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Law Enforcement Officers Safety and Wellness: A Multi-Level Study

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $970,795)

Pillar six of the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing recommends for the USDOJ to “enhance and further promote its multi-faceted officer safety and wellness initiative,” with attention to fitness, resilience, and nutrition at every level of law enforcement agencies (LEAs), and a focus on the intersection of on-the-job stressors, safety risks, and suicidality as components of officer safety and wellness (OSAW). We propose to address this recommendation in two phases.

At Phase I, our purpose is to investigate in nationally representative samples indicators of officer safety and wellness (OSAW), and the relevant risk and protective factors, within the contextual environment of current LEA policies and programs. Our goal is to provide the necessary data to help researchers, law enforcement organizations, and policymakers adapt, design, and evaluate policies and programs to address risk factors for law enforcement officers’ wellness and safety outcomes. Our theoretically driven objectives are to (1) Identify profiles of LEAs based on administrative/staffing factors, policies and programs as they relate to OSAW outcomes; (2) Determine the extent to which specific occupational, organizational, and personal stressors distinguish OSAW outcomes; (3) Identify whether coping, social support, and healthy lifestyles moderate the relationship between stressors and OSAW outcomes; and (4) Investigate which agency policies have the potential to moderate OSAW outcomes. The Phase I components include a sample of LEAs (n=1,400), and from stratified random subsample of participating LEAs (n=125), a random sample of officers (n=1,500). We will apply latent models to simultaneously examine a set of relationships between the multiple independent and dependent variables at the individual, relational, and organizational levels within a theoretically grounded model of officer safety and health. We will present Phase I results and recommendations, reviewed for fit and practicality by the study’s Expert Panel comprising researchers and law enforcement professionals, in webinars and through law enforcement communications channels to facilitate translation to LEA administrators and wellness program coordinators. Presentations and publications for the research community will inform program adaptations and design to suit different communities, facilitate screening for targeted research studies, and create a baseline (with archived data) to inform resource allocation and progress in addressing OSAW in the US with the intent of retaining skilled officers, who thus build the longevity and experience to develop the constructive community relationships that support public safety. We will disseminate results via presentations/webinars, manuscripts for peer-reviewed journals, and practitioner briefs to key stakeholders. ca/ncf

Date Created: September 16, 2016