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Using Science to Improve Law Enforcement Officer Safety and Wellness

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Nov 26, 2012 4:16:00 PM

Officer SafetyEach year, 100-200 law enforcement officers die in the line of duty. Last year, 177 lost their lives — a 16-percent increase from 2010.  NIJ has developed a robust research portfolio to improve officer safety and wellness and, ultimately, save lives.

This panel discussed some of NIJ’s most promising work to reduce shooting and traffic-related fatalities — consistently the leading causes of officer line-of-duty deaths — and improve officer wellness, which is inextricably linked with officer safety.   


  • John H. Laub, Ph.D., Director, National Institute of Justice


  • Chief Walter McNeil, President, International Association of Chiefs of Police
  • Karen Amendola, Ph.D., Chief Operating Officer, Police Foundation
  • John Violanti, Ph.D., Research Professor, University at Buffalo, State University of NY
  • Carrick Williams, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Mississippi State University
  • Bryan Vila, Ph.D., Professor, Washington State University

NOTE:  Some discussions take 10 to 20 seconds to load.  All discussions can also be accessed by going to directly to NIJ's Protecting our Protectors: Using Science to Improve Officer Safety and Wellness.

Panel Discussions

  1. Introductory Remarks  1:31

  2. Protecting our Protectors: Using Science to Improve Officer Safety and Wellness 9:06

  3. The Impact of Shift Length: An Experimental Study  13:59

  4. Suicide: The Enemy Within  19:15

  5. Officer Safety: The Cognitive Impact of Communications on Patrol   11:42

  6. Measuring What Matters: Enhance Justice, Improve Safety and Reduce Costs  17:13

  7. Q&A:  What mental health screening tools are available?   3:39

  8. Q&A: Are you doing any work with the military to address shared issues?  4:02 

  9. Q&A: What are the challenges to safety for minority officers?  4:59 

  10. Q&A: Are researchers coordinating with each other?  1:11 

  11. Q&A: What can we do about shorter staff and longer shifts?  3:31 

  12. Q&A: How can we improve the accuracy of lifesaving information? 2:09

    NOTE:  Orion Communications gratefully acknowledges the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice, for allowing us to reproduce "Protecting our Protectors: Using Science to Improve Officer Safety and Wellness". The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this video are those of the speaker(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.


    Topics: Law Enforcement, Police, Officer Safety

    About Orion Communications

    Orion Communications is a certified women-owned business enterprise headquartered in Dallas, Texas that has been specializing in workforce management software since 1998. As Public Sector workforce management and data interface experts, Orion is a unique provider of dynamically intelligence workforce management software. Orion serves agencies with complex requirements and improves workforce productivity using its web based AgencyWeb® system and consultative management services.

    For more information, please contact Jackie Belasky at 214-361-1203, #2413 or jbelasky@orioncom.com.