The police play a critical role in the community by maintaining order and protecting citizens. Officers commonly have to put their own health and safety on the line while on duty.
However, many of the job’s hazards are not immediately dangerous but can still lead to injury. Officers can keep in mind practical suggestions for staying safe and avoiding unnecessary harm.
Minimizing physical and mental fatigue
Like other first responders, the police often have to contend with long hours. Additionally, high-stakes circumstances require officers to make stressful decisions quickly. These situations can take a toll on an officer’s energy level and alertness, leading to dangerous mistakes.
Officers can minimize fatigue by prioritizing a schedule that includes good sleep. Most people need at least seven hours of quality rest. Avoiding alcohol, caffeine and electronic devices before bed can also promote better sleep hygiene. Regular exercise and a healthy diet also help many people sleep better.
Avoiding repetitive strain injuries
Any activity with repeated motions can cause repetitive strain injury. An officer may do the same movements over and again, leading to carpal tunnel, joint issues or back problems.
Officers can protect themselves by maintaining good posture and positioning throughout the day. Whenever sitting in the office or a vehicle, officers should be mindful to keep their backs straight. Computer monitors should be at an appropriate height and distance to avoid neck strain.
No matter the assignment, officers should take regular breaks. Stretching and moving can fight the effects of RSI.
The healthier a police force is, the better it can serve the community it has sworn to protect. Officers can stay alert to avoid or address common aches and injuries that hinder their effectiveness.