Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Epidemiology of police assaults

Finally, after 1,200 posts and nearly seven years, I get to use the word "epidemiology" in a title. My opportunity arises now that Drs. Joel Caplan and Phillip Marotta have published their paper, Felonious Assault and Injury to Law Enforcement: Epidemiology and Spatial Risk Factors. It is a quick read, and worthwhile for police officers to peruse.

The researchers have examined data on felonious assaults of police officers and identified spatial and temporal correlates and risk factors. I like their format, where these findings are distilled into "implications for practice"--observations and recommendations set apart in gray boxes within the report. While much of this may be common sense for seasoned officers, it's still a valuable reminder.

I made a minor contribution to the content by providing some data and very rudimentary analysis to Dr. Caplan last fall, described in this post from October 16. Lincoln's data ends up as a case study on page 13 of the report. I'm very interested in research, and really enjoy the occasional opportunity to contribute to the body of knowledge in public safety.

Beware the wee hours, officers, and do not let your guard down at facilities where you may have a certain comfort level due to your familiarity with the surroundings, such as hospitals, detox centers, the jail, and--the police station.

1 comment:

Steve said...

I'm sure there is some value to the report, and the information in it. I admit I did not read the whole report, but what I did read seemed pretty much common sense stuff taken as a whole, and perhaps brain clutter that might actually be detrimental. I would hope that an officer doesn't take the various risk factors and assigned percentages of assaults to mean they only need to be on guard for assualts for the highest risk factors. At the same time, as described in the report as "alert fatigue", I understand it would be difficult and stressful to continually be thinking about the possibilities of being assaulted.

That being said, it appeared from the findings, that even though there are some "hot spots" for officer assaults, virtually no place is free from them.

Stay safe out there.