WASHINGTON—The National Police Foundation (NPF) has partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), to support a national study on nonfatal injuries among law enforcement officers. Police officers are encouraged to participate as this research will help law enforcement leaders better understand how on-duty injuries to officers occur and how these injuries can be prevented.
Previously, NIOSH conducted a study that was broader in scope—looking at the total number of emergency department visits for both intentional and unintentional on-duty injuries among law enforcement officers. This study showed that injuries among officers were prevalent, and that we likely underestimate how often they occur. Initial evidence suggests that assaults on officers may be increasing—a troubling trend that requires more research about the circumstances of these incidents so that more can be done to prevent future incidents.
“This new study is a critical national study. We don’t know how many officers sustain injuries on the job each year, the severity of those injuries, or how it impacts the officers, agencies, or communities,” said Jim Burch, President of the National Police Foundation. “Sharing information about your injury can help prevent injuries among other officers and help to inform decision makers about the risks that officers face and how often they occur.”
Data collection efforts are already underway. Officers who are injured to the extent that a hospital examination is required may be contacted by CDC/NIOSH researchers in follow-up to their visit. NPF encourages officers who are contacted to respond when contacted.
The new study aims to analyze nonfatal incidents in greater detail. For example, this research will address questions such as:
- What duty was the officer performing or what kind of activity was the officer engaged in when he or she was injured?
- What stage of an officer’s career do these injuries most often occur?
- What time of day did the injury occur?
- Were other officers present at the time of injury?
- If it was a motor-vehicle collision, what were the weather conditions?
Data collected through this study will help the law enforcement community understand the risks that officers face and will position law enforcement leaders to make decisions to improve officer safety.
“As law enforcement officers, we know the risks we face, but on a national level, we lack the data needed to prevent fatalities and injuries through improved policies and training,” said Chris Cosgriff, Officer Down Memorial Page Founder and Police Officer. “Your support and the provision of information to the CDC/NIOSH team can make a difference and protect a fellow officer. I urge you to be alert for outreach from NIOSH following any emergency room visit.”
Agency and officer information is kept strictly confidential and afforded federal research protections, and any results will be published without identifying information. Agencies do not need to release records—information is collected directly from injured officers through a brief telephone interview with a trained public health researcher.
“Below 100 works with law enforcement every day to prevent officer fatalities and injuries. While we know a fair amount about fatalities, we know very little about injuries and, consequently, we don’t know much about preventing them,” said Roy Bethge, Executive Director of Below 100. “This CDC/NIOSH study can close the knowledge gap on officer injuries, but only with our help. It is vital that officers who are contacted by CDC/NIOSH respond and provide information, which can be done confidentially. We can only do something about these events if we are willing to share our stories and take a long hard look at the data.”
For more information on the study, please visit: https://www.policefoundation.org/niosh-nonfatal-injuries-among-law-enforcement-officers-research-study/.
For media inquiries, please contact the NIOSH Press Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NIOSH is the federal institute that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths. For more information about NIOSH visit www.cdc.gov/niosh.
About the National Police Foundation:
Established in 1970, the National Police Foundation is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to improving policing through innovation and science. For nearly 50 years, the Foundation has conducted research on all aspects of policing and is leading the way in promoting and sharing evidence-based practices and innovation among law enforcement. The Foundation is currently working with hundreds of police agencies nationwide, as well as internationally, providing research and translation, training, technical assistance, and modern technology implementation. The Foundation is a leader in officer safety and wellness, community policing, open-data, investigations, and law-enforcement technology.