This is a report on the October 2017 meeting of the Officer Safety and Wellness (OSW) Group, which met to discuss and recommend methods for supporting law enforcement officer emotional health and organizational wellness, the prevention of officer suicides, and countering the increasing number of felonious assaults on officers.
The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) and the Bureau of justice Assistance (BJA), a component of the Office of Justice Programs, formed the national OSW Group in 2011 to bring attention to the safety and wellness needs of law enforcement officers, following some high-profile ambushes on police. The OSW is composed of law enforcement leaders, researchers, doctors, and other stakeholders with resources and concerns related to officer safety and health. The OSW Group regularly convenes meetings with law enforcement practitioners, researchers, and subject-matter experts to assist in identifying and implementing new and existing efforts to improve officer safety and wellness. The October 2017 meeting scheduled discussion and recommendations on three topics: 1) emotional health and organizational wellness; 2) officer suicide; and 3) felonious assaults on officers. In addition to engaging these three topics, participants shared insights on current priorities for officer safety and organizational wellness that emerged from practitioners and researchers. Ten recommendations from the meeting include 1) strengthening local data collection relevant to officer safety and wellness; 2) exploring mandatory annual mental health check-ups; 3) addressing coronary disease prevention, detection, and treatment; 4) improving officer physical fitness; and 5) training supervisors and mid-level managers on issues that affect officer fitness and wellness. 54 references
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