Uncovering shocking statistics, trends in Police1’s ‘What Cops Want in 2024’ survey By:

0
12

The highly anticipated “What Cops Want in 2024” survey results are out and the findings are nothing short of alarming.

Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to follow and signup for notifications!

With over 2,800 officers responding, the “What Cops Want” survey captures the voices of law enforcement officers nationwide, revealing a profession experiencing extreme stress and significant mental health challenges. The statistics and trends from the survey paint a stark picture of the current state of law enforcement, highlighting the critical areas that require immediate attention and action from agencies and leaders.

Let’s dive into the statistics to understand these pressing issues.

WCW24Cover.png

[Want a downloadable deep dive infographic that you can share to start discussions within your department? Click here to complete the “Access this Police1 Resource” box!]

What officers are saying

The survey’s findings highlight several areas that require immediate attention and proactive measures from law enforcement agencies and leadership. Here are the key statistics that illustrate the severity of these challenges:

Mental health resources:

  • Over 50% reported that a stigma still exists around seeking mental health services
  • 55% expressed dissatisfaction with the availability of mental health resources in their departments
  • 12% reported having no access to mental health resources

Work-life balance and stress concerns:

  • 60% reported poor work-life balance due to long hours and mandatory overtime
  • 50% expressed a desire for more flexible scheduling to improve work-life balance
  • 43% indicated that excessive workload contributes significantly to their poor work-life balance and stress levels
  • 35% reported that job-related stress affects their personal relationships and family life
Police Response

Sleep and physical fitness worries:

  • 76% cited the lack of time due to work or personal commitments as the biggest barrier to maintaining or improving their health
  • Nearly 25% of respondents had called themselves out of service due to extreme exhaustion or distress, and 33% considered it

Nutrition and on-duty eating issues:

  • Officers noted that they do not have enough time during their shifts to prepare or eat healthy meals due to work or personal commitments. This lack of time leads to reliance on quick and often unhealthy food options.
  • High levels of job-related stress influence officers’ eating habits, causing them to skip meals or choose convenient but less nutritious food options. Stress affects their overall health and dietary choices.
  • The heavy workload and long hours contribute to irregular mealtimes and poor eating habits. Officers frequently resort to snacking on unhealthy foods because they lack time for proper meals.
  • Officers experience extreme exhaustion and distress, which can be worsened by inadequate nutrition. Poor dietary habits reduce their energy levels and overall wellbeing, making it difficult to perform their duties effectively.

In the following months, we will take a deep dive into each issue, exploring the underlying causes and potential solutions for officers and their agencies.

Zoom in

It’s clear that police leaders need to take proactive steps to address these issues. Here are five immediate action items for leaders:

1. Implement comprehensive mental health programs: This includes regular mental health check-ins, access to confidential counseling services and peer support networks. Police leaders can make this a reality by partnering with mental health professionals to create tailored support programs, training officers to recognize signs of stress and mental health issues in themselves and their colleagues and establishing a stigma-free environment where seeking help is encouraged.

2. Create policies that support work-life balance: Leaders should use shift scheduling software to optimize officers’ work hours if they are not already doing so.Policies must support work-life balance by offering paid leave, mandatory time off and mental health days. Additionally, organizing wellness activities and workshops, and promoting a culture that values personal time and family commitments, is essential.

3. Find ways to promote healthy eating and nutrition: Start by providing healthy food options at your agency, such as stocking break rooms and vending machines with fruits, nuts, yogurt and whole grain products. Then, think about arranging partnerships with local restaurants or health-focused meal prep services for discounts or meal plans delivered to the station. You could even invite healthy food trucks to the station during mealtimes.

Last, but not least, start providing educational sessions on healthy eating by conducting regular workshops and seminars on nutrition, inviting experts to speak on diet’s impact on performance, and organizing interactive activities like cooking demonstrations.

4. Enhance your physical fitness programs: Invest in facilities and initiatives that encourage regular exercise. You can do this by providing access to on-site gyms or partner with local gyms for discounted memberships. Consider organizing group fitness activities like boot camps, yoga classes and running clubs. Implement fitness challenges with rewards to motivate participation and provide educational sessions with fitness experts and personalized training plans from certified trainers.

5. Address sleep deprivation – now: Have you created a culture that promotes the importance of rest? If not, the time is now. You can do so by providing resources on good sleep hygiene, such as workshops and educational materials, as well as access to sleep health professionals for personalized advice.

Moreover, you need to create an environment where officers can report sleep issues without stigma. Encourage supervisors to regularly check-in with their teams about their rest and implement flexible scheduling when possible.

July2024WCWDeepDiveInfographic.jpg

[Want a downloadable deep dive infographic that you can share to start discussions within your department? Click here to complete the “Access this Police1 Resource” box!]

Zoom out

Implementing the five action items can significantly impact both individual police officers and the law enforcement profession as a whole. Here are three key ways these measures can make a difference:

  1. By implementing comprehensive mental health programs and promoting work-life balance, officers will have the support needed to manage stress and mental health challenges, which 76% identified as barriers to maintaining their health. This will result in reduced burnout, fewer instances of calling out of service due to exhaustion and overall higher job satisfaction and morale.
  2. Ensuring access to nutritious meals and promoting healthy eating habits, along with enhancing physical fitness programs, will improve officers’ physical health and energy levels. Better nutrition and regular exercise help maintain focus, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and enhance mental health and stamina.
  3. Creating policies that prioritize rest and sleep will ensure officers are well-rested and alert, reducing the risk of errors and accidents on the job. Adequate sleep is crucial for cognitive function, decision-making and overall health. By addressing sleep issues and promoting good sleep hygiene, departments can improve officer performance and safety.

The bottom line

The “What Cops Want in 2024” survey is a call to action for all law enforcement leaders.

Failing to address the issues mentioned above will perpetuate the cycle of stress and burnout among officers. Leaders must take these survey results back to their departments and initiate open discussions with their officers, other leaders within the organization and key stakeholders. Engaging in these conversations will help identify specific needs and tailor solutions that resonate with the unique challenges faced by each department.

This collaborative approach ensures that the voices of officers are heard and that the strategies implemented are both practical and impactful.

“WHAT COPS WANT” SURVEY RESOURCES