How Police Officers Can Manage Their Anger

Although heroic, law enforcement is not an easy job. Police officers often find themselves worked up and furious. About one-in-five police officers in the United States (21%) say their job nearly always or often makes them feel angry.

From a total of 7,917 police officers who were surveyed, about half of the officers (51%) said that their work nearly always (10%) or often (41%) makes them feel frustrated, while 22% reported that they almost always (3%) or often (19%) feel angry.

46% of the police officers who are often or always angry report that they tend to distrust the public, and 71% of them would choose to favor the use of aggressive tactics in dealing with some citizens.

Sometimes anger can take control over policemen and they cross lines while interacting with suspects and citizens. Cop anger incidents are common, and we have surely seen some shocking incidents circulating in the news.

What Triggers the Anger of a Police Officer?

There is no one definite trigger that causes police officers to become angry. There could be multiple causes of anger. Some of them include:

  • Internal problems in their department or organization
  • Personal problems which need an outlet
  • Fear of a mishap
  • Boredom
  • Fear of losing control and the need to show that they are in control

Often, it is not the suspect that causes police officers to become angry. It is their internal frustration that finds an outlet when a person commits a crime. They also have this pressure that they need to always be vigilant in case something goes wrong.

However, most of the time it dies not. So, they stay in a rut of boredom. Unlike shown in the movies, their jobs are quite unhappening with most of the time being occupied with waiting for someone to commit a crime. So, you see? There are various reasons that can cause police officers to get angry.

Why Should Law Enforcement Officers Remain Calm?

Police officers are humans who obviously experience a range of emotions. Similarly, anger is an emotion they are bound to feel. It is just that acting upon this anger can lead to dire and irreversible consequences.

Certainly, the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is forgotten by none. The policeman knelt on Floyd’s neck for almost 10 minutes. He was sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison on the charges of second-degree and third-degree murder, as well as second-degree manslaughter.

Previously, the police rage incident where 12-year-old Tamir Rice was killed by a police officer in Cleveland appalled the country and became the talk of the town.

In short, police officers could put ordinary citizens at risk, harm them, and put their own safety and job at risk if they get furious. Therefore, it is important that they remain calm and always have their judgment sound and in control.

7 Tips To Help Police Officers Manage their Anger

Following are 7 tips on how can policemen overcome anger. Read on and share with others so more people can learn how police officers can reduce anger.

1 – Think Positive

How you think has a lot to do with your behavior. Psychologists say that your behavior affects your attitude and your attitude affects your behavior.

So, if have a positive outlook and actively try to think positive, people and circumstances are less likely to trigger you. You will be able to tackle unfavorable circumstances calmly and gradually master anger. 

2 – Don’t Take Things Personally

Often, we get riled up because we feel that the other person made a personal attack on us. For instance, when the person driving behind us overtakes our car, we immediately get angry thinking that they did it on purpose and we want to “teach them a lesson.”

This thought process is more likely to occur when you are a police officer or serve in any other way in law enforcement. No, the criminal did not commit the crime to spite you. No, the crime would not have not happened had you arrived five minutes earlier.

There are so many variables that will be out of your control. Do your best, but don’t take it personally when things don’t go your way. You will end up miserable and frustrated, leading to you becoming a bitter and angry man.

3 – Self Awareness

Self-awareness is the key to having a content and peaceful life. Be it any career, you need to assess and evaluate yourself and not just pass judgments on things and people other than you.

Look at your growth. See if you made any mistakes. Learn from them and make an effort not to repeat them. If you are losing your calm on little things, notice it yourself before it turns into something bigger and your colleagues or a senior spells it out for you.

4 – Exercise

We can’t stress this enough: make exercise a part of your daily routine. It benefits everyone, but physical fitness is all the more necessary for police officers.

Apart from keeping you agile and fit, physical movement keeps your emotional and mental health in the best shape. It releases endorphins and happy chemicals that help uplift your mood and relieve all the pent-up frustration and negative energy from your body.

So, the next time you feel riled up, get on your feet and go for a run or hit the gym. You will feel so much better. And isn’t it smart to use your anger to contribute to your overall health instead of ruining it?

5 – Practice Relaxation

There are a lot of relaxation techniques that can help you bring down your anger and calm down in a few minutes.

When you feel your anger rising, choose a relaxation technique that works for you and do it for a couple of minutes.

You can choose to count from 0-100. Counting backward from 100 to 0 is even more helpful as it requires more effort and you forget that you were supposed to be angry.

Another way that is guaranteed to always work is deep breathing. You can do this anywhere and anytime. Place your right thumb on your right nostril and take a deep breath from your left nostril. Count till 4, place your small finger on the left nostril and exhale slowly from your right nostril.

Now breathe in from the right nostril and exhale from the left. Do this for a few minutes and you will be amazed to see its impact.

6 – Enroll in Anger Management Course

One of the best ways to learn how to deal with anger issues is by enrolling in online anger management classes. These courses are designed to help give you effective tips to control your temper and range from 4 hours to 52 hours in duration. You can opt for the course that best suits the intensity of your anger issues.

You must keep in mind that it is okay to talk about your problems with someone else and that opening up and sharing your thoughts is not a sign of weakness. Your job could become overwhelming, and learning how to manage your anger can help you in both professional performance and personal productivity.

7 – Talk to A Close Family Member or Therapist

However, expressing anger and frustration and just having a heart-to-heart conversation about problems at work with a friend, a close family member or a therapist can help you feel better.

When your heart feels heavy and you fear that you will erupt like a volcano, blow off the steam by talking to a person you trust. You will feel 10 times better!


Police officers experiencing rage problems are common and understandable. They are humans and bound to get frustrated and angry due to personal and professional troubles. However, acting impulsively in a moment of anger can cause irreversible damage to themselves and others. So, they need to remain calm and collected.

Here, we discussed some valuable tips for police officers to manage their anger. Hopefully, these tips were helpful for how law enforcement officers can manage anger and how a police officer can express anger in a healthy manner.

We recommend that they think positively and have a generally positive outlook on life. They should be self-aware, and willing to acknowledge and accept their mistakes. At the same time, they should know that not everyone is out there to get them and not take every small thing as a personal attack.

Moreover, they must spend some time of the day exercising. Physical movement is great for fitness and to release all tension and frustration from the body.

Furthermore, if they are not able to control anger, then they should talk to a friend or seek online therapy or anger management courses.

Carlos Todd PhD LCMHC

Dr. Carlos Todd PhD LCMHC specializes in anger management, family conflict resolution, marital and premarital conflict resolution. His extensive knowledge in the field of anger management may enable you to use his tested methods to deal with your anger issues.


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