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Guidance on the Collection and Use of Officer Injury Data Bulletin

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As part of the Bureau of Justice Assistance-funded initiative Using Analytics to Improve Officer Safety, CNA’s Center for Justice Research and Innovation produced this bulletin to serve as an accessible resource to support law enforcement agencies in collecting detailed and informative officer injury data. Visit CNA’s Officer Safety and Wellness page to learn more about our analytics work.
Officer safety is of critical importance in an era of increased risk for law enforcement officers. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI’s) Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) Program, between 2010 and 2018, an average of 51 officers died in a felonious killing per year. LEOKA defines a felonious killing as an “incident type in which the willful and intentional actions of an offender result in the fatal injury of an officer who is performing his or her official duties.” Regardless of how officer line-of-duty deaths, assaults, or injuries occur, the consequences are tragic and complex, affecting officers’ work and home life. Just as de-escalation, defusing, and crisis intervention tactics are paramount today, so is officer safety. This bulletin provides information related to officer injury data collection. Specifically, it provides suggested practices regarding what variables to collect, when to collect data, and how to collect data to better understand and utilize officer injury data to promote officer safety.

WHY OFFICER INJURY DATA SHOULD BE COLLECTED

Despite routine data collection regarding law enforcement calls for service, many police agencies across the country lack granular level officer injury data related to calls for service. Robust collection of officer injury-related data will expand the analytic capabilities of departments, increase officer preparedness for future calls, and promote officer safety.
Collecting officer injury data will enable departments to promote and enhance officer safety by:

  • Enabling forecasts of the risk associated with call for service types;
  • Informing the development of additional trainings;
  • Helping to evaluate risk mitigation strategies; andInforming revisions to policies, procedures, and practices.

COLLECTING OFFICER INJURY DATA — WHAT, WHEN, AND HOW

This bulletin does not provide an exhaustive list of all practices related to officer injury data collection. Rather, it summarizes several recommendations and emerging practices that agencies can use to foster more robust data collection efforts to promote safety at the local level. Departments should collect additional data they feel might be relevant for analyzing and predicting officer injuries and adopt timeframes and methods that best fit officer needs and department capabilities. Note that more comprehensive data will likely increase the time officers spend on data collection but may successfully decrease negative officer safety outcomes.

What

Recording the circumstances surrounding officer injuries is critical for understanding important risk factors and identifying the measures that agencies and officers can take to ensure the health and well-being of law enforcement officers. To increase accurate and consistent injury data collection, it is important that agencies define (both in policy and on their data collection platforms) what is considered an injury. Outlined below are recommended variables for departments to capture in their data collection.

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This work was performed under BJA-2018-DP-BX-K015. This project was supported by Cooperative Agreement Number BJA‑2018‑DP‑BX-K015 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions contained herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. References to specific agencies, companies, products, or services should not be considered an endorsement by the author(s) or the U.S. Department of Justice. Rather, the references are illustrations to supplement discussion of the issues.

Details

  • Pages:
  • Document Number: IIM-2021-U-030677
  • Publication Date: 12/29/2021