The link between officer safety and wellness is clear. To ensure the field is working toward “protecting our protectors,” it is essential to address both the officer and the individual in a safety and wellness plan.
The value of such a holistic approach was on display at the closing plenary of the National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ’s) 2012 Conference on June 20. IACP President Walter A. McNeil, Chief of the Quincy, Florida, Police Department–who has made officer safety his focus during his tenure–was called upon to moderate this important discussion about what is currently being done to improve officer safety and wellness.
The panel comprised researchers from across the United States, including
- Karen Amendola, The Police Foundation (Shift Length)
- Bryan Vila, Washington State University (Fatigue and Officer Performance in Deadly Encounters)
- John Violanti, University of Buffalo (Officer Suicide)
- Carrick Williams, Mississippi State University (Law Enforcement Multitasking)
Each of these researchers brought with them a perspective that, when taken all as a whole, represents the fact that officer safety is more than just vests and seat belts. From the mental well-being of an officer to cognitive capacity and multitasking, it is ever more necessary to look at officer safety from varying perspectives. However, to ensure the success of such an approach, researchers and practitioners need to continue to work together with the hopes of translating this important research into practice.
Click here additional 2012 NIJ Conference information.