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Public Policy and Administration


Gregory Koehle


The police profession is viewed as one of the most stressful occupations in the world. Police officers are responsible for handling calls for service, serving and protecting the community, enforcing laws, and preventing and solving crimes. These responsibilities along with many others can become overwhelming and lead to police stress and trauma. Police stress has been linked to adverse effects on the performances and health of police officers. The purpose of this mixed methods study was to describe the internal and external factors of police stress through their lived experiences as police officers, and the stress management techniques used by police departments to treat police stress. The theoretical framework was based on Kingdon's multiple streams approach. The research questions were designed to examine the factors of police stress and the treatments offered by police departments to help officers manage police stress. Data were collected through surveys and interviews with 15 police officers and 2 human resources department employees from 2 police departments in a southern state. Quantitative results from the surveys were analyzed using Intellectus Statistics software. Qualitative results from the face to face interviews were organized and analyzed using Nvivo 12. The findings indicated that death, time away from family, and trust were main stress factors affecting officers and that Employee Assistance Programs were treatments police departments offer to officers to help manage stress. The implications for social change is improving police officer job performance, the overall mental and physical health of police officers as well as strengthening police-citizen relationships.

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