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Officer Safety and Wellness (OSW) Group Meeting Summary: Leadership, Creating a Culture of Safety

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2012
34 pages
This report summarizes the proceedings of the Officer Safety and Wellness (OSW) Group meeting on September 20, 2012, which featured presentations and discussion of how leadership can create a culture of safety in a law enforcement agency.
A definition of "organizational safety" was proposed by one presenter as follows: "work[s] to protect people from job-related hazards and empower[s] them to advocate for the right to a safe and healthy workplace." A "culture of safety" was defined as having "an organizational atmosphere where safety and health is understood to be, and is accepted as, a high priority." Attitudes, environment, and systems were identified as necessary factors in establishing a culture of safety. Under the guidance of these definitions, the OSW Group examined the creation of a culture of safety in police organizations in terms of leadership, risk management, and safety research. It determined that leadership at all levels in a police organization must ensure consistent messaging and modeling regarding safety practices as an agency's top priority. In the area of risk management, the OSW Group determined that police executives should proactively collect and analyze data on safety issues and develop effective ways to reduce officer injuries and fatalities. This might include establishing a risk management unit to monitor and update policies, training, and practices that ensure officers understand safety protocols. One of the presenters at the meeting proposed several models for agencies to consider when assessing harm reduction and risk management. The latter half of the meeting involved obtaining participants' recommendations regarding the development of a culture of safety. This was done by having each participant answer prepared questions on organizational leadership, policy, training, and best practices and programs. 4 tables, 4 figures, 17 references, and appended meeting agenda and list of participants

Date Published: September 1, 2012