Police officers and obstacles to therapeutic treatment
When it comes to therapeutic treatment be it for drug abuse, domestic violence or excessive stress, majority of police officers are often reluctant to respond to such a need because they view treatment as potentially harmful to their career growth and family. The reluctance on the part of police officers towards therapeutic treatment is largely due to the fact that there is a stigma attached to it. Plus, they fear losing their jobs.
For example, if an officer is involved in domestic violence due to some psychological disorder he will as reported in most of the cases be reluctant to have his issues addressed.
Such an abusive officer apprehends that the complaint of victim will jeopardize his professional career. Moreover, he will hold his wife responsible for loss of job and reputation which in turn will only intensify his hostile behavior toward her. Given the fact that most of the police departments have not put proper policy and its implementation in place, the quandary of victim will further be aggravated.
In such a case, police department itself becomes a strong obstacle to the therapeutic treatment of the abusive officer. The victim will remain suspicious of department’s advocate whose loyalty lies with the abuser.
The complaint of the victim will be responded to the officer who is abuser’s colleague and everything will be at his discretion. As a result, the officer discourages the victim from filing the complaint. He may remind her of the future of his husband, future of their kids, and asking her to consider their apparently intact social status in the society before opting to proceed with the complaint.
If a police officer commits some crime due to his psychological abnormalities then it makes much more impact on the community. The reason is simple: the abuse of a police man is different from that of civilian because they enjoy a little more privileged life due to their badge, training and strong institution behind them. The stress of police work, irregular working schedule, and frustration arising out of job insecurity are stated to be the factors that compel police officers to abuse their inmate partners.
Some police administrators suggest that offenders' treatment would be more palatable to the officers if there were groups exclusively for police officers. Rationalizations for an exclusive group must be closely examined.
The primary assumption is that a police officer will be in an uncomfortable, embarrassing, or compromising position if he is required to attend batterers' counseling with civilians with whom he may later have professional contact.(Hess and Wrobleski, 2002)
These obstacles can be overcome through proper implementation of awareness programs. For example, majority of police men does not see domestic violence as crime. This is not to say that police department should impose therapeutic treatment upon the officers.
The role of department is to facilitate those officers who are in need of treatment. Moreover, the victim who has suffered at the hands of the officer should be treated impartially. The need for therapeutic treatment should be accentuated at all costs. Effective programs of therapeutic treatment are necessary to be in place for a development of a quality police force.
Most police officer’s biggest fear is the loss of their job. A department's policy and attitude may be the most influential factor in removing the obstacles to therapeutic treatment which has hitherto been disregarded as stigma among police officers.
Hess, M. Karen, Wrobleski, M Henry “Police operations: theory and practice” Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, pages 527