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National Institute of Justice Final Report "Project Shields"

NCJ Number
Date Published
142 pages
This project addresses major deficiencies in the literature on police stress and suggests ways to deal with police stress.
The project specifically addressed: the need for a well-characterized, psychometrically validated and up-to-date police stress assessment tool; the lack of information on domestic violence in police families and its relationship, if any, with police stress; and the identification of officer-driven strategies to address police stress, especially police stress-related domestic violence. The project developed a new police stress questionnaire and administered it to a large sample of Baltimore City Police Department sworn law enforcement employees. The data were used by Participatory Action Research Teams using Total Quality Management techniques to identify police stress interventions. The most significant work-related stressors for police officers were workplace (perceived) discrimination and perception of inequity; organizational rigidity and perceived "unfairness"; and repeated exposure to critical incidents. Recommended actions to deal with these problems include: (1) addressing quality of work life issues; (2) input by front line police officers into what intervention strategies will be useful; and (3) developing valid scales to evaluate stress and stress-related outcomes. The study finding that police stress was significantly associated with domestic violence suggests the need to study the relationship between police stress and hyperaggressive behavior among police in general. Tables, figure, references

Date Published: January 1, 2000