"In social settings, male officers often talk about stressful events, but remove the fear and emotion that accompany these events and replace it with superhuman qualities," he says. On the other hand, women officers often feel excluded from war stories, and may feel that if they exaggerate stories the way males do they could be questioned. "So, it becomes a male-only way of managing stress," adds [Don Kurtz].
By Douglas Page O Not all danger is n any shift, police officers may be expected to shoot some- on the street one, be shot at, see a partner killed, use force to resist a physical attack, rescue a battered child, participate in a high-speed chase, and inform a parent that his or her child has been killed in a traffic accident. It’s a small wonder that police officers are twice as likely to die by their own hand than by that of an assailant. Suicide is not the only adverse outcome to result from police work. The pressures of law enforcement also put officers’ physical and mental health at risk. The University of Buffalo (UB) conducted a long-term study that followed more than 400 police officers. Results showed that officers over the age of 40 have a higher 10-year risk of a coronary event than the national average. It went on to illustrate 72 percent of female officers and 43 percent of male officers have higher than recommended cholesterol levels, and police as a group have higher than average pulse rates and diastolic blood pressure. “Policing is psychologically stressful work, filled with danger, high demands, human misery and exposure to death,” says John Violanti, a professor in the UB department of social and preven- tative medicine. Violanti is himself a 23-year veteran of the New York State Police. Violanti hopes his work, called the Buffalo Cardio-Metabolic 26 Law Enforcement Technology ■ February 2010 ■ www.officer.com Occupational Police Stress (or stress is associated with physiological more likely to become ill. The body BCOPS) study, may lead to police risk factors that can lead to serious becomes physiologically unbalanced, department-centered interventions health problems such as diabetes and organs are attacked, and the immune to reduce the risk of stress-related cardiovascular disease. system is compromised. “That’s what disease among police. Violanti used Other studies have shown that stress does to us,” notes Violanti. measures of cortisol, also called the when cortisol becomes dysr
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