NIOSH Research on Police Safety

Peace Officers Memorial Day and National Police Week are observances that pay tribute to local, state, and Federal officers who have died or been disabled in the line of duty.  The Peace Officers Memorial Day occurs annually on May 15 which was designated by President John F. Kennedy in 1962.

National Police Week is the calendar week in which May 15 falls, and is an emotional time of recognition and remembrance for family and friends of fallen officers.  National Police Week and the Peace Officers Memorial Day draw nearly 40,000 law enforcement officers and their families to Washington, D.C. every year.

While the purpose of National Police Week is to pay tribute to fallen officers, it is also a time to highlight the physical and emotional struggles faced by today’s officers and their families.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is the federal agency charged with conducting research to improve working conditions and prevent work-related injury and illness among U.S. workers and this mission extends to police officers.

The study highlights, among others:

  • Motor-vehicle crashes;
  • Sleep and shift work;
  • Non-fatal injuries; and
  • Hearing loss and lead exposure.

The blog concludes with the question of “how can occupational safety and health specialist’s work with criminologists and law enforcement leaders make work safer for police?  As we think about police this week, we must consider the workplace in the overall health and safety of the men and women who choose to make law enforcement their profession.”