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Lecture 5

LS327 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Shift Work

Legal Studies
Course Code
Fred Desroches

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LS 327 - Lecture 5 - Police Occupational Stress and the Police Subculture
Danger and the Murder of Police Officers
police work is highly stressful, common to put their lives on the line
murder of police officers:
- b/w 1961 and 2001: 133 police officers murdered during line of duty
- taxi drivers most at risk for murder then police comes next
most dangerous: responding to a robbery then dealing with domestic violence then
vehicle stops
most common way they die: firearms (most of the time, it’s their firearm)
Research on Police Stress
emotional, physical, may include alcoholism, heart strokes, early death, long term sick
leave, absentees, poor performance
early research shows: police officers high rates of heart attack, high alcohol addictions,
high suicide rates in comparison to other professions
- one of the highest rates of stomach disorder, suffered high amounts of divorce,
ulcers, emotional problems
- belief that police have a lower life expectancy rate
- but also a matter of how well they manage of dealing with this stress
later studies show: serious methodological problems in early research results, especially
defining stress
- also the fact that male naturally had higher rates of alcoholism and since most
males are in policing
- shows that policing not that stressful from other occupations
- their suicide rates really not that high from the norm, while some studies show
that their suicide rates are lower
- police don’t have any higher rates of alcoholism and divorce than most other
- policing not extremely stressful than other types of professions
- police able to cope with the stress, tend to be healthy people and lifestyles, likely
have been weeded out if they have alcohol disorders
- people that do stay in policing are people who enjoy it
- may find it stimulating/exciting
Police Suicides
early studies show that police officers are 4 to 6 times more likely to act upon suicide
than any other groups
more recent studies: suicide rates actually below than general population (Canada, US,
- part of the reason: high status profession in these countries
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