Teaching officers about stress management

Officers in-depth education about stress and what techniques to use to manage stress


By Leischen Stelter, editor of In Public Safety

When Vincent Van Ness started his law enforcement career 26 years ago, there was almost no mention of the high levels of prolonged stress he would experience. “When I started, they devoted about two hours in the police academy curriculum to stress management,” he said. “After that, it was expected that you were a grown-up and a big boy and if you couldn’t handle it, you should do something else. Thank heavens we’re smarter than that now.”

[Related: How Police Can Reduce and Manage Stress]

Van Ness spent 25 years working for the same sheriff’s office in central Florida. He is currently a lieutenant serving as the operational manager for the department’s aviation section, but has done a little bit of everything throughout his career. “I’ve done patrol work, investigations, special DUI enforcement, and spent several years as a plain clothes officer involved in surveillance and fugitive apprehension,” he said. The most difficult position he held was with the casualty benefits team, where he was tasked with making plans and arranging services for families of officers killed in the line of duty.

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