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How To Encourage a Culture of Officer Safety

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2017
2 pages
In this 4-minute video, Jeff Rojek, Associate Director for the Center for Law and Behavior at the University of Texas, explains what research shows about why law enforcement officers are more or less likely to use seat belts; and Hank Stawinski, Chief of Police of the Prince George's County Police Department (Maryland), discusses how law enforcement agencies can reinforce a culture of officer safety by using subtle messages.
Rojek emphasizes that training, clear policy, policy repetition, consistent accountability for failure to follow the seat-belt requirement, and the use of personal stories about how compliance with agency safety policies has prevented an officer's serious injury or death can impress on officers the importance of buckling seat belts when they are in a vehicle. Chief Stawinski suggests that a culture of safety can be created in a law enforcement agency by a continual review of statistics related to the risks officers face and the proven safety measures that can reduce those risks. Patrol car radio broadcasts with brief safety messages and advice provide conditioning and reminders for police while on active duty. Dispatchers can include safety messages tailored to the nature of a particular call for service. Overall, a culture of safety is built through training, constant reminders of safety measures, and consistent accountability when officers fail to comply with mandated agency safety procedures.

Date Published: July 1, 2017