Racism among cops as a symptom of burn out

    Philadelphia police officer William Thrasher has been put on desk duty after he was quoted making racist remarks about residents in the community he patrolled. His statements appeared in an article written by a Temple University journalism student. Police psychologists say Thrasher’s conduct could be a sign of burn out.

    Philadelphia police officer William Thrasher has been put on desk duty after he was quoted making racist remarks about residents in the community he patrolled. His statements appeared in an article written by a Temple University journalism student. Police psychologists say Thrasher’s conduct could be a sign of burn out.

    Transcript:
    Dr. Laurence Miller is a forensic and police psychologist who works with police departments all over the country. He says cynicism and bitterness are symptoms of burnout. Miller says several factors make an officer susceptible to burnout: personality, how well their department functions, and what kind of neighborhood they work in.

    Dealing with the problems of a tough neighborhood can give officers a skewed view of the people they serve.

    Miller: “The problem with patrolling a so-called bad neighborhood is that even in the worst neighborhoods it’s still the minority of people who are the ‘bad guys,’ but it’s the bad guys and gals are the people that police officers encounter every day as part of their job.”

    Miller says police departments should look out for officers expressing bitterness and cynicism and offer them counseling as well as additional training and coaching.

    Listen:
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    [audio: sci20090402cop.mp3]

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