Editiorial: What ASUPD should learn about bullying from Miami Dolphins’ Jonathan Martin.

After the overwhelming response we received from our post on bullying in the workplace (titled, “The Bully at Work: how many apply to you current/former ASUPD employees?), we decided to follow it up with secondary post regarding workplace bullying, inspired by the Miami Dolphins’ offensive tackle Jonathan Martin.

As some of you may be aware, very recently Martin, a 24-year old rookie, quit the Miami Dolphins and checked himself into a South Florida hospital for treatment for emotional distress. According to the article, “the specific treatment of Martin’s emotional condition was not disclosed, but sources say it was related to his belief that he had been targeted during a sustained level of harassment from teammates, including suspended guard Richie Incognito”

Martin’s attorney stated that the issue is Martin’s treatment by his teammates. Martin endured harassment that went far beyond the traditional locker room hazing; he attempted to befriend the same teammates who subjected him to the abuse with the hope that doing so would end the harassment. This is a textbook reaction of victims of bullying.

So what does this have to do with ASUPD?

According to Drs. Ruth and Gary Namie (Authors of the book The Bully at Work),

Bullying in the workplace can have significant mental and physical impacts.What makes it psychological is bullying’s impact on the person’s mental health and sense of well-being. The personalized, focused nature of the assault destabilizes and disassembles the target’s identity, ego strength, and ability to rebound from the assaults. The longer the exposure to stressors like bullying, the more severe the psychological impact. When stress goes unabated, it compromises both a target’s physical and mental health. :

Physical health problems from stress include:

  • Cardiovascular Problems: Hypertension (60%) to Strokes, Heart Attacks
  •  Adverse Neurological Changes: Neurotransmitter Disruption, Hippocampus Shrinkage
  • Immunological Impairment: More frequent infections of greater severity
  • Fibromyalgia (21%), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (33%)

Some physical indications of the above stress might include:

  • Nausea
  • Tremors of the Lips, Hands, Etc.
  •  Feeling Uncoordinated
  • Chills
  • Profuse Sweating
  • Rapid Heartbeat/Breathing
  • Elevated Blood Pressure
  • Chest Pain
  • Uncontrollable Crying
  •  Headaches

Psychological-Emotional Injuries

  • Debilitating Anxiety (80%)
  •  Panic Attacks (52%)
  • Clinical Depression: new to person or exacerbated condition previously controlled (49%)
  • Post-traumatic Stress (PTSD) from deliberate human-inflicted abuse (30%)
  • Shame (the desired result of humiliating tactics by the bully) – sense of deserving a bad fate
  • Guilt (for having “allowed” the bully to control you)
  • Overwhelming sense of Injustice (Equity – the unfairness of targeting you who works so hard; Procedural – the inadequacy of the employer’s response to your complaint)

(Note: All of these ailments caused by stress could explain a large surge in the usage of sick/vacation time currently transpiring)

Even more shocking? In the WBI 2012-D Study, 29% of bullied targets considered suicide and 16% had a plan. According to Police Chief Magazine, Various sources report 300 completed police suicides annually; other sources report that a law enforcement officer (LEO) is more likely to die by suicide than by homicide. Why? One reason cited is that one factor may be conflict with the police administration; more specifically, some officers may choose suicide to escape from an intolerable or unbearable situation.

How many times have we seen those in the department physically suffering from being bullied? We’ve witnessed a petite female officer lose 10 pounds from stress; we’ve seen several other coworkers suffering from high blood pressure, ulcers, insomnia, migraines REGULARLY due to unnecessary stress from certain members of ASUPD’s “clique”. We’ve also witnessed many good officers quit due to the unnecessary stress which caused the officers’ personal lives to be affected.

Law enforcement is stressful enough. As law enforcement professionals, we should be supporting each other, not constantly seeking ways to destroy each others’ personal and professional lives as some sort of sick trophy. Yes, we’re tough cops, but we’re also human beings first and foremost. If bullying can affect a strong, young (and well-paid!) professional football player to the point of quitting his profession, it can affect ANY of us.

ASUPD has an obligation–from a moral and a legal standpoint–to deal with the bullying problem (caused by a select group of people) it has previously refused even existed. If it continues to fester, what is going to prevent a  situation like Jonathan Martin (or worse!) from happening at ASUPD?



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4 thoughts on “Editiorial: What ASUPD should learn about bullying from Miami Dolphins’ Jonathan Martin.

  1. ASUPDsmokeNmirrors says:

    If they cared about facts and results there would be no complaints. Instead you have self-absorbed people who make decisions based on emotions and feelings instead of facts.

    The FACT IS ASUPD has no effective patrol element, ASUPD has had a significant morale problem for years, most ASUPD employees feel like disregarded outsiders with no voice, no rights, no incentives.

    THE SOLUTION according to those in command. Focus more on recruiting and ignore EVERTHING that got them in this crisis in the first place. ASUPDsmokeNmirrors

  2. Thinblueline1 says:

    I know exactly what you are talking about. Some of the movers and shakers here are born losers outside the department and get off on running subordinates into the ground. They don’t care what impact their actions have on other people in the same way criminals think, they simply want to do what they feel they want to do and carry out their actions under the guise of given authority. I would like to have faith in my command that they will identify people like this and curb their wanton inhibitions against the troops. We are a University police department, of all the places that should be stress free and run smoothly this should be it, why is this happening?

  3. OnefootoutCYA says:

    The ASUPD encourages bullying, I have seen employees turn on another employee like a bunch of back stabbing asses and for what? “Successful” ASUPD individuals build themselves up by tearing other individuals down, that’s why there is no brotherhood, no team, just harmful cliques that new employees have contended with for years, most saying screw this shit, I’m done, I’ll go elsewhere.

    True leadership would have broken this harmful trend up, and built up the individuals people were so busy singling out and tearing down. Let’s face it, shitty leadership promotes more shitty leadership. It starts at the top and trickles down.

  4. 311 says:

    It’s as simple as treating people the way you would want to be treated. Command, some more than others, needs to read up on leadership, good leadership that supports, encourages, and builds unit integrity. It all starts with personal integrity, you don’t need to be a boy scout or a saint, but more is better than less. Fair and equal treatment under the law…under policy.

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