Statistics from the National Alliance for Mental Health show that the majority of public servants face mental illness at some point in their careers. Studies have shown that up to 19% of police officers in the workforce show signs of PTSD. Being a police officer is hard work where you struggle with stress every day and put your life at risk. But if you also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, working as a police officer can be almost insurmountable for some people. Whether you can be a police officer while suffering from PTSD depends on where you work and the severity of your symptoms. In addition, individuals with military experience transitioning to or returning to civilian law enforcement face the possibility of additional stress and traumatic events. Given the number of people moving from the military to law enforcement, we can begin to understand the high rates of PTSD and suicide among police officers. Many other departments offer “screenings” by name only — in some cases, just a computer-based test without an in-person interview — says Stephen Curran, a Maryland Police psychologist who has studied the military`s transition to policing. With these percentages in mind, it`s almost impossible in any medium to large police service not to have officers with PTSD. According to the Ministry of Justice, about 15 percent of law enforcement officers in the country suffer from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If left untreated, PTSD can be a debilitating disorder that can have dangerous consequences, especially for first responders such as police officers. Civil law enforcement is one of the most desirable careers for veterans after termination of employment from the armed forces. This widely recognized trend helps explain why more than 20% of those working in law enforcement have military experience, compared to about 6% of society as a whole.
In states with the strictest hiring preferences, such as New Jersey and Massachusetts, a police candidate honorably discharged from the military jumps over those who don`t have those credentials. Veterans with disabilities are preferred over veterans with no documented health problems. William Thomas, the Newark police officer with PTSD, earned a spot on the sergeant`s promotion list because of his time overseas with the New Jersey Air National Guard. The debate over the militarization of US police has focused on the build-up of war-ready vehicles and artillery and the proliferation of paramilitary SWAT teams. What has remained largely unexplored, however, is the impact of the migration of veterans to law enforcement. Even though departments across the country have tried to move from “warriors” to “guards,” one in five police officers is literally a warrior who has returned from Afghanistan, Iraq or other assignments. • The underlying message is that if an applicant does not have debilitating symptoms of PTSD, they will be considered in the same way as any applicant with no history of PTSD. Due to the stressful nature of law enforcement professions, PTSD treatment was viewed positively by all responding authorities. A representative of the Los Angeles Police Department said the treatment of the disease was highly appreciated.
However, it was also mentioned that if PTSD is a current condition that affects the applicant`s ability to perform the necessary work tasks, the application will be rejected. Similarly, California Department of Forestry policy states that any suddenly disabled condition, such as asthma or seizure disorders, would result in disqualification. While not an automatically disqualifying condition, severe PTSD is a concern. Most organizations suggested that medications, including psychotropic drugs, be evaluated to ensure that safe and effective job performance would not be compromised. To the obvious question: Do veterans use violence more quickly in police situations? — there is no conclusive answer. Our investigation found data from two law enforcement agencies in major cities and plenty of anecdotal evidence suggesting veterans are more likely to become physical, and some police agree. • PTSD is generally not an automatic exclusion for employment in law enforcement. It is especially important for people with undiagnosed or untreated PTSD to receive treatment before seeking employment as law enforcement officers. Studies have shown that about 1/3 of paramedics (Alexander & Klein, 2001; Regehr, Goldberg, Glancy & Knott, 2002) and one-quarter of firefighters (Bryant & Harvey, 1996; Regehr & Bober, 2005) experience symptoms of PTSD at all times due to working in constantly stressful occupations. The scientific literature also suggests that there is a direct correlation between the number of traumatic events experienced by a person and the development of PTSD. Researchers have estimated that 7-19% of all police officers develop symptoms of PTSD after experiencing a traumatic event (LeBlanc, Regehr, Jelley & Barath, 2007). Therefore, it is of utmost importance that a recruit is as physically and mentally healthy as possible.
Law enforcement officials need to recognize the role that public servants affected by PTSD play in broader public service issues. While data on this topic is insufficient (based on police departments, which typically fail to publish the number of complaints about the armed forces for veterans compared to officers who do not), information collected by the Marshall Project showed that the few cities that responded to this data request (such as Boston and Miami) reported higher rates of excessive violence among veterans than non-veterans. (Weichselbaum et al., 2017). An analysis of the Marshall Project of Veterans Preference Laws found that public service rules in all 50 states and the federal government have historically given veterans an advantage in recruiting, promoting, or protecting jobs by law enforcement. The most common benefit is five extra points on the entrance exam or 10 points for a disabled veteran. The purpose of this paper is to better understand employers` hiring policies in the areas of law enforcement, particularly with respect to pre-existing mental illnesses such as PTSD. Being rejected by the police academy can seem overwhelming, and it can lead you to believe that you are unworthy or incapable. Do your best to be rational.