Diabetes And Law Enforcement

Have you ever wondered how diabetes could affect your job as a police officer or other type of law enforcement professional? I hadn’t either until I came across an interesting article that started me thinking and I wanted to share it with you.

The Mayo Clinic defines Diabetes as “a group of diseases that affect how your body uses blood sugar (glucose). Glucose is vital to your health because it’s an important source of energy for the cells that make up your muscles and tissues. It’s also your brain’s main source of fuel.”

The article I found was posted on TheDiabetesCouncil.com asked “Can You Join The Police Force If You Have Diabetes?” so I read further and found it very interesting. Here is an except with some interesting thoughts from our friends at TheDiabetesCouncil.com

“Do diabetes and law enforcement mix, or does having diabetes disqualify one from working in law enforcement?

Although having diabetes should not disqualify you from working as a law enforcement officer, the nature of the occupation would require… some form of assessment of each individual’s medical history, and evaluation of each person’s ability to serve as a law enforcement officer on a case-by-case basis.

Still, discussion forums I researched are filled with stories of law enforcement officers who have lost their job due to poorly managing their diabetes, are not promoted because of it, or who are discriminated against in one way or another while on duty. Conversely, there are many stories of law enforcement officers who have managed well on the job, either on insulin, a pump and/or a CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor). With time in the field, law enforcement officers learn ways to deal with skipped meals, stress, increased activity and more.”

Excerpted from “Can You Join The Police Force If You Have Diabetes?”
By Elisabeth Almekinder RN, BA, CDE and our friends at TheDiabetesCouncil.com

Please visit their site and read their thoughts and then continue your own research. Here are some thoughts to help you.

Sadly, there is a developing body or research, mostly from the Buffalo Cardio-Metabolic Occupational Police Stress Study (BCOPS) done by former New York State Trooper John Violanti, Ph.D. and others that suggests our profession alone creates a number of health risks.

One of the big issues about taking care of our wellness is that we in law enforcement are prone to developing Metabolic syndrome which can raise our risk for developing diabetes and other health concerns.

According to the National Institutes of Health “Metabolic Syndrome” is the name for a group of risk factors that raises your risk for heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes and stroke.

I urge you, wherever you are in your career, to learn more about the health risks associated with a career in law enforcement and work to build your personal resilience against them.

Do some more research and check out these sources:

Law Enforcement Officers and Diabetes Discrimination” from The American Diabetes Association at Diabetes.org

Associations between Police Officer Stress and the Metabolic Syndrome

Atypical Work Hours and Metabolic Syndrome Among Police Officers

Association between Depressive Symptoms and Metabolic Syndrome in Police Officers: Results from Two Cross-Sectional Studies


I also highly recommend the book DYING FOR THE JOB: Police Work Exposure and Health
By John M. Violanti

These articles may not be describing your life now but if you plan a long career in law enforcement these studies should raise your awareness and encourage you to maintain the highest levels of fitness for the rest of your life.

Good luck and stay safe and well!

© Copyright 2016 – The Law Enforcement Survival Institute, LLC and CopsAlive.com – All Rights Reserved

CopsAlive is written to prompt discussions within our profession about the issues of law enforcement career survival, health and wellness. We invite you to share your opinions, ask questions and suggest topics for us in the Comment Box that is at the bottom of this article.

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I’m John Marx, Founder of The Law Enforcement Survival Institute and the Editor of CopsAlive.com. Connect with me on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

CopsAlive.com was founded to provide information and strategies to help police officers successfully survive their careers and improve their heathy, wellness and effectiveness. We help law enforcement officers and their agencies prepare for the risks that threaten their existence. Thank you for reading!

About Editor

John Marx was a Police Officer for twenty-three years and served as a Hostage Negotiator for nineteen of those years. He worked as a patrol officer, media liaison officer, crime prevention officer and burglary detective. Also during his career he served as administrator of his city's Community Oriented Governance initiative through the police department's Community Policing project. Today John combines his skills to consult with businesses about improving both their security and their customer service programs. John retired from law enforcement in 2002. When one of his friends, also a former police officer, committed suicide at age 38, John was devastated and began researching the problems that stress creates for police officers. He decided he needed to do something to help change those problems and he wanted to give something back to the profession that gave him so much. He started a project that has evolved into CopsAlive.com. Put simply, the mission of CopsAlive is to save the lives of those who save lives! CopsAlive.com gathers information, strategies and tools to help law enforcement professionals plan for happy, healthy and successful careers, relationships and lives.
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One Comment

  1. Great post. We have had a few officers
    get a diabetes diagnosis in their 30s and 40s. One medically retired as a worker’s comp case as his diabetes was possibly triggered due to working graveyard shift.
    Thanks for the insight.

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