06/19/2012 12:38 EDT | Updated 08/19/2012 05:12 EDT

Niagara Sleeping Cop Photo Goes Viral


A photo of a female Niagara Regional Police officer napping in her cruiser has gone viral and caused a small headache for the force.

The photo was reportedly posted on Twitter and Facebook last week, according to the Toronto Sun.

"From a performance and officer safety perspective, NRP will be looking into the circumstances in which the photo was taken," said police spokesman Const. Derek Watson to the newspaper.

New Niagara Regional Police Chief Jeff McGuire told CKTB News that the incident is a safety issue but says he needs more details about the officer and the event.

This isn't the first time that a Canadian police officer has been caught napping. Last year, a Trois-Rivieres, Quebec man was initially fined by police for videotaping two sleeping officers. The man posted the video on YouTube and police later dropped the fine.

More horrifically, in 2009 a Quebec police officer fell asleep at the wheel and was involved in a crash that killed a 29-year-old. The officer received a 10-day suspension.

Incidents like this could be caused by the long hours and stressful nature of police work. A 2011 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that more than a third of police officers could suffer from sleep disorders, reported the New York Times.

"This seems to be an underrecognized and important public health problem," Dr. Charles A. Czeisler, one of the study's authors said.

The National Post reported that officers who said they had sleeping disorders often also reported incidents of depression, burnout and falling asleep at the wheel.