Law Enforcement Officers' Safety, Health, and Welfare

With support from the NORC Center for Excellence in Survey Research and the partnership of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), NORC researchers developed a study of law enforcement officer safety and welfare (OSAW) to investigate risks and stressors, protective factors, behavioral health, and safety and health outcomes. Initial qualitative research with a focus group of representatives of law enforcement agencies (LEAs) from the mid-Atlantic region informed the design of the survey instrument, and a random sample of officers from 11 LEAs responded to the online survey.

Detailed results of the pilot research are available in Policy Quarterly. Overall, officers' physical health outcomes were reported at similar rates to those of the general population. However, findings indicate a need for attention to officers' health for elevated rates of posttraumatic stress disorder, common mental disorders, and alcohol misuse. Given the inconsistent nature and breadth of state-level LEA wellness programming across the U.S. (with data local agencies support services generally not available), the purpose of this pilot research is to inform development of a national study of officers as well as agencies, to gain insights to explain and ultimately improve officer safety and welfare outcomes.

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