U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Peer Support Officer's Handbook

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1997
47 pages
This peer support manual for police officers recognizes peer support programs can identify a wide range of problem areas, such as depression, alcohol abuse, suicidal feelings, marital difficulties, and domestic violence, and can also identify critical incident stress and post-traumatic stress.
Peers, or fellow police officers, are trained to recognize various symptoms and problems and to make appropriate referrals. Peer support teams can reduce the daily stress of police work; alleviate the emotional impact of critical incidents; and prevent the buildup of anger, frustration, and despair that often leads to alcohol abuse, domestic violence, depression, and suicide. Peer support officers are individuals who demonstrate interpersonal skills, good judgment, maturity, trustworthiness, and a genuine willingness and desire to help their coworkers. The handbook reviews various interpersonal skills, provides helpful tips, discusses relevant ethical issues for peer support officers, notes signs and symptoms of various problem areas, offers information on stress management, explains different types of psychotherapy and how to make referrals, provides information on operational procedures, and answers basic questions that may arise in the course of peer support activities. A list of useful resources is included. 3 references

Date Published: January 1, 1997