Supporting Officer Wellness Within a Changing Policing Environment: What Research Tells Us

Policing in the United States has changed over time, and police officers are facing constant challenges in their profession. In particular, recent incidents involving harm to community residents by police officers have led to extra scrutiny on policing in the United States. Despite a lack of knowledge or research on their effectiveness, many citizens are demanding that all police officers be required to wear body-worn cameras as a way of protecting citizens against excessive or unjustified use of force by officers. Additionally, police officers have been subjected to unprovoked or premeditated attacks, hostility, and a lack of trust among the citizens that they are sworn to protect. The rigors of policing continue to be complicated by conditions that lead to stress or health-related issues for police officers.

Police officers have also seen an increase in their responsibilities and have taken on additional duties such as responding to calls for service for individuals in need of mental health interventions or to resolve situations that involve threats to national security. Although these issues may be more prominent in urban areas with diverse populations, all U.S. law enforcement has been presented with an increasing number of challenges.