Publication Focuses on Family-Friendly Practices in Law Enforcement

June 21, 2021 — As part of their effort to create a suite of publications focusing on creating an organizational culture of wellness for officers and their support networks, the COPS Office recently released a publication titled "Family Matters: Executive Guide for Developing Family-Friendly Law Enforcement Policies, Procedures, and Culture".

The guide aims to create a roadmap for law enforcement agencies to develop stronger family-friendly policies, procedures, and organizational cultures to work in collaboration with officer support networks. The executive guide includes information on employee benefits, family planning, trauma and loss, disciplinary considerations, and retirement planning.

Of particular interest to those dealing with crime scene investigation is a section in the document focusing on trauma. "Exposure to trauma may impact not only their work but their personal lives as well," the document explains. "Research shows that workplace stress often causes officers to develop an emotional barrier to protect themselves from potential trauma and that officers routinely take the effects of their work home to their families."

Solutions offered include "intervention training for supervisors, peer supports, and families to recognize and respond to behavior changes or unusual symptoms that may indicate a need for peer support response or a mental wellness check." Because mental wellness checks are often associated with a sort of stigma, it is suggested that agencies normalize the process by conducting periodic or annual wellness checks for all employees.

You can download the full document as a PDF here.

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