By NICOLE PEREZ Staff Writer
Many people are under the assumption that police officers have an easy job without realizing the difficult challenges they encounter everyday. But what exactly are the hardest obstacles that police officers may have to face?
“The mental aspect of being a police officer is pretty tough. You never know if you’re going to come home that night,” explained a resigned Camden police officer. According to courierpostonline.com, Camden city’s crime rate rose to 42.5% in the first quarter of 2016. Among these crimes are murders, sexual assault, robberies, and gun violence. Regardless of what the crime may be, Camden police officers are trained to deal with a considerable amount of difficult situations.
However, that does not mean that this comes easily to a police officer. Last year, Camden was reported to top the list of the most dangerous city in New Jersey, according to nbcphiladelphia.com. It is a frequent occasion that police officers are sent to a scene that was too graphic for them or more intense than they anticipated. There could be victims on the scene that died and police officers have to keep moving forward and do their job, regardless of how they feel about the situation. “Constantly seeing such negative events happening will eventually take a toll on a person’s mind,” said the source.
The former police officer went on to explain, “It’s tough, it’s definitely tough. You’re tired, you’re stressed, and you just saw some crazy stuff happen. Then you have to go home and act like everything is normal, which is tough to do. You need time to yourself or somebody to talk to.”
There are times that police officers have to work 16-hour work shifts for seven days in a row. Some police officers suffer from depression, anxiety, or even Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Police officers have one of the highest divorce rates and suicide rates, which is something that is taught in the Police Academy so officers know what they are getting into.
The Police Department offers their officers options for help to those seeking it, but there are still approximately 150 police officers that commit suicide every year according to badgeoflife.com.
“I’ve helped countless people shot, stabbed, and sexually assaulted. One that probably stuck to me was this man. I was working in the area, finishing up a report with my window down. Next thing you know I hear what sounded like 20 or 30 gunshots to the left of me. Immediately, I headed into that direction because that is what we do. We just head into gunfire. We get there and there is a male on the ground who was shot approximately 20 times. He was laying on the ground, he was dead already. He had a cell phone still in his hand and lollipop still in his mouth,” the former police officer explained.
On top of everything that police officers witness everyday, there are even people in the community who harass them just because they are police officers. Whether they believe all policemen are corrupt, or they just felt like bothering them, this is what the people who go out everyday to keep our communities safe have to experience. “Most cops are just doing their job. They just want to get their job done as best as they can and get home to their families at the end of the night,” said the experienced officer.
No matter how many times police officers are mistreated and how many horrible things they see, they still wake up everyday with the mindset that they want to help the people in their community. Without them, the people in our society would not have a secure environment to live in, safe from all of the violence happening in our world today.
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