Promoting Positive Coping Strategies in Law Enforcement

March 6, 2020 — Since 2011, the Officer Safety and Wellness Group has tended to focus on more overt signs of the effects of stressors on law enforcement personnel: line-of-duty deaths, post-traumatic stress, and suicide. But in July 2019, the group convened to focus on the potentially negative coping strategies—such as alcoholism and substance abuse—that law enforcement personnel might employ in order to deal with day-to-day stressors.

A summary of that meeting, "Promoting Positive Coping Strategies in Law Enforcement: Emerging Issues and Recommendations", was recently published and is available for free download on the COPS Office website.

"Not everyone who struggles with the stressors of the job reaches a point of suicidal ideation, or suffers a heart attack, or finds themselves no longer capable of working," the report states. "But they still are faced with a variety of threats to their overall wellness and require systems, strategies, and social networks that support their capacity for resilience. With a variety of positive coping strategies and protective factors in place, officers can successfully manage their careers in ways that allow them not only to survive but also to thrive. But without the right tools and skills, they may turn to antisocial coping strategies that risk damaging their health, career success, family and personal relationships, and general enjoyment of life."

You can read a summary of the group's discussions, findings, and recommendations here.

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Court Case Update

FINGERPRINT EVIDENCE went through a nearly three-year ordeal in the New Hampshire court system, but eventually emerged unscathed. On April 4, 2008, the New Hampshire Supreme Court unanimously reversed the decision of a lower court to exclude expert testimony regarding fingerprint evidence in the case of The State of New Hampshire v. Richard Langill. The case has been remanded back to the Rockingham County Superior Court.