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Federal office shooting reveals more problems in U.S. judicial system (3)


13:48, February 21, 2012

FOX News quoted insiders as saying that ICE, which operates under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, struggles to overcome internal friction and competing cultures among employees who worked at the different federal agencies that were combined nine years ago to form ICE: the former Customs Service in the Treasury Department and the Justice Department's Immigration and Naturalization Service.

According to FOX News, nine years of close observation of the new agency, ICE, and its employees confirms a dysfunctional and highly politicized agency unable or unwilling to either effectively fulfill the duties of their legacy agencies.

Steve Albrecht, a San Diego-based speaker and author on high-risk and security issues, wrote on Psychology Today that law enforcement officers often face threats. They are under great pressure. Every officer who has worked in the field or in corrections for at least a week has been threatened by people ranging from obnoxious drunks to hardcore gang members.

As such, Albrecht said, they take these threats for granted, seeing it as "part of the job." However, this is wrong because it's unsafe, demoralizing, rationalizing, and sends the wrong messages to the threateners that it's okay.

He said when the threatener is a cop, the stakes change dramatically. "Now we are faced with an armed, tactically-trained employee who may be angry, depressed, violent, vengeful, or driven by various demons ranging from substance abuse to mental illness," he said.

He said most workplace violence incidents involving cops as killers are actually turned inward, as with police suicides.

According to him, the number of officers killed in the line of duty each year is about 120 to 150 in the United States. The number of officers who kill themselves each year is about 180 to 200.

Albrecht said the reasons for police suicides often center on the themes of loss and the accompanying shame: job or career problems, personal losses, professional status loss of face, money worries, relationship failures, freedom (pending criminal charges), substance abuse issues or serious physical or mental health issues.

When faced with what they perceive to be unsolvable problems, they may take their own lives.

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