Law enforcement duties and sudden cardiac death among police officers in United States: case distribution study.
ABSTRACT: To assess the association between risk of sudden cardiac death and stressful law enforcement duties compared with routine/non-emergency duties.Case distribution study (case series with survey information on referent exposures).United States law enforcement.Summaries of deaths of over 4500 US police officers provided by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and the Officer Down Memorial Page from 1984 to 2010.Observed and expected sudden cardiac death counts and relative risks for sudden cardiac death events during specific strenuous duties versus routine/non-emergency activities. Independent estimates of the proportion of time that police officers spend across various law enforcement duties obtained from surveys of police chiefs and front line officers. Impact of varying exposure assessments, covariates, and missing cases in sensitivity and stability analyses.441 sudden cardiac deaths were observed during the study period. Sudden cardiac death was associated with restraints/altercations (25%, n=108), physical training (20%, n=88), pursuits of suspects (12%, n=53), medical/rescue operations (8%, n=34), routine duties (23%, n=101), and other activities (11%, n=57). Compared with routine/non-emergency activities, the risk of sudden cardiac death was 34-69 times higher during restraints/altercations, 32-51 times higher during pursuits, 20-23 times higher during physical training, and 6-9 times higher during medical/rescue operations. Results were robust to all sensitivity and stability analyses.Stressful law enforcement duties are associated with a risk of sudden cardiac death that is markedly higher than the risk during routine/non-emergency duties. Restraints/altercations and pursuits are associated with the greatest risk. Our findings have public health implications and suggest that primary and secondary cardiovascular prevention efforts are needed among law enforcement officers.
Project description:We examine whether retaliatory violence exists between law enforcement and citizens while controlling for any social media contagion effect related to prior fatal encounters. Analyzed using a trivariate dynamic structural vector-autoregressive model, daily time-series data over a 21-month period captured the frequencies of police killed in the line of duty, police deadly use of force incidents, and social media coverage. The results support a significant retaliatory violence effect against minorities by police, yet there is no evidence of retaliatory violence against law enforcement officers by minorities. Also, social media coverage of the Black Lives Matter movement increases the risk of fatal victimization to both law enforcement officers and minorities. Possible explanations for these results are based in rational choice and terror management theories.
Project description:This research builds on three decades of effort to produce national estimates of the amount and rate of force used by law enforcement officers in the United States. Prior efforts to produce national estimates have suffered from poor and inconsistent measurements of force, small and unrepresentative samples, low survey and/or item response rates, and disparate reporting of rates of force. The present study employs data from a nationally representative survey of state and local law enforcement agencies that has a high survey response rate as well as a relatively high rate of reporting uses of force. Using data on arrests for violent offenses and the number of sworn officers to impute missing data on uses of force, we estimate a total of 337,590 use of physical force incidents among State and local law enforcement agencies during 2012 with a 95 percent confidence interval of +/- 10,470 incidents or +/- 3.1 percent. This article reports the extent to which the number and rate of force incidents vary by the type and size of law enforcement agencies. Our findings demonstrate the willingness of a large proportion of law enforcement agencies to voluntarily report the amount of force used by their officers and the relative strengths and weaknesses of the Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) program to produce nationally representative information about police behavior.
Project description:Exposure to critical incidents and hence potentially traumatic events is endemic in law enforcement. The study of law enforcement officers' experience of moral injury and their exposure to potentially morally injurious incidents, and research on moral injury's relationship with different forms of traumatization (e.g. compassion fatigue, post-traumatic stress disorder) are in their infancy. The present study aims to build on prior research and explores the role of moral injury in predicting post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and its clusters thereof. To this end, a sample of law enforcement officers (N = 370) from the National Police of Finland was recruited to participate in the current study. Results showed that moral injury significantly predicted PTSD as well as its diagnostic clusters (i.e., avoidance, hyperarousal, re-experiencing). The aforementioned role of moral injury to significantly predict PTSD and its clusters were unequivocal even when compassion fatigue was incorporated into the path model. Clinical, research, and law enforcement practice implications are discussed.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Cell phone use while driving laws do not appear to be heavily enforced in the USA. This study seeks to gain law enforcements' perspective and learn potential barriers to cell phone law enforcement. METHODS:Qualitative interviews (ie, focus groups) were conducted with officers (N=19) from five West Virginia law enforcement agencies. The officers who participated were >18 years of age, sworn into their departments and employed in law enforcement for >1 year. Focus group sessions lasted 45-60 min and followed a standardised, pilot-tested script. These sessions were audio recorded and transcribed. Qualitative content analysis was employed among three researchers to determine themes surrounding enforcement. RESULTS:Four themes emerged including current culture, the legal system, the nature of police work and issues with prevention. Specific barriers to enforcement included cultural norms, lack of perceived support from courts/judges, different laws between states, the need for a general distracted driving law, unclear legislation, officers' habits and perceived risk, wanting to maintain a positive relationship with the public, not being able to see the driver (impediments of vehicle design, time of day), phones having multiple functions and not knowing what drivers are actually doing, risk of crashing during traffic stops and lack of resources. Prevention activities were debated, and most felt that technological advancements implemented by cell phone manufacturers may deter use. CONCLUSIONS:Numerous barriers to cell phone law enforcement exist. Legislation could be amended to facilitate enforcement. Prevention opportunities exist to deter cell phone use while driving.
Project description:The increasingly visible presence of heavily armed police units in American communities has stoked widespread concern over the militarization of local law enforcement. Advocates claim militarized policing protects officers and deters violent crime, while critics allege these tactics are targeted at racial minorities and erode trust in law enforcement. Using a rare geocoded census of SWAT team deployments from Maryland, I show that militarized police units are more often deployed in communities with large shares of African American residents, even after controlling for local crime rates. Further, using nationwide panel data on local police militarization, I demonstrate that militarized policing fails to enhance officer safety or reduce local crime. Finally, using survey experiments-one of which includes a large oversample of African American respondents-I show that seeing militarized police in news reports may diminish police reputation in the mass public. In the case of militarized policing, the results suggest that the often-cited trade-off between public safety and civil liberties is a false choice.
Project description:The present manuscript presents foundational constructs related to death and loss (i.e., grief, bereavement, prolonged grief) providing empirical findings from recent research on the impact of death and loss on police officers’ health, behavior, and overall functioning. Police officers are routinely exposed to death. In many instances, officers’ contact with decedents includes, among others, victims of accidents, catastrophes, or violent crimes and witnessing the intense emotional suffering of relatives of the deceased. Additionally, it is not uncommon for officers to experience the loss of fellow officers from on-duty deaths and permanent, career-ending injuries. Simultaneously, like everyone, police officers have to cope with deaths of loved ones in their personal lives. The result is that officers’ health and well-being are likely compromised because of the systematic exposure to on- and off-duty deaths. In this perspective paper, death and loss in law enforcement are explored in an attempt to raise awareness and increase attention to this area of police work. In addition, the authors list a number of prophylactic intervention strategies that would support officers cope with the impact of loss and death and promote their own resilience.
Project description:Law and order enforcement tasks may expose special force police officers to significant psychosocial risk factors. The aim of this work is to investigate the relationship between job stress and the presence of mental health symptoms while controlling sociodemographical, occupational and personality variables in special force police officers.At different time points, 292 of 294 members of the 'VI Reparto Mobile', a special police force engaged exclusively in the enforcement of law and order, responded to our invitation to complete questionnaires for the assessment of personality traits, work-related stress (using the Demand-Control-Support (DCS) and the Effort-Reward-Imbalance (ERI) models) and mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and burnout.Regression analyses showed that lower levels of support and reward and higher levels of effort and overcommitment were associated with higher levels of mental health symptoms. Psychological screening revealed 21 (7.3%) likely cases of mild depression (Beck Depression Inventory, BDI?10). Officers who had experienced a discrepancy between work effort and rewards showed a marked increase in the risk of depression (OR 7.89, 95% CI 2.32 to 26.82) when compared with their counterparts who did not perceive themselves to be in a condition of distress.The findings of this study suggest that work-related stress may play a role in the development of mental health problems in police officers. The prevalence of mental health symptoms in the cohort investigated here was low, but not negligible in the case of depression. Since special forces police officers have to perform sensitive tasks for which a healthy psychological functioning is needed, the results of this study suggest that steps should be taken to prevent distress and improve the mental well-being of these workers.
Project description:During the regulatory drafting process, California considered allowing police officers to become licensed owners of cannabis businesses, an action that would have codified a conflict of interest (COI), allowing police to exert influence in two market strata, enforcement and licensure. Up until then, no state specifically excepted law enforcement from COI prohibitions, making California's proposed medical cannabis regulation unique. We performed two 50-state surveys and examined 298 public comments submitted to the Bureau of Cannabis Control during the initial medical cannabis rulemaking process in June 2017. After public comments, the Bureau withdrew this provision. However, that the exception was even considered is cause for concern in this new area of policy development. The progression from proposed medical cannabis rules to emergency rule adoption and now, into proposed final regulations, highlights the value of civic engagement with the rulemaking process. Jurisdictions should adopt bright-line COI rules within their cannabis codes that limit the relationships that law enforcement may have with the private cannabis markets.
Project description:In response to the rise of distracted driving, many countries and most US states have adopted laws to restrict the use of handheld phones for drivers. Specific provisions of each law and the overall social mores of distracted driving influence enforceability and impact.Identify multilevel interdependent factors that influence distracted driving enforcement through the perspective of police officers.We conducted focus group discussions with active duty law enforcement officers from three large Washington State counties. Our thematic analysis used descriptive and pattern coding that placed our findings within a social ecological framework to facilitate targeted intervention development.Participants reported that the distracted driving law posed challenges for consistent and effective enforcement. They emphasised the need to change social norms around distracted driving, similar to the shifts seen around impaired driving. Many participants were themselves distracted drivers, and their individual knowledge, attitude and beliefs influenced enforcement. Participants suggested that law enforcement leaders and policymakers should develop and implement policies and strategies to prioritise and motivate increased distracted driving enforcement.Individual, interpersonal, organisational and societal factors influence enforcement of distracted driving laws. Targeted interventions should be developed to address distracted driving and sustain effective enforcement.
Project description:Stress experienced by law enforcement officers is often extreme and is in many ways unique among professions. Although past research on officer stress is informative, it is limited, and most studies measure stress using self-report questionnaires or observational studies that have limited generalizability. We know of no research studies that have attempted to track direct physiological stress responses in high fidelity, especially within an operational police setting. The outcome of this project will have an impact on both practitioners and policing researchers. To do so, we will establish a capacity to obtain complex, multisensor data; process complex datasets; and establish the methods needed to conduct idiopathic clinical trials on behavioral interventions in similar contexts.The objective of this pilot study is to demonstrate the practicality and utility of wrist-worn biometric sensor-based research in a law enforcement agency.We will use nonprobability convenience-based sampling to recruit 2-3 participants from the police department in Durham, North Carolina, USA.Data collection was conducted in 2016. We will analyze data in early 2017 and disseminate our results via peer reviewed publications in late 2017.We developed the Biometrics & Policing Demonstration project to provide a proof of concept on collecting biometric data in a law enforcement setting. This effort will enable us to (1) address the regulatory approvals needed to collect data, including human participant considerations, (2) demonstrate the ability to use biometric tracking technology in a policing setting, (3) link biometric data to law enforcement data, and (4) explore project results for law enforcement policy and training.