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Staying Healthy in the Fray: The Impact of Crowd Management on Officers in the Context of Civil Unrest

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2021
47 pages

The National Police Foundation (NPF) developed this brief guide for law enforcement agencies to assist them in the development of programs and practices for recognizing the signs of physical and mental stress on officers and developing policies and services to address their health needs, especially in the context of policing intense and protracted protests and demonstrations, as well as the pandemic threat.


 This guide was developed from a review of research from professional medical organizations and has been peer reviewed by licensed mental health clinicians and law enforcement practitioners. The guide begins with an identification of the impact of the public safety response to civil unrest, with a focus on disruptions to law enforcement organizations, organizational impacts, impact on individual officers, and family and support system impact. The guide then focuses on trauma to officers that stems from actual or threatened death, injury, or another adverse life-altering event. This is followed by an overview of stress and how to manage it constructively. Recommendations for frontline officers address general self-care techniques, practices for the maintenance of strong physical health, and techniques for maintaining strong mental health. Physical and mental health practices are also recommended separately for mid-level supervisors and for executive and senior leaders. Appended resources