As a police officer, you could find yourself
working in a police department headed
for the bottom with no end in sight.  The
first way you can relieve yourself of that
stress is to realize that everything is
cyclical, and that change will occur.  Of
course, you could be talking about years,
but change will come.  The second way to
deal with the stress is to not let yourself
become part of the downward spiral.  
Your positive responses amid negative
circumstances will benefit you as well as
others working with you.  That's the nice
and simple thing about police work.  You
can easily recognize right from wrong as
long as you're not bogged down in the
fog of political correctness.

In the dysfunctional police department, a
group of potential scapegoats is an
indispensable resource.  Unfortunately,
that group of police officers is always well
staffed, because most people will follow
the path set by the organization.  You
can easily avoid the "luck of the draw" by
not becoming part of that group.  Over
time, your independence, based solidly in
your knowledge of the job, will insulate
you from any peer pressure, or even
supervisory pressure, to act in any way
you know to be wrong or questionable.   
Now…you may ask, "Wouldn't that make
me an outcast?"  Just the opposite.  
You'll be free of the pressure, because
those who would apply the pressure
simply realize that you're not susceptible
to the herd mentality.  Even in the midst
of chaos and confusion, you'll find
yourself leading a relatively stress free
While a dysfunctional private enterprise
will simply go out of business, a similarly
inefficient police department can go on
operating for years; until, scandal and
corruption reaches a sufficiently
intolerable level.  Even at this point,
changes are often cosmetic and
ineffective, but the police department will
keep chugging along.

Welcome to government.  Your best, and
most effective, defense against
(dis)organizational stress will be your
own self-sufficiency.  Your acquisition of
knowledge, and the abilities you develop
to apply that knowledge will prevent the
organization's dysfunction from being
transferred to you.  You may be
frequently ridiculed for operating on the
higher level; however, that ridicule is only
a defense others use to justify their own
acceptance of the status quo.

Much is made about comradery among
police officers.  While you will, and
should, develop strong bonds with other
police officers, you'll soon learn that
those bonds weaken considerably, or are
simply non-existent, at the highest levels
of the police department.  In a
dysfunctional police department, no one
is safe from violations of rules or laws the
department normally condones or even

Many police officers suffer enormous
amounts of stress when they find
themselves in the wrong place, at the
wrong time, doing business as usual only
to learn that "as usual" is suddenly no
longer acceptable.  Even more frustrating
and stressful is the realization that
they've been singled out while the "as
usual" continues.

It's really pretty simple.  Police
Departments are so high profile.  They're
one of society's most important
laboratories for the application of political
correctness to just about any social issue
or condition you can imagine.  Rules,
regulations, and even laws are flexible as
long as that flexibility is exercised in the
pursuit of political correctness.  

When a police department is
dysfunctional, the fault will always be that
of the community's political leadership.  
The selection of a police chief is all
important.  The politician(s) responsible
for that selection will determine from the
outset what direction the police
department will take.  If the police chief is
chosen on the basis of true
professionalism, and he or she is
insulated from the ever changing whims
of politics, the police department can
operate on a basis of true organization
and continuity.  However, if the chief is
just another of the political elites,
organization and continuity will be
As a police officer, organizational stress
is going to be one of your biggest
challenges.  Of all organizations, of any
type, one would think a police
department would come in at the top of
the organizational quality scale.  Because
policing is such an important function
within society, police departments should
operate as well developed and efficient
organizations.  While some will be well
functioning, you'll learn that many others
just make it up as they go along.
"In a dysfunctional police
department, no one is safe from
violations of rules or laws the
department normally condones or
even encourages." ~ Barry M. Baker

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Copyright © 2021  Barry M. Baker  
Becoming a Police Officer
An Insider's Guide to a Career
in Law Enforcement
There are Five
Indispensable Truths
for a Successful Police
Page 1
Alabama to California
Page 2
Colorado to Idaho
Page 3
Illinois to Kentucky
Page 4
Louisiana to Massachusetts
Page 5
Michigan to New Jersey
Page 6
New Mexico to North Dakota
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Ohio to South Dakota
Page 8
Tennessee to Washington-DC
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Accurate crime reporting is
so important on so many
levels.  It all begins with
you and your preliminary
police report.