safety of their communities. As a result, many people would likely assume that officers are more resilient than the average citizen—and they may be. However, working in law enforcement exposes officers to many more risks of abuse, injury, and death than the average citizen. As a result, many officers struggle with alcoholism, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression. (read more...)
BJA and The Council of State Governments
Law Enforcement-Mental Health Learning Sites support jurisdictions in exploring strategies to improve the outcomes of encounters between law enforcement and people who have mental illnesses. (read more...)
Supervisory Special Agent Michael VanMeter
Most people who enter a career in law enforcement are unaware of the toxic effects the profession can have on them physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Unfortunately, the damage resulting from stress and long, unpredictable hours can cause many employees to turn to behaviors that, ultimately, may be deadly if not addressed. (read more...)
U.S. Department of Justice, COPS & Major Cities Chiefs Association
Joseph B. Kuhns, Edward R. Maguire, Nancy R. Leach
The four case studies included in this publication provide a small glimpse into the broader range of homegrown health, wellness, and safety programs that are likely operating in other law enforcement agencies nationwide. These four case studies are useful for thinking through some of the programmatic options for reducing law enforcement deaths associated with heart attacks and other physical and psychological illnesses, as well as deaths and injuries linked to motor-vehicle collisions and other safety risks. (read more...)
Police Chief Magazine
David Flory
One effort that crosses all boundaries related to policy development, enhanced training, and new equipment and that has shown significant positive outcomes in saving the lives of police officers is Street Survival: Casualty Care or Self-Aid/Buddy-Aid (SABA). (read more...)
Science Daily/University of Buffalo
The pressures of law enforcement put officers at risk for high blood pressure, insomnia, increased levels of destructive stress hormones, heart problems, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and suicide. (read more...)
Medical News Today Online
Petra Rattue
This is one of the first police population-based studies to test the association between the stress of being a police officer and psychological and health outcomes. (read more...)
Jason Shea, M.S., MPTC
Previous research has suggested that police officers are dying sooner than their same age civilian counterparts. For example, police officers at the age of 50 are dying sooner than their 50 year old civilian counterparts. (read more...)
Wayne County Sheriff’s Department
Lieutenant David Lapum
The average age that a male at birth can expect to live is 76.9 years. A female at birth can expect to live 79.5 years. Why is it then that a police officer can only expect to live an average of 66 years? (read more...)
Mora L. Fiedler
While agencies are determining how to best manage their shrinking budgets, these changes are impacting officers1 in various ways, such as creating larger patrol areas to cover, decreasing the number of backup officers, and increasing stress due to a myriad of factors experienced in the field. (read more...)
National Institute of Justice
John M. Violanti, Ph.D.
The physical health, psychological well-being, safety and efficiency at work are important factors for any police agency to consider. When one considers the monetary and human costs of fatigued officers, it is essential to promote scientific awareness and subsequent plausible interventions. (read more...)
Bureau of Justice Assistance
Elizabeth Lang Sanberg, Corina Solé Brito, Andrea Morrozoff Luna, Shannon M. McFadden
Law enforcement is a unique profession that requires personnel to interact with a wide range of people and often under unpredictable circumstances. Specifically, research finds that law enforcement officers are faced with a high risk for injury, whether from firearms, motor vehicle crashes, or other traumatic events. In addition to these threats, officers also have a high rate of coronary vascular disease and suicide. (read more...)
University of California at Los Angeles
Shantha M. W. Rajaratnam, PhD; Laura K. Barger, PhD; Steven W. Lockley, PhD; Steven A. Shea, PhD; Wei Wang, PhD; Christopher P. Landrigan; Conor S. O’Brien; Salim Qadri; Jason P. Sullivan; Brian E. Cade, PhD; Lawrence J. Epstein; David P. White; Charles A. Czeisler, PhD
Among a group of North American police officers, sleep disorders were common and were significantly associated with increased risk of self-reported adverse health, performance, and safety outcomes. (read more...)
Sam Houston State University
Randy Garner
A survey of law enforcement officers found that stress associated with interpersonal conflict, especially when dealing with criticism from others (both within and outside the law enforcement agency) was rated as one of the highest occupational stressors. Supervisors reported added stress when they were required to evaluate and criticize subordinates. (read more...)
Roseville Police Department
Lieutenant Thomas Suminski
A law enforcement officer should be in the best physical fitness at all times, as it is a requirement from the day they start their training at the police academy. They train through many different types of conditions that they must endure and be able to sustain. The sad thing is that there are so many police officers that do not continue to exercise and work out, nor do they keep themselves physically fit in body and in mind. (read more...)
Prehospital Emergency Care
Eileen M. Bulger, MD, FACS, et al.
This report describes the development of an evidence-based guideline for external hemorrhage control in the prehospital setting. This project included a systematic review of the literature regarding the use of tourniquets and hemostatic agents for management of life-threatening extremity and junctional hemorrhage. Using the GRADE methodology to define the key clinical questions, an expert panel then reviewed the results of the literature review, established the quality of the evidence and made recommendations for EMS care. A clinical care guideline is proposed for adoption by EMS systems. (read more...)

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This project was supported by Grant No. 2016-VI-BX-K003 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART). Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.