Historically, the duties of being a police officer were tough. Until the early 1900s, police officers were scarce and in some cities, no formally organized policing departments had been formed. This made keeping the peace very difficult for the few persons assigned with the task. Trough the prohibition era, gun battles and Mob violence caused for alarm. In general, police had a tough job but they were just beginning. .
Today, things are different. With the massive increase in the population, change of technology, development of civil rights, expansion of society, and growth of crime, police have a new world to maintain. According to Criminal Justice Today, Sixth Edition, by Doctor Frank Schmalleger, states that, according to The American Institute of Stress ranks Policing among the top ten most stressful jobs. This rank is attributed to the danger, frustration, paperwork, daily, demands, and lack of empathy from family and friends. Furthermore, according to Joseph Victor, there are four sources of police stress. These include: external stress, resulting from "real danger-; organizational stress, resulting from administrative duties like paperwork, training requirements, etc.; personal stress, resulting from interpersonal relationships among officers; and operational stress, resulting from the "total effect of the need to combat daily the tragedies of urban life-. Another large factor in the contribution of police stress is their desire to effect change, or in effect actively and effectively help others. When an officer, for any reason, cannot enforce a change in a situation, the officer suffers from severe stress. These situations may arise when the conviction of a criminal may not be reached because of lack of evidence, for example. .
These stresses lead to a great deal of difficulty for officers. According to Kevin Barrett, "The suicide rate of police officers is more than twice that of the general population.