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Office of Justice Programs Releases Toolkit to Help Law Enforcement Lead COVID-19 Vaccine Outreach
WASHINGTON – The Office of Justice Programs’ Bureau of Justice Assistance today released a toolkit designed to help law enforcement officers lead the public health campaign against COVID-19. COVID-19 was the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths in 2020 and continues to be the number one cause of police fatalities in 2021, ahead of shootings, traffic accidents and suicides. The toolkit includes resources and strategies that law enforcement agencies can use internally and when communicating to the public about the importance of vaccinations.
“Effective public safety requires trust building through face-to-face interactions between law enforcement and members of the community,” said BJA Acting Director Kristen Mahoney. “Our hope is that this resource will leverage the police as trusted messengers in the fight against COVID-19, delivering to both their colleagues and their fellow citizens life-saving information about the importance of vaccinations and other critical safety precautions.”
Officers are in constant contact with members of the public, and while many have helped to promote vaccines and other safety measures, many others have expressed reluctance or refusal to get the vaccine, putting both themselves and the communities with whom they come into contact at grave risk. The COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit for the Law Enforcement Community consists of fact sheets about COVID-19 and vaccinations, based on scientific data and research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It also includes a sample letter from a local law enforcement executive to members of the public that can be edited and customized to promote confidence in COVID-19 vaccines. These resources can be customized to reach out to sworn officers who may be reluctant to take this life-saving measure.
The toolkit was developed as part of BJA’s VALOR Officer Safety and Wellness Initiative, which offers no-cost safety and wellness training and technical assistance to law enforcement agencies, with a focus on resiliency. More than 66,000 officers have received VALOR training. BJA will work with national law enforcement organizations to distribute the toolkit to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies.
The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, advance racial equity in the administration of justice, assist victims and enhance the rule of law. More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.