This is part two of a three part series, first presented in August
for the other installments, part
1 and part
Arthur A. Jones, J.D., Dr.jur.
Robin Wiseman, J.D., Dr.h.c.
International Human Rights Law and Policy
c/o Los Angeles Community Policing
email to: Arthur@lacp.org
Fund (PIF) Advisory Committee,
..........Emergency Communications & Information Technology Project
..........County of Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department
..........Leroy D. Baca, Sheriff
..........Dr. Richard Weintraub, Director, Professional Development Bureau
Emergency Communications, Police Stress
and Crisis Management
2 of 3)
European and Other International Developments
studies essentially are self-contained explorations and,
as such, have limited usefulness in the quest for generalizations.
By and large, such generalizations are achieved only through
comparative studies. This is particularly true when attempting
establish common denominators on an enormous scale."
---- Professor Vahakn N. Dadrian
Switzerland is emerging as a leader in the development of interdisciplinary
training and crisis response performance. Although small in terms
of size and of population (pop. 7,250,000), neutral and a non-EU member,
Switzerland often takes significant steps forward in policing structure
that exert a positive, definite influence on its neighbors, and on
Europe in general.
A current example, developed and implemented by the Swiss National
Police based on their initial experiences with new international treaties
on cross-border surveillance and pursuit, is that of combining one
of their top administrative offices ---third from the top in their
national police hierarchy --- with their psychological services. The
effective "merger" covers recruitment, training, operations and performance
This move was not made without trepidations. The Senior Director,
Pascal Borgeat, noted, "Police need to operate with clear certainties.
Instead, psychology concerns itself with complex nuances and probabilities."
Moreover, the merger brought together two rather different worlds:
Psychologists tend to inhabit a microcosm, in which individual problems
frequently outweigh the overall picture, while police officers are
confronted daily with the entire range of complex human behavior.
Nevertheless, significant results have been achieved in the field
of emergency response and crisis management. The newly-added psychological
content of training courses is not limited to the usual deep-breathing,
reflection and relaxation techniques, but now features extensive education
in emotional self-control, conflict resolution strategies, and use
of force. New techniques for maintaining flexibility under stress
have been introduced, together with courses in preparation for hostage
situations, terrorist attacks, and international catastrophic response.
The National Police Department has also introduced a policy of holding
extensive interagency debriefings after disaster scenarios and cross-border
incidents. The younger officers and other first responders favor the
interagency and international approach used in debriefings, and participants
25 through 35 years old are over three times more likely to freely
voice their opinions, feelings and questions than their older colleagues.
Addressing the war on terrorism, the Swiss are convinced that strong
police morale and commitment will be decisive to winning that struggle.
As a result, they are conducting studies on morale drops, their causes
and cures. They divide the problem into the external and the internal:
--- Media criticism;
--- Attacks by immigrants, many of them illegals;
--- Verbal attacks by special interest organizations;
--- Scapegoating by politicians.
--- Ethical lapses by colleagues or partners;
--- Case overload;
--- Frustration-related stress;
--- Off-duty or secondary employment ("moonlighting").
Noting a close correlation between those factors and low morale, the
Swiss have instituted a dialogue with police psychologists in surrounding
countries (Germany, France, Italy and Austria) to develop new strategies
for combating them.
NOTE: Look for other installments, part
1 and part
I. Organizational Stress and Police Performance: The Beck
Studies and their Progeny
III. Crisis Management, Stress, and Impact on Police Performance:
A. Jones, J.D., Dr.jur.
Wiseman, J.D., Dr.h.c.
--- Arthur A. Jones and Robin Wiseman are international human
rights lawyers with legal educations in the United States and
They are consultants and authors on international policing, social
policy and human rights, and regular contributors to the forum
at LA Community Policing.
For more of their work, please see the Think
additional information or a complete list of references, contact: