How do cops deal with stress on the job

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

HOUSTON, TX - With the chaotic scenes we've seen in Ferguson and Baltimore, some would say the public perception of police officers has shifted.
But perhaps what some don't realize is that officers have one of the most stressful jobs out there.

Houston's Police Chief Charles McClelland said, "This is a very dangerous job, and very few jobs carry the danger to where these young men and women leave home every single day and night, they don't know if they're coming back."

"We see the worst that humanity has to offer," explained Joseph Gamaldi with the Houston Police Officers Union.

Losing a fellow officer in the line of duty is a constant reminder of the dangers and a source of grief.

"It's probably one of the most traumatic experiences we'll go through as officers. We're trained to see a certain amount of things out on that street but we're not trained to see one of our own die," added Gamaldi.

Not only that, but add the stress of negative public perception.

"You're constantly under the microscope and you're expected to make split second decisions and then people have months to look back on it and to criticize," according to Galveston Police Chief, Henry Porretto.

So how to the men and women patrolling the streets deal?

"Whether that's venting to a spouse or a friend or things like that, but the department does offer resources, psychological services...We also have, here at the union, a 24/7 peer support called the Houston Officer's Peer Assistance," said Gamaldi

Chief Porretto added, "Being involved in other civic duties like softball, little league football, coaching and mentoring, that helps people relieve their stress."

A noble and often thankless job and yet despite the criticism, officers across the country serve their communities daily.