Understanding Human Behavior for Effective Police Work

By Harold E. Russell; Allan Beigel | Go to book overview

difficult to measure. Officers may be seen as malingerers who are trying to con the system into granting undeserved benefits. Since a single officer's retirement benefits can cost the pension system between one and two million dollars, it is easy to understand the need to award disability pensions only to those who truly deserve them.

Stratton ( 1986) observes that

In recent years, stress has replaced the "bad back" as the piranha of the compensation industry, voraciously chewing up large chunks of benefit funds. Because of the great emphasis placed on police officer stress in the last decade, and because police work is so obviously emotionally stressful, disability claims based on stress-related conditions have sky-rocketed in the 1980s. The problem is compounded by the lack of familiarity with police work that characterizes psychologists and psychiatrists who are not in the police field. (p. 527)

A police officer who is claiming job stress as a basis for disability retirement walks into a doctor's office for an evaluation. The doctor asks, "What do you do for a living?" The claimant replies, "I'm a police officer" and the doctor says, "Gee, you must be under a hell of a lot of stress, aren't you?" The claimant emerges with the doctor's findings that he is no longer able to perform the duties of a police officer (which the doctor really knows nothing about -- except what the claimant told him) and recommends the granting of a disability pension. Stratton ( 1986) notes that in California, the provisions of the Labor Code governing the awarding of disability pensions so liberally favor the claimant that practically all cases are granted pensions. Approximately 50 percent of California law enforcement officers retire on disability.


Summary

In this chapter, we have discussed situations and conditions of police work that are associated with special stress, including the use of deadly force, postshooting trauma and other critical incidents, burnout, special assignments, police marriages, and retirement. Experienced officers can certainly think of other special stresses we have not covered.

While there is ample evidence to indicate how and why police officers encounter significant stress on and off the job, we also believe that police officers do a disservice to themselves and their profession by being more negative about these stresses than is called for.

-393-

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Understanding Human Behavior for Effective Police Work
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Part I Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 the Changing Role of the Police Officer 3
  • Summary 11
  • Chapter 2 Foundations of a Professional Attitude Toward Human Behavior 13
  • Summary 17
  • Bibliography 17
  • Part II the Origins and Complexities of Human Behavior 19
  • Chapter 3 Normal Personality Development 21
  • Summary 28
  • Bibliography 29
  • Chapter 4 the Normal Personality in Operation: Conflicts and the Mechanisms of Defense 30
  • Summary 41
  • Bibliography 42
  • Chapter 5 Abnormal Behavior: What It is and What to Do 43
  • Summary 56
  • Bibliography 56
  • Part III Understanding Mental Illness 59
  • Chapter 6 Personality Disorders 61
  • Summary 68
  • Bibliography 68
  • Chapter 7 Neurotic Disorders 70
  • Summary 91
  • Bibliography 91
  • Chapter 8 Psychotic Disorders 93
  • Summary 107
  • Bibliography 108
  • Part IV Assessing and Managing Abnormal Behavior in the Field 111
  • Chapter 9 Psychopathic Behavior 113
  • Summary 129
  • Bibliography 130
  • Chapter 10 Aberrant Sexual Behavior 153
  • Bibliography 154
  • Chapter 11 Delinquent Behavior 157
  • Summary 164
  • Bibliography 164
  • Chapter 12 Drug-Dependent Behavior 165
  • Summary 181
  • Bibliography 181
  • Chapter 13 Paranoid Behavior 184
  • Summary 191
  • Bibliography 191
  • Chapter 14 Violent Behavior 193
  • Summary 220
  • Bibliography 221
  • Chapter 15 Suicidal Behavior 225
  • Summary 250
  • Bibliography 250
  • Part V Behavioral Aspects of Crisis Situations 253
  • Chapter 16 Behavioral Aspects of Disasters 255
  • Summary 267
  • Bibliography 268
  • Chapter 17 Behavioral Aspects of Crowd and Riot Control 288
  • Bibliography 289
  • Chapter 18 Behavioral Aspects of Hostage Situations 290
  • Summary 317
  • Bibliography 318
  • Chapter 19 Behavioral Aspects of Conflict Situations 319
  • Summary 326
  • Bibliography 326
  • Chapter 20 Behavioral Aspects of Crisis Intervention with Victims 327
  • Summary 339
  • Bibliography 339
  • Part VI the Stresses of Police Work 341
  • Chapter 21 Job-Related Stress 343
  • Summary 363
  • Bibliography 364
  • Chapter 22 Special Stress Situations 366
  • Summary 393
  • Bibliography 394
  • Chapter 23 the Brotherhood of Biochemistry: Its Implications for a Police Career 416
  • Part VII Conclusion 417
  • Chapter 24 the Role of the Mental Health Professional in Police Work 419
  • Summary 434
  • Bibliography 436
  • Index 437
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