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Officer Safety and Wellness Initiatives

Research and Evaluation in Safety, Health, and Wellness in Criminal Justice System, Fiscal Year 2020

Closing Date
With this solicitation, NIJ seeks applications for funding of multidisciplinary research projects addressing any of these five topics: (1) Resiliency and Recovery of Law Enforcement agencies from Singular, Extreme Traumatic Events; (2) Impact of Organizational Stressors on Officer Health and Wellness; (3) Effects of Pre-Career Interventions and Subsequent Reminders in Modulating Mental, Physical, and Social Responses to Stressors in Law Enforcement Officers; (4) Community Hostility, Officer Health, and Effects on Policing; and (5) Understanding the Increased Rate of Assaults on Law Enforcement Officers.

Reflecting on my Time as Director So Far — And Envisioning the Future

NIJ recently celebrated a milestone birthday — 50 years of scientific efforts to advance the field of criminal justice. Now is a great time for us to look back at all that we’ve accomplished. You can read about some of our most groundbreaking research and accomplishments in the 50th Anniversary Issue of the NIJ Journal.

Given all we know, and still don’t know, about what works in criminal justice, the next 50 years are sure to shine more light on so many challenges we’re facing. So, it’s also time to envision our future.

Protecting Against Stress & Trauma: Research Lessons for Law Enforcement – Next Steps

October 2019
At this Research for the Real World seminar, NIJ brought together law enforcement practitioners and leading researchers in the field of stress to discuss the current research evidence and practical benefits of targeted stress-management interventions and how they can promote officer mental wellness. In addition, this gathering provided an exploration into what additional research is needed to best support officer health and wellness, potentially highlighting priority areas for future research.

Protecting Against Stress & Trauma: Research Lessons for Law Enforcement - Audience Q&A

October 2019
At this Research for the Real World seminar, NIJ brought together law enforcement practitioners and leading researchers in the field of stress to discuss the current research evidence and practical benefits of targeted stress-management interventions and how they can promote officer mental wellness. In addition, this gathering provided an exploration into what additional research is needed to best support officer health and wellness, potentially highlighting priority areas for future research.

Protecting Against Stress & Trauma: Research Lessons for Law Enforcement – Research & Practice

October 2019
At this Research for the Real World seminar, NIJ brought together law enforcement practitioners and leading researchers in the field of stress to discuss the current research evidence and practical benefits of targeted stress-management interventions and how they can promote officer mental wellness. In addition, this gathering provided an exploration into what additional research is needed to best support officer health and wellness, potentially highlighting priority areas for future research.

Protecting Against Stress & Trauma: Research Lessons for Law Enforcement– Defining the Problem

October 2019
At this Research for the Real World seminar, NIJ brought together law enforcement practitioners and leading researchers in the field of stress to discuss the current research evidence and practical benefits of targeted stress-management interventions and how they can promote officer mental wellness. In addition, this gathering provided an exploration into what additional research is needed to best support officer health and wellness, potentially highlighting priority areas for future research.

LEADS Scholar Spotlight — Patrol Officer Exposure to Subcritical Incidents

May 2018
Wendy Stiver, a commander with the Dayton Police Department in Ohio and a Class of 2016 scholar of NIJ’s Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Science (LEADS) Program, talks about her work to find interventions to patrol officer exposure to subcritical trauma, or subcritical incidents. She said she was inspired by the LEADS Program to begin analyzing this subject.

How Best Protect Your Force Against Officer Suicide

May 2017
John Violanti, Research Professor at Buffalo, discusses the importance of making police departments aware that officer suicide is a problem. According to Violanti, police officers have a significantly higher rate of suicide than the general public. Reasons for this higher risk include the accumulative effects of trauma and stress.

Violanti describes steps police agencies are taking to help police officers, including teaching recruits what they may experience on the job.

Improving Officer Safety in Interactions With Citizens Suffering From Mental Illness

May 2017
Cara Altimus, former ASSS Fellow with NIJ, discusses the importance of law enforcement and first responders understanding mental illness, its causes, and how it affects the brain. She speaks about the correlation between drug addiction and mental illness. Altimus also addresses establishing procedures and systems so that police officers and first responders can safely and successfully interact with individuals with drug addiction and/or mental illness.

Understanding the Effects of Fatigue on Law Enforcement

May 2017
Steven James (Assistant Research Professor, Washington State University, College of Medicine) and Lois James (Assistant Professor, Washington State University, College of Nursing) discuss research on how fatigue and sleep deprivation affect officers when they make critical decisions to use deadly force. The researchers also discuss how often law enforcement officers are fatigued, the impacts of officer fatigue and drowsy driving, and the goal of implementing positive changes.

Examining Police Officer Crime

February 2017
Dr. Philip Stinson, Bowling Green State University, discusses the findings of his research on crimes committed by police officers.

Based on the research findings, law enforcement officers appear to commit crimes at a much lower rate than the general public. However, in some cases, at times due to the stressors of the job and frequent exposure to trauma and violence, officers engage in misconduct or criminal behavior.

Game Change: How Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships Are Redefining How We Study Crime

June 2012

Opening Plenary Panel
When researchers and practitioners work side by side, they can maximize their problem-solving abilities. The research partner can focus on the data and the science; the practitioner can focus on interpreting the findings and applying them in the field. In the plenary panel, panelists described the benefits, challenges and pitfalls of researcher-practitioner partnerships with a focus on the financial benefits to the practitioner.

Moderator: John H. Laub, Director, National Institute of Justice

Panelists:

Protecting our Protectors: Using Science to Improve Officer Safety and Wellness

June 2012

Each year, 100-200 law enforcement officers die in the line of duty. Last year, 177 lost their lives — a 16-percent increase from 2010. As Attorney General Eric Holder noted, this is a devastating and unacceptable trend. NIJ has developed a robust research portfolio to improve officer safety and wellness and, ultimately, save lives. This panel discussed some of NIJ's most promising work to reduce shooting and traffic-related fatalities — consistently the leading causes of officer line-of-duty deaths — and improve officer wellness, which is inextricably linked with officer safety.