Stress and Violence in Law Enforcement

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Stress and Violence in Law Enforcement Powered By Docstoc
					 Stress and Violence
 In Law Enforcement
             “The struggle to juggle”
   Threaten the safety of an employee.
Have an impact on any employee’s physical,
  emotional or psychological well-being.
   Cause damage to company property.

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Threat is an act of coercion wherein an act is proposed to elicit a negative response. It
is a communicated intent to inflict harm or loss on another person. It can be a crime in
                                   many jurisdictions

“A” threat to your business — leading to
Accidents, Absences, and business busting
hostile Attitudes toward co-workers and

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          The Dark Side of Officer Stress

• 30% of officers have ulcers or stomach problems
• Excessive alcohol use rates vary from 25-67%
• The suicide rate for officers is 7-30% higher than national average
• Twice as many officers kill themselves as die in the line of duty
• Divorce rate can be as high as 60-70%
• 20-30% of officers in urban areas will develop PTSD during careers
• Shiftwork is related to higher levels of fatigue & sleep problems (80%), depression
(5-15x higher), and gastro-intestinal problems (30%)
• Over 50% of marital relationships experience tension due to shiftwork
• 10% of spouses report being abused and 40% have been involved in violent
behavior toward spouse or children

       The precise statistics vary according to which study you read, but the message
       is clear– Officers are at increased risk of stress and therefore must practice
       good stress management
                  Heart Rate & Stress Effects (beats/min)

Above 175 bpm:
• irrational fight/flight     220        175 bpm:
• freezing                               • tunnel vision
• submissive behavior         200        • tunnel hearing
• voiding bladder/bowel                  • loss of near vision
• best gross motor skills     180        • loss of depth perception
                                         • cognitive processing deteriorates
                              160        • vasoconstriction– reduced bleeding

                                         145 bpm:
115-145 bpm-- optimal                    • complex motor skills deteriorate
survival & combat level
• complex motor skills        120
• visual reaction time                  115 bpm:
• cognitive reaction time     100       • fine motor skills deteriorate

                              80         60-80 bpm:
                                         • normal resting heart rate
              Things to Think About
•   The Law
•   Your Organization
•   Comfort Level
•   Level of risk
•   Risk Management
•   Your Liability
•   Employee Safety
•   Worker Safety
•   Public Opinion

                           So hang in there baby!
    Systems of the Body                        Shortness of breath
                                               Respiratory colds
Circulatory                                    Allergies
                                                      Sore muscles
  Poor circulation                                    Painful joints
  Light headed                           Muscular     Muscular fatigue
  High blood pressure
  Irregular heartbeat                          Immune       More colds
                                                                Sleep disruption
              Upset stomach                         Nervous     Anxiety
              Acid reflux                                       Jittery
              Diarrhea                                          Moody

                              Stress                   Frequency
         Stress/Crisis Cycle: Vicious or Benevolent

                                Culture & Policy


                                  Immediate               Post
  Officer           Crisis                                          Performance
                                    Stress             Traumatic
Personality       Situation                                            Effects
                                   Response            Response

            Role                                         Coping
                                   Impact on
          Behavior                                      Methods
                                                         & Skills
           Normal reactions to an abnormal situation
            (officers involved in shooting situations)

• 58% heightened sense of danger
• 49% anger, blaming
• 46% sleep difficulties
• 45% isolation & withdrawal
• 44% flashbacks, intrusive thoughts
• 43% emotional numbing
• 42% depression
• 40% alienation
• 40% fear, anxiety
• 37% guilt, sorrow, remorse                   About 1/3 have mild or no reaction,
• 34% nightmares                               1/3 have moderate reaction, and
• 28% stigmatized                              1/3 experience a severe reaction
• 28% problems with “the system”
• 27% family problems
• 23% feeling crazy, lose control
• 18% sexual difficulties
• 14% alcohol/drug abuse
      Personality Traits of Emergency Workers:
                      A Paradox

 1. Need to be in control
 2. Desire to do a perfect job
 3. Strive for consistency
 4. Strong intrinsic motivation
 5. Action oriented
 6. Stimulation seeking/easily bored
 7. Need for immediate feedback
 8. Risk taker
 9. Need to rescue/be needed
10. High dedication
“Cops are the ones who
are running toward,
what everybody else is
running away from”
Control yourself before you control others

• officers, like other people, can “leak” nonverbal cues that can complicate or
escalate situations
• mentally rehearse your procedures
• tense and relax muscles– relax more deeply
• breath slowly and deeply
• self-talk yourself calmer
• scan the environment before you enter– don’t rush
• know what you want to accomplish
• take a time-out– ask them to “think about it for a minute”
medium is
Paralanguage: Nonverbal Behavior– gestures &

• some nonverbal behaviors, especially facial expressions, are consistent across
cultures (sadness, anger, fear, surprise, disgust, happiness)
• young children respond faster to nonverbals
• people comply with speaker requests whose speaking rate is similar to their own
• touching lightly on the arm often increases compliance
• gestures vary considerably across people and cultures
• within known groups, you can assume certain nonverbals mean similar things
            Gestures may not mean what you think they mean…
                        Cross-Cultural Nonverbals

1.   eating, receiving or touching with the left hand
2.   pat or touch the heads of children
3.   curling index finger upward to call someone over
4.   direct eye contact with Latin Americans, Japanese, Koreans
5.   “OK” sign with thumb & forefinger to
6.   nodding “yes” or “no”
7.   sitting relaxed or foot crossed on knee
8.   firm, solid handshake
9.   thumbs-up
10. pointing with a finger
11. laughing
12. loud tone with expansive gestures
               Nonverbal signs of anger
               (as if you had to guess…)

Early signs
• touching or rubbing nose
• inappropriate smile (don’t believe you)
• turning body slightly away (uninterested)
• rubbing back of neck (frustration)
• scuffing shoes

                                 Late signs
                                 • loud volume voice
                                 • rapid speech
                                 • short, quick breaths
                                 • clenched fists
                                 • flaring nostrils
                                 • reddened face
        Nonverbal Calming

• don’t stand with hands on hips or                        near
• use open palm and open arm gestures
• avoid touching angry people; “herd” with open gestures
• use intermittent eye contact rather than stare down
• relax your facial features, smile, show concern
• use soft tones and normal to low volume
• move slowly
• don’t move or talk head on
• turn slightly sideways (armed side away)
• show interest in other items
• remove cap
• don’t hold control items (baton, flashlight, mace)
• have everyone seated
   Nonverbal signs to indicate your authority

• Sit or stand erect with square shoulders
• Match their expression (except anger); be sincere
• Elevate your hands to nose level about 8 – 10 inches away from the face
• Avoid touching your face or hair – that indicates nervousness
• Use the person’s name to give a sense of caring - it makes them feel like a
person, not a number.
• Get them moving – offer them a chair or take them to a private area. This
demonstrates your concern.
• Offer them a beverage – it takes their mind off their main concern and gives
you a breather to give some information.
• Acknowledge their feelings – paraphrase what they have said
• Only offer assistance that you can provide. Use "I," "What I can do is…."
• Offer them an alternative if one is appropriate and available.
• Be courteous and let them vent – but for no more than two minutes. After
two minutes, interrupt by using their name or dropping something on the floor.
        Defusing Anger

1.   Acknowledge the feeling. keep your voice calm.
     Use eye contact, the person's name, and slow
     but firm gestures.
2.   Start with lighter and move to heavier
     interventions when necessary.
3.   Give options. Having choices conveys respect
     and acknowledges power in a positive way.
4.   Model respectful behavior. Treat people in an                   adult
     manner even if their behavior is childish.
     DON'T scold or humiliate them.
5.   At first signs of anger, decide whether probing the content or
     acknowledging the feeling is preferable. Sometimes an open-ended of
     factual question redirects the party and allows them to cool down. In
     some situations, calling attention to the emotion at the moment of
     escalation can actually increase the intensity of the feeling.
6.   Don't allow abusive behavior to escalate and be even more difficult to
     handle. You will also be sanctioning the pain that they are inflicting on
     each other.
7.   Offer positive, encouraging suggestions: "Let's just stop for a minute
     and take a deep breath. You're feeling the tension of tackling some
     important and difficult issues. We're making some progress, though."
8.   Don't panic or conclude that the mediation is hopeless. Acknowledge
     to yourself and to the parties that intense feelings are a apart of
     resolving difficult issues.
9.   Normalize the feeling if not the behavior. "Most people I work with feel
     the way you do in this situation-- really between a rock and a hard
     place. It often seems hopeless just before things start to move
10. Rely on your relationships and the power of your position to maintain
    or regain control. Remind them that your responsibility is to keep
    them focused positively toward a resolution and that you intend to do
11. Finally, if you feel uneasy with intense anger, either co-mediate, or
    refer the parties to someone else. Know and respect your own limits.
12. Give the person time-- take the pressure off
    and allow cooling out time. People de-escalate
    at different rates. Usually, the more upset the
    person is, the longer it will take to calm down.
    Sitting quietly for a moment may be enough,
    or suggest a short break if necessary.
13. Don't try to discuss the content until the
    person is calm.
14. Don't threaten to take action unless you are
    prepared to carry it out.
15. Be aware that the person may become more
    easily aroused again -- and that the other
    person may escalate as well. Anger can have a contagious effect.
16. Use empathic statements carefully. Overstating or understating the
    intensity of the feeling may trigger the person. Some empathic
    statements can sound insincere or condescending, such as "I can tell
    you're feeling angry."
17. Ensure your own safety. Don't put yourself physically between two
    angry, out-of-control people. Rather, give them short, specific
    commands to help them regain control.
       Critical Incidents:
• Sudden and unexpected
• disrupt our sense of control
• involve the perception of life
 threatening threat
• may involve physical or emotional loss
• violate our values and beliefs about the way the
 world ought to work
    • “The world is a good and safe place--bad things don’t happen to good
    • “The world is meaningful, predictable, fair, and controllable”
    • “Just do the right thing and everything will work out OK”
 Stress and the Nervous System:
 Getting stuck in the “on” position

Sympathetic Branch:
• acute hearing
• visual scanning
• pupil dilation
• hyperalert
• inhibit salivation                          Parasympathetic Branch
• faster heart rate                           • slower, deeper breathing
• rapid breathing                             • slow heart rate
• cold hands                                  • constricts pupil
• muscle tension                              • warm extremities
• adrenaline rush                             • hunger, digestion
• liver releases glucose                      • tired, fatigued
• loss of appetite                            • relaxed muscles
• slowed digestion                            • contract bladder
• contract sphincters                         • release sphincters
• constipation
                           Rebound Reaction
  “Universal Behavioral Precautions”
• Remember, your safety is of the utmost
  importance to us.
• There is the potential for any worker to
  become verbally or ,in rare cases, even
  physically assaultive under extreme distress.
• These tips are designed to help you recognize
  escalating behavior and to take appropriate

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How Can Violence Be Prevented on
            the Job?

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   Common Job Stressors
• Constant                          • Continuous
  interruptions                       changes in
• Work overload                       regulations
• Complex                             and/or policies
  paperwork                         • Upset, confused
• Lack of control                     or angry
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       Causes of Job Stress

•   Excessive workload
•   Long hours and low pay
•   Tedious tasks
•   High performance demands
•   Poor communications

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     Stress-Related Illnesses

•   Hypertension                     • Backaches
•   Coronary Conditions              • Rheumatoid Arthritis
•   Ulcers                           • Psoriasis, Acne,
•   Migraine Headaches                 Eczema
•   Cancer                           • Diabetes
•   Allergies                        • Hypoglycemia
•   Asthma                           • Irritable Bowel
•   TMJ Syndrome                       Syndrome
                                     • Hyperventilation
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       What Is Workplace Violence?

1. Physical Assault

2. Threatening Behavior

3. Verbal Abuse

4. Harassment

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Your Role in Preventing and Defusing

• Anticipation

• Security Measures

• Intervention

• Reporting

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    Defusing Anger,
Frustration, and Conflict

    • There is a need to effectively
      defuse the anger of a patient,
      family or visitor in a calm and
      professional manner.

    • Not every threat of violence
      can be predicted or prevented.

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                  Displaced Anger

• Anger is a response to feeling
  threatened, scared or hurt.
• People displace their anger on
  a “safe target”.
  Preventing and Defusing Workplace
• Understand the scope of
  workplace violence
• Know the policy
• Recognize warning signs of
  violent behavior
• Be prepared to take
  appropriate action

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    Examples of Violent or Threatening
•   Verbal abuse
•   Indirect threats
•   Direct threats
•   Nonverbal threats
•   Extreme threats
•   Violent actions

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      Warning Signs of Confusion
• The person appears
  bewildered or
• They are unsure or
  uncertain of the next
  course of action.

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       Responses to Confusion
1. Listen Attentively
   to the person
2. Ask clarifying
3. Give factual

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     Warning Signs of Frustration
1. The person is
   impatient and reactive
2. The person resists
   information you are
   giving them
3. The person may try to
   bait you

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       Responses to Frustration
1. Move the person to
   a quiet location
2. Reassure them, talk
   to them in a calm
3. Attempt to clarify
   their concerns

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        Warning Signs of Blame
1. The person places
   responsibility on
   everyone else
2. They may accuse you
   or hold you
3. They may find fault
   with others
4. They may place blame
   on you

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          Responses to Blame
1. Disengage with the
   person and bring a
   second party into the
2. Use a teamwork
3. Draw the person back
   to the facts
4. Show respect and
5. Focus on areas of
   agreement to help
   resolve the situation
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         Warning Signs of Anger
1. The person may show a
   visible change in body
2. Actions may include
   pounding fists, pointing
   fingers, shouting or
3. This signals VERY RISKY

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            Responses to Anger
1. Don’t argue with the
2. Don’t offer solutions
3. Prepare to evacuate
   the area or isolate the
4. Contact your
   supervisor and
   security personnel

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      Warning Signs of Hostility
1. Physical actions or
   threats appear
2. There is immediate
   danger of physical
   harm or property
3. Out-of-control
   behavior signals the
   person has crossed
   the line

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    Tips: Verbal Strategies

• Listen

• Set limits

• Restate common goals
     Stages of Violent Behavior

• Stage 1 – early
  potential for violence

• Stage 2 – escalated
  potential for violence

• Stage 3 – potential for
  violence realized

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     Dealing with an Angry Co-Worker

Worker on the right has
 responded to the angry
 worker by pointing his
 finger back and yelling.
 He is also leaning toward
 the angry worker. This
 confrontational style can
 only make a tense
 situation worse.

 Do not argue or raise your voice at the angry worker
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                Corrected Situation

The worker being yelled at is
  responding to the situation in a
  better way. He had stepped
  away from the angry worker.

Arms are out to his side is a non-
  threatening posture and
  indicates that he is ready to
  listen. He is not yelling or even
  talking and instead is listening
  to the angry person.

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Determine the Etiology of the Hostility
             and Anger
 Which of these are present?
   Pain / Stress / Fear
   Grief / Depression

 Suggested Response:
   Listen…Reframe…Empathize
   Consider social worker or psychiatric consult.

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 Determine the Etiology of the Hostility
           and Anger (Cont’d)
 If these are the factors:
   Personality problems
   Behavioral problems

 Suggested Response:
   Confront with manager (person in position of perceived power)
    defining acceptable behavior.

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 “Stress is the
toothache of the

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      Communicate the “Process”
• Identify yourself and role.
• Anticipate their questions using your experience.
  People want to know what to expect.
• Explain the process and procedures in plain
• Acknowledge their emotional pain, feelings of
  helplessness and fears.
• Empathize.

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                          Listening is an Action

•   Listen to the person’s frustration.
•   Empathize with their “plight”.
•   Understand how they perceive the situation.
•   What do they want that they are not getting?
•   Address their concerns.
•   Offer a solution or an alternative.
               Defusing a Situation
                 Be aware of the anxiety level

• Note when situation first escalates.
     • Louder voice
     • Fidgeting, verbal sounds
     • Build up of energy
• Be Proactive not Reactive. Attend to client before things
  get out of hand.
• The staff needs to be in control by actively defusing the
  patient, family or visitor.

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       Defusing Techniques
• Avoid arguing or defending previous actions.

• Avoid threatening body language (don’t
  stand with arms crossed).

• Calmly but firmly outline limits of the setting.

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Some outbursts of anger represent displaced
frustrations, depression or other issues that
can be addressed through counseling.
Stress = Problems

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 It’s difficult to change
     your habits and
ultimately your life, but
      you can do it.

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Commitment vs. Involvement

Commitment and involvement
  is like a bacon and egg
The “chicken” is involved but
  the “pig” is committed.
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              Incident Reports
• Date, time, and location
• Name of aggressor
• Name of
• Witnesses
• Summary of incident
• Action taken

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• Share information
• Value each worker
• Clear roles and responsibilities
• Allow workers to participate in
  decision making
• Set realistic deadlines and
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Do not struggle to
   control the
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      Positive Stress Coping

•   Get Away                                •    Worship
•   Build Self-esteem                       •    Problem-Solving
•   Relaxing Hobbies                        •    Exercise
•   Play                                    •    Biofeedback
•   Learn New Things                        •    Sharing Feelings
•   Support System                          •    Set Priorities
•   Say “NO!”                               •    Life Planning

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         Time Management
•   Create a balanced schedule
•   Make a “to do” list
•   Prioritize tasks
•   Set time limits
•   Break tasks into small groups
•   Avoid procrastination
•   Delegate tasks

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 How many people are victims of non-fatal
     assaults on the job each year?

2,000,000 workers are victims each year in the U.S.
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