Sample Criminal Justice Paper on Stress and Law Enforcement

Stress and Law Enforcement

Symptoms of Stress Experienced By Law Enforcement Personnel

Stress among the police is recognized as one of the factors that significantly affect their performance. It has been reported that the rate of alcoholism, divorce, and suicide has increased among the mentioned group. Although most occupations have stressors, the ones experienced in law enforcement are unavoidable and unique and have dire consequences. For example, these officers pose a risk to the public due to emotional instability that stems from stress. Moreover, they work for long hours and in different environments, which results to a high level of fatigue that impedes their ability to be efficient (NIJ, 2018). Some of the other sources of stress among police officers are exposure to violet and graphic crime scenes, numerous threats on both their health and safety and hostility from the public (Adrenal Fatigue Solution, 2018). Some of the symptoms of stress include fatigue, insomnia, restlessness, lowered sex drive, excessive drinking, increased mistakes on both court and departmental paperwork, as well as sleeping while on duty.

Fatigue among law enforcement officials is usually caused by the long working hours that they have to endure. Essentially, when the human mind is subjected to stressful conditions it responds through releasing of hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. These biological chemicals increase the heart rate and cause blood vessel constrictions and muscle tension (NIJ, 2018). A constant occurrence of this process causes fatigue in the body due to adrenaline exhaustion. Insomnia and restlessness, on the other hand, result from a change in sleeping patterns, which are triggered by stress and other factors. Law enforcement requires a high level of concentration and alertness, which cannot be achieved with long working hours.

Increased stress has effects on the biological functioning of law enforcement officials. Often, it leads to reduced sex drive and the inability to control or manage emotions. Continuous exposure to the mentioned stressors may lead to suicide and deaths among these professionals. Other police officers resort to excessive drinking to help manage their stressful conditions.

Impact of the Symptoms

Fatigue is a source of stress among law enforcement officers, and it has a significant impact on their performance. It may cause them to lose concentration while on duty and unable to manage personal relationships both at work and homes. In such situations, incidences of misconduct and lack of discipline become common. Excessive drinking, on the other hand, reduces the ability of police officers’ to perform their duties effectively (Baker, 2008). For example, it lowers their judgment, which makes them prone to making grievous mistakes. Additionally, it may lead to poor time management at work and increased accidents due to their physical instability and intoxication.

Emotional instability may also cause inability to testify in court. Police officers are usually required by the court to give their accounts on various investigations that they perform. The outcomes of cases are largely determined by the accounts of investigators, who are usually law enforcement officers. The inability of the officers to fulfill the mentioned duty prevents them from performing their duty of protecting the public from criminals (Bond, 2017). Insomnia reduces the effectiveness of police officers both in conducting departmental paperwork and maintaining law and order in the community. Lack of proper sleep due to long working hours and continuous change of shifts causes exhaustion, restlessness, constant sleeping while on duty, and inability to concentrate.







Adrenal Fatigue Solution. (2018). Police stress: Identifying & managing symptoms of stress. Retrieved from

Baker, L. (2008). Researchers investigate the impact of stress on police officers’ physical and mental health. Retrieved from

Bond, M. (2017). The impact of stress and fatigue on law enforcement officers and ways to control it. Retrieved from

NIJ. (2018). Causes of officer stress and fatigue. Retrieved from