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

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 existence.
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 sacrificed.
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
Copyright © 2019  Barry M. Baker