Police Environmental Contagions & Risk Factors
The majority of law enforcement officers begin their careers dealing with and encountering the realities of the profession and effects of the job. As they begin their on-the-job training and assigned an FTO (Field Training Officer), their thoughts and behaviors are continuing to be manipulated and evaluated. By design, this process create a departmental clone for the organization. Here is one of the first contagion environments encountered by new law enforcement officers. The cognitive restructuring and behavior modeling include the exposure to violence and misery, negative public interactions, constantly being aware of danger, the reminderance of civil and criminal liabilities, the gradual withdrawal from non-law enforcement friends, recognizing the long hours, rotating shifts, and low pay. These are currently identified as risk factors.
The contagions within the Disease Model will continue to metastasize in the new officer's thoughts and behaviors as they deal with intimate relationships with family and friends, professional bonding issues as they seek to be acknowledged by supervisors and accepted by peers and co-workers. Other contagious dynamics that become initiated from the job are financial challenges with cash flow and credit issues. Rotating shifts significantly influence and disrupt sleep patterns, alter eating styles and preferences while challenging physical routines and healthy life-styles.
At this point in the officer’s exposure and contamination to the professional environment, their choices, coping mechanisms, management skills and past life experiences are being individually considered, challenged and questioned. As job frustrations and the environmental stress continues there is further deterioration with the officer’s behavior, and observed in their miss-perceptions, over-reactions, indecisiveness, poor judgment, anxiety and stress manifesting with stomach and digestive issues, weight gain, and developing cardiovascular issues.