Morehead State University

Poster Title

A Study of the Psychological Services Available to Law Enforcement Officers

Institution

Morehead State University

Abstract

An exploratory survey was conducted assessing the availability of psychological services for police officers, their families, and civilian workers. The top 50 largest city and county departments, as well as the 49 state police agencies (Hawaii does not have one) were surveyed, with a 46% response rate. Frequencies were calculated on variables to determine most commonly utilized counseling services and concerns. Most agencies provided services to employees via externally contracted mental health providers (79%), while less than half of respondents provided some psychological services to their employees in-house (42%). Available services were marketed most frequently through In-Service training (78%), Academy Lecture (67%), and E-mail (48%). The most commonly utilized services were critical incident debriefings, and counseling for job stress and personal problems (i.e. depression, grief, legal and financial problems). Officers self-referred to counseling services 42% of the time, and were referred by their supervisor 21% of the time. The four largest concerns with seeking counseling were 1) Loss of peer respect, 2) Lack of confidentiality, 3) Loss of job, and 4) Loss of firearm. Over half of responding agencies relied on departmental policies and/or state laws to insure confidentiality (63%). Just over one-third (36%) of respondents restricted access to counseling records, and slightly over one-third (34%) relied on a third party provider to insure confidentiality. One-fifth had firm peer support team expectations of privacy.

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A Study of the Psychological Services Available to Law Enforcement Officers

An exploratory survey was conducted assessing the availability of psychological services for police officers, their families, and civilian workers. The top 50 largest city and county departments, as well as the 49 state police agencies (Hawaii does not have one) were surveyed, with a 46% response rate. Frequencies were calculated on variables to determine most commonly utilized counseling services and concerns. Most agencies provided services to employees via externally contracted mental health providers (79%), while less than half of respondents provided some psychological services to their employees in-house (42%). Available services were marketed most frequently through In-Service training (78%), Academy Lecture (67%), and E-mail (48%). The most commonly utilized services were critical incident debriefings, and counseling for job stress and personal problems (i.e. depression, grief, legal and financial problems). Officers self-referred to counseling services 42% of the time, and were referred by their supervisor 21% of the time. The four largest concerns with seeking counseling were 1) Loss of peer respect, 2) Lack of confidentiality, 3) Loss of job, and 4) Loss of firearm. Over half of responding agencies relied on departmental policies and/or state laws to insure confidentiality (63%). Just over one-third (36%) of respondents restricted access to counseling records, and slightly over one-third (34%) relied on a third party provider to insure confidentiality. One-fifth had firm peer support team expectations of privacy.