We don’t know how many officers sustain injuries on the job each year, the severity of those injuries, or how those injuries impact the officers and agencies. Initial evidence suggests that injuries and assaults on officers may be increasing. Sharing information about your injury can help prevent injuries among other officers as well as inform decisionmakers about the risks that officers face and how often they occur.
This study is funded by the National Institute of Justice.
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:
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 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.
Dr. Hope Tiesman is a Research Epidemiologist at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in Morgantown, WV. Her research interests include law enforcement officer safety and wellness, prevention of workplace violence, and the current opioid overdose crisis. Her current work includes funded research projects on nonfatal injuries among law enforcement officers, officer safety and wellness evaluations, various officer motor vehicle safety training initiatives, and examination of opioids in the workplace.
Dr. Jeff Rojek is an Associate Professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University and the Director of the Center for Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection at Michigan State University. His research interests include officer decision making, use of force, officer training and officer safety. His current work includes funded research projects examining officer-involved shootings, evaluation of officer safety training, evaluation of social interaction and de-escalation training, and officer decision-making in social interaction and potential force encounters.
Dr. Julie Grieco is a Senior Research Associate at the National Police Foundation in Washington DC. Her research interests include officer safety and wellness, attitudes relating to the use of research in policing, and overall research translation for law enforcement. Her current work includes multiple assessments of officer safety and wellness initiatives, a gunshot detection technology evaluation, an officer-involved shooting analysis, and the National Law Enforcement Applied Research and Data Platform.