VALOR: Officer Safety & Wellness Research, Training, and Evaluation

Project Summary 

The National Police Foundation (NPF) serves as the National Coordinator for the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) Preventing Violence Against Law Enforcement and Ensuring Officer Resilience and Survivability (VALOR) Officer Safety and Wellness pilot project. In this capacity, NPF is providing project management, coordination, data collection, research and evaluation, and other support to the Arlington (Texas), Alexandria (Virginia), and Tampa (Florida) Police Departments. These three agencies were selected in collaboration with BJA to serve as the pilot sites. Project goals are to facilitate the delivery of comprehensive officer safety training and technical assistance (TTA) to the three departments and to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of those resources in improving officer safety and wellness. In addition to the pilot site projects, NPF was also charged with developing and administering a national survey to examine officer safety and wellness training and resource needs of law enforcement agencies across the United States. The results of the survey were released in August of 2020.

 

Methodology 

For part one of this project, in late 2017, NPF in collaboration with BJA, developed and administered a national survey to a stratified random sample of 1,514 state and local law enforcement agencies, of which, 652 agencies responded. The goal of this survey was to examine agencies’ officer safety and wellness training and resource needs. Four general questions were examined to obtain a better understanding of the landscape of law enforcement training:

1) What are the relative impacts of different officer safety threats facing officers?
2) What types of officer safety and related training are agencies providing officers?
3) What types of officer safety and related training do agencies view as a critical need in the near future?
4) What do agencies currently view as constraints to providing officer safety and related training to their officers?

In order to achieve the goals for the second part of this project, NPF is coordinating the implementation of a comprehensive officer safety and wellness program (VALOR) with the three local law enforcement agencies, overseeing training delivery by the VALOR TTA partners, facilitating an impact evaluation of the program at each site, and sharing findings. Additionally, NPF is providing each pilot agency with an action plan for officer safety and wellness improvements, based on agency needs and the findings of the site evaluation, and arranging the delivery of TTA resources needed as part of each agency’s action plan.

 

Implications

The work completed through the VALOR project will inform law enforcement agencies nationwide as they endeavor to build, bolster, or reimagine their respective Officer Safety and Wellness (OSW) programs. The VALOR project, and its resulting OSW toolkit, will provide lessons learned regarding data collection evaluation, program implementation, and examples of programs which have proven successful.

 

Publications

VALOR National Survey on Officer Safety Training: Findings and Implications

VALOR National Survey on Officer Safety Training: Executive Brief

VALOR National Survey on Officer Safety Training: Interactive website 

The current environment in which officers are policing has been described as the perfect storm of stressors. In light of that, as part of surge work commissioned by BJA through the VALOR program, NPF is developing a multi-media guidebook for OSW, which law enforcement agencies can employ on ways to protect both the physical and mental wellness of their officers, especially those working on the frontlines of mass demonstrations, protests, and First Amendment Assemblies. The guidebook will address the following issues: trauma, stress, managing stress, selfcare techniques, nutrition, sleep, alcohol abuse, and organizational responses. This publication will be released by summer 2021.

NPF is developing an officer safety and wellness program implementation guide for law enforcement administrators and trainers that will: 1) discuss the potential challenges and considerations related to delivery format and available training resources; 2) provide guidance on the selection and/or development of future officer safety and wellness training; and, 3) provide instruction on how to evaluate the effectiveness of adopted training programs, to include practical guidance and examples about methodological rigor, data collection, and potential challenges. The development of this guide will be informed by the VALOR research conducted to date; a review of what is known about officer safety, officer wellness and resiliency, de-escalation, and law enforcement contacts with the mentally ill; and, a review of existing officer safety and wellness programs. These final publications will be released by September 30, 2021.

 

Project Websites

https://bja.ojp.gov/program/valor/overview

 

Funding & Collaboration

This project is supported by cooperative agreement number 2016-VI-BX-K001 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, with work being performed in collaboration with both training providers and a formed research team. Training providers include the Institute for Intergovernmental Research, Polis Solutions, Police Research Associates, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Virginia Center for Policing Innovation, and the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund, Destination Zero program. The research team includes Drs. Jeff Rojek and Scott Wolfe of Michigan State University, Hope Tiesman of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and Dr. Geoff Alpert at the University of South Carolina.

 

Points of Contact

Jennifer Zeunik
Director of Local Programs
National Police Foundation
jzeunik@policefoundation.org
(202) 721-9769

Christine Johnson
Project Associate
National Police Foundation
cjohnson@policefoundation.org
(202) 384-1539 Ext. 121

 

Keywords

VALOR, officer safety, NCT, officer wellness, training and technical assistance, Bureau of Justice Assistance