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

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2020
21 pages

This is the Final Summary Overview of a report on a research initiative designed to address identified research gaps pertinent to law enforcement officer safety and wellness (OSAW).


In introductory comments, this report notes that other than national statistics about law enforcement officer (LEO) deaths, assaults, and traffic injuries, OSAW studies have generally relied on small local or state samples, and they fail to examine multi-level interactions of personal, professional, or agency factors to inform improvement in OSAW policies and practices. Although there is increasing attention to key stressors LEOs experience, as well as interventions to mitigate these risk factors, law enforcement research has tended to examine risk factors and wellness outcomes in silos, with limited contextual measurement of individual resilience and trauma. Further attention to both agency support and individual factors to build LEO resiliency is necessary.  In response to these and other research gaps related to OSAW, the current project launched a nationally representative two-stage study with a stratified representative sample of law enforcement agencies (LEAs) and a representative sample of LEOs from these agencies in documenting OSAW indicators within the environment of LEA policies and programs. The study had the following four objectives: 1) Identify profiles of LEAs that are using best practices in addressing OSAW outcomes based on administrative/staffing factors, policies, and programs; 2) Determine the extent to which specific occupational, organizational, and personal stressors distinguish OSAW outcomes; 3) Identify whether modifiable factors such as coping, social support, and healthy lifestyles moderate the relationship between stressors and OSAW outcomes; and 4) Investigate which LEA policies/programs have the potential to moderate OSAW outcomes. Due to the extended field period, the findings of this report are preliminary. Agency-level outcomes are under review, and multiple officer-level analyses and manuscripts are being prepared. 2 tables and 88 references

Date Published: April 1, 2020