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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 84053 Find in a Library
Title: Law Enforcement Officers and Death Notification - A Plea for Relevant Education
Journal: Journal of Police Science and Administration  Volume:10  Issue:2  Dated:(June 1982)  Pages:189-193
Author(s): M N Hall
Date Published: 1982
Page Count: 5
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The importance of prompt and effective intervention at the death of a loved one for facilitating subsequent healthful mourning requires that police, who often have the responsibility of notifying persons of the death of a loved one, be trained to do this in a manner most likely to be therapeutic.
Abstract: Basic police tasks conducted in the case of any unexpected or violent death consist of determining the cause of death, establishing the victim's identity, protecting the deceased person's property, and establishing the next of kin so as to arrange for disposition of the body. How and when relatives are notified of such a death depend on the following four major factors: (1) the degree of participation needed from the family to assist in identifying the victim, (2) the need for a family member to assume financial responsibility for disposition of the body, (3) the degree to which a particular officer or group of officers must externalize the death event and regard it as an impersonal byproduct of official and real activities, and (4) the involved officer's notions about human nature and personal views of what a person's response ought to be in the case of the death of a loved one. Police training for such a responsibility should consider human variation in both officer and citizen, while giving basic information about what to anticipate, approaches which are most compassionate and least hurtful, common errors made in trying to help others, community resources which can be used as referral sources, and the unique ways in which an officer can help. Ten references are listed.
Index Term(s): Crisis intervention; Death notification; Fatalities; Police responsibilities
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