Staying Healthy in the Fray

An Officer Safety and Wellness Resource Guidebook
July 2021

Protests, demonstrations, and civil unrest can be volatile and unpredictable situations that can last for hours, days, or weeks. All of this, in addition to the normal occupational stressors that come along with being a law enforcement professional, is causing stress and fatigue in our officers. Stress, exhaustion, and unpleasant feelings are all normal, and even expected. This guide is meant to provide considerations to help leaders, supervisors, and officers maintain their staff’s wellness – both physical and mental – as a focal point.



The Impact of Crowd Management on Officers in the Context of Civil Unrest
High-stress police operations such as crowd management during periods of civil unrest is mentally and physically demanding. Crowd management often challenges officers to push their bodies beyond normal limits, leading to poor performance, fatigue, insomnia, and injury. In the summer of 2020, many officers repeatedly worked shifts that, at times, exceeded 12 hours, for 10 to 12 days straight, leaving little time for appropriate nutrition, rest, exercise, recovery, or sleep. Large numbers of arrests, long periods on bicycles, standing or moving in formations, or responding to threats are physically and mentally demanding. Both physical and mental stressors are taking a toll on the women and men who have dedicated their lives to protecting our communities.
Healthy organizational cultures that recognize and prioritize officer safety and wellness as an integral part of policing protests can help foster better outcomes for all involved.


The National Police Foundation has developed this brief guide for law enforcement agencies on ways to recognize and protect the physical and mental wellbeing of officers during responses to intense and protracted protests and demonstrations. This guidebook offers educational information and practical considerations for sworn officers of all ranks, particularly frontline officers and mid-level supervisors, as well as their families, to better protect officers’ mental and physical wellbeing during times of heightened stress. The content in this guidebook has been curated and derived from a review of research from professional medical organizations and has been peer reviewed by licensed mental health clinicians and law enforcement practitioners. Click on an icon below for more information:

The Current Environment

Trauma and Stress

Front Line Officers

Mid-Level Supervisors

Senior Leadership

Safety and Wellness Resources


International Association of Chiefs of Police
Officer Safety and Wellness Resources Page

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Institute for Intergovernmental Research
Building Resilience for Officers

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Polis Solutions, Inc.
T3 – Tact, Tactics, and Trust™ Curriculum

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UCF Restores
Stress Management Resources

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Virginia Center for Policing Innovation
Measuring What Matters Web-Based e-Guide

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