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How do you keep your composure while in stressful situations on the job?

I am in the 11th grade. I have family members in in law enforcement and I am really interested in the field. I want to know what it takes to be a police officer. #police #law-enforcement

Thank you comment icon I agree with several of the respondents to your question. It takes self confidence to maintain your composure when confronted with a stressful situation. Your self-confidence will improve with your age, training and life experiences. Being in a uniform is different than being in plain clothes. A uniform represents authority and there are still plenty of people out there that recognize this. Then there are some that don't. When you are right you must stand your ground and know that you aren't alone. Brad Johnson

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Subject: Career question for you

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Mike’s Answer

Training, life experience, job experience, confidence, good judgement, ability to evaluate the situation, and react professionally

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Kim’s Answer

Believe it or not Eric, when you get into a stressful situation in law enforcement, you will usually not have time to think! You will react, based on training and experience, and it won't really get to you emotionally until afterwards.


I worked in a VERY customer-service oriented department, that really frowned on things like arrests (believe it or not. . . . ) The first time I ever drew my firearm was in the middle of a crowded public building. I had never dreamed it would be that way, but, as I walked past an employee when responding to a disturbance, he turned to me and said "be careful - he has a gun." One thing they told us time after time in the police academy is "reaction never beat action." If the bad guy has a gun in his hand, and yours is in your holster, you are at a deadly disadvantage. Based on that training, and, without even thinking, I drew my gun. From that point on, everything is training. Make the arrest. Do the reports. Then afterwards you start thinking about it, play it back in your mind, think of what could have gone differently, and things like that. But not until it's all over.


Also, there is a certain degree of "Acting" that goes with the job. When you put on the uniform, you step into a role, and you play that part. People's expectations of you, because you are in that uniform, help you to be successful in playing that part.


hope this helps!

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Chris’s Answer

Hi Eric,


I see you're interested in law enforcement. Unfortunately I'm not in this profession, however I can provide advice on your initial question regarding stressful situations that should apply to any career.


You should take a step back to assess the situation. Too many times when we're under stress it feels like we're forced to make quick decision. This isn't typically the case and usually you'll have a chance to take a moment or some time to think through the situation. Typically you'll find it's not as stressful as it seems once you've thought through how to address it. Giving yourself options on how to resolve will make you more comfortable.


Once the situation has passed get advice from others. Find out if colleagues, friends, family, or anyone you know has encountered. They're bound to give you ideas on how to address in the future that you won't think about.


Chris

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Steffi’s Answer

I am not in law enforcement but I have a friend who is. But I do know what it is like to work in stressful situations. First thing I would do is to analyze how you already handle stress in your life. Some people are cut out for law enforcement and some aren't. So many police officers have anxiety. They are trained to keep their emotions under check at all times, which usually carries over into home life. They are on hyper-alert 24 hours a day, meaning that their body is in a constant state of fight or flight. This is very taxing on the body. First you have to attend a police academy if accepted, then you go through training. Some states are requiring at least an associates degree to become a police officer as well. You have to have a clean background, no felonies, misdemeanors, etc. You also have to be in decent shape. You need to be quick to act and always one step ahead of people. I have a lot of respect for law enforcement officers, so I hope this helps you!

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Douglas’s Answer

Hello Eric,


Beyond all the training and experience you have (or will be receiving) it is extremely important to remember this: It's not personal; it's your job. When someone calls you a foul name or insults your wife/kids/mother it is not personal; the person who levied the insult doesn't know anything about you and is only trying to make themselves look/feel better by baiting you into a fight. When someone physically attacks you, hits/kicks,bites you, shoots at you, etc, it's not personal; the person who attacked you is probably trying to get away from you because they fear what you represent (law, justice, consequences).


What is personal is the pride you take in doing your job to the best of your ability and in knowing that despite all the problems you encountered during the day, you did your best to make a positive difference in the world.


Stay cool!

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Jolean’s Answer

The best way to get good at anything is to practice. In the 11th grade, I could not have managed some of the stressful situations that I handle now. So don't feel that you have to have all of the skills you will need to have right now, you will get them over time if you choose experiences that make you a little uncomfortable and stretch your abilities.


My father was a police officer. He was great at the job, but he also struggled with anxiety. Some people are naturally calm, he had to cultivate this with practice. All jobs are a combination of things you have a natural talent for and things you have to develop over time. Don't let this discourage you. It's just the way it works.


Jolean

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Mike’s Answer

Through training, experience, mindset, and the ability to think on your feet. Communication skills and how you deal with people also assist greatly. If you do the right thing and treat people good you will succeed.

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James Constantine’s Answer

Dear Eric,

The ability to stay calm under pressure is a vital trait for a police officer. Here are some practical steps to cultivate this ability:

Consistent Training: Regular, all-inclusive training is key for police officers to effectively navigate high-pressure situations. This should encompass firearms training, de-escalation methods, and mental health assistance.

Physical Health: Routine exercise and a balanced lifestyle can aid in stress management and foster emotional strength. Fitness evaluations are often a requirement for police recruitment, underlining the importance of staying fit for duty.

Mindfulness Practices: Techniques like mindfulness and meditation can assist police officers in remaining focused and composed during stressful situations. These methods can be acquired through training programs and practiced consistently to enhance resilience.

Colleague Support: A robust network of supportive colleagues can help police officers deal with stress. This could be informal support or structured peer support initiatives.

Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM): CISM is a collection of crisis intervention strategies aimed at helping first responders cope with the impact of traumatic incidents. It comprises debriefings, defusing, and other interventions to assist officers in processing their experiences and managing stress.

Personal Care: Regular self-care is crucial for police officers to manage stress. This could involve maintaining a healthy work-life balance, pursuing hobbies and activities outside of work, and seeking professional assistance when necessary.

Supportive Leadership: Effective leadership and a positive work environment can alleviate stress and enhance well-being for police officers. Leaders can encourage self-care, provide mental health resources, and cultivate a culture of respect and support.

Community Interaction: Establishing positive relationships with the community can also alleviate stress for police officers. Feeling supported by the community they serve can enhance their overall well-being and job satisfaction.

Crisis Negotiation Training: Training in crisis negotiation can equip police officers to diffuse potentially violent situations, reducing the necessity for force and the related stress.

Technological Assistance: Wearable technology and other devices can monitor police officers' physical and emotional states, offering real-time feedback to manage stress and prevent exhaustion.

GOD BLESS!
James Constantine
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Kathleen’s Answer

Mike's answer is most fitting as he is in this field of work; however, stress in the workplace comes with many job and from many situations. The best thing you can do is understand how you react and learn what calms you. Is it three big, slow, breaths or something else? There are websites that will provide you different techniques to use, so the earlier you find what works for you the better in the long run for any career you select. You probably are already having some level of stress with school so practice the technique and then you will find it easier to overcome.

Kathleen recommends the following next steps:

Research websites on calming techniques in stress situations. https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-calm-down
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