American policing has a rich history in the United States and plays a critically important role in protecting and serving our diverse communities. Municipal police departments are generally responsible for serving our cities and are often seen as the most visible form of government. There is a universal understanding that police officers occasionally experience stress due to their exposure to traumatic events or other difficult situations. There have been efforts to address these stressors through employee assistance programs, counselors, and peer support programs. However, little is known about whether allowing a police officer to practice their faith, while at work, would be beneficial. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore how faith practices (time to pray, meditate, study the Bible or other holy books, or engage in other religious rituals during work hours) are being implemented and/or supported within select California police agencies. This research included interviewing ten municipal police chiefs from diverse communities throughout California. Three themes were obtained through the interviews. First, most of the police chiefs had police chaplains in their organizations serving both their communities and their personnel. Second, police chiefs believed there was value in allowing faith practices to occur in their police departments. Third, police chiefs felt that if faith practices were to occur, all faiths should be welcome. A specific study, similar to those examining meditation and mindfulness training, would be meaningful to policing. The research has determined that police chiefs feel a responsibility to care for their officers’ emotional health which may include opportunities to practice their faith while at work. Additional research that explores whether there is a connection between allowing faith practices to occur in a police department and police officer emotional health and well-being would be valuable for police chiefs and policing as a whole.
|Advisor:||Mallette, Leo A.|
|Commitee:||Tobin, John C., Harvey, Andrew J.|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 81/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Law enforcement, Religion, Behavioral psychology|
|Keywords:||Chaplain, Faith Practices, Police, Police Chief, Prayer, Religion|
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