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NCJ Number: 76609 Find in a Library
Title: Action and Reaction - The Establishment of a Counseling Service in the Chicago Police Department (From Stress and Police Personnel, P 295-303, 1981, Leonard Territo and Harold J Vetter, ed. - See NCJ-76602)
Author(s): M Wagner
Corporate Author: Chicago Police Dept
United States of America
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 9
Sponsoring Agency: Allyn and Bacon, Inc
Needham Heights, MA 02194-2310
Chicago Police Dept
Chicago, IL 60605
Sale Source: Allyn and Bacon, Inc
Publicity Manager
160 Gould Street
Needham Heights, MA 02194-2310
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article describes the development of the Chicago Police Department's counseling unit and the range of services it offers, using case histories to highlight the relationship between stress and performance in police work.
Abstract: Although a Psychiatric Advisory Board assisted the police department when an officer's performance was related to psychological disabilities, a need existed for a more flexible service which could handle problems before they became more serious. The counseling office was established in 1975 to provide voluntary and totally confidential assistance to police officers and their families. During the unit's first 6 months, 134 police families were seen for problem identification, short-term counseling, or referral to a community resource. Police work emphasizes activity-oriented behavior to solve problems, and thus officers often find it difficult to cope with emotional problems. In a few interviews, a counselor can help to clarify a problem and given the insight needed to resolve the issue. A single session can offer legal advice, financial counseling, or simply allow an individual to express intense internalized feelings. Short-term counseling -- approximately 6 to 12 interviews -- may be necessary to solve some personal crises, such as marital conflicts or alcoholism. Chronic problems requiring a change in deep-seated attitudes and behavior patterns are referred to community psychiatric services. Because the counseling unit must be accountable to both the police department and the mental health profession, some bureaucratic conflicts are inevitable. The police personnel division administers the unit, but a mental health professional assumes all counseling responsibilities. Monitoring, support, and evaluation systems are provided by two outside consultants who meet regularly with unit personnel. During the program's first 3 months, the counselor concentrated on understanding police operations by attending meetings, riding in patrol cars, and talking with officers from all ranks. Informal feedback has been favorable, and in some situations an officer's work performance has noticeably improved. One reference note is provided.
Index Term(s): Case studies; Counseling; Illinois; Mental health services; Police internal investigations; Police occupational stress
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