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Officer Safety and Wellness (OSW) Group Meeting Summary: Vehicle Operation, Risk Management, and Problem-based Learning

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2013
32 pages
This report covers the procedures and outcomes of the April 25, 2012 meeting of the Officer Safety and Wellness (OSW) Group, which focused on research, departmental policy, and training related to the safety of officers while driving their vehicles.
The topics addressed in the meeting were vehicle operation (both emergency and general driving), education, and training. For education and training, the meeting examined risk management and problem-based learning. Risk management enables law enforcement agencies to analyze the source of officer driving-related injuries and deaths, guide appropriate mitigation efforts, and monitor outcomes. An emerging approach to training called problem-based learning was discussed in the meeting. It differs from traditional classroom learning in having officers examine real problems and develop problem-solving skills that contribute to improvements in officer safety and wellness. The meeting provided for subject-matter experts to share their knowledge of relevant research, their practical experience, and recommendations for improving officer safety. This report on the meeting summarizes issues law enforcement agencies should address in the areas of research, policy development, training, and practice/programs for each of the topics of vehicle operation, risk management, and training. In the concluding section of this report, law enforcement agencies are advised that gaps remain in current officer safety research, and law enforcement agencies should both support and participate in research that helps fill those gaps. Agencies are also advised there are immediate steps they can take to reduce police vehicle-related deaths and injuries. One suggestion is to require officers to wear seat belts at all times. The most important step, however, is advised to be making officer safety part of the top tier of goals for the agency and continuously monitor progress toward everyone in the agency accepting responsibility for operating in a safe manner. 3 figures, 1 table, and 21 references