Police work is tough, stressful, and dangerous. Officers are put in dangerous situations every day, whether arresting an armed suspect, responding to a domestic violence call, chasing a wanted felon, or running into a burning building to evacuate residents.
When considering officer wellness and safety, it’s important to go beyond the immediate dangers in the field and recognize the stress and psychological strain police work can cause. More officers are killed or removed from duty due to vehicle accidents, chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, and other problems that often stem from high stress environments. Additionally, law enforcement personnel and others who work with victims and respond to cases of violence are at risk of being negatively impacted by the effects of vicarious trauma.
For law enforcement to be effective in this difficult and dangerous field, building trust and mutual respect between police officers and their communities is essential. By creating stronger human connections and increasing community engagement, public safety will improve and crime fighting will become more effective.
With support from OJP, the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice is designed to improve relationships and increase trust between communities and the criminal justice system. Additionally, the OJJDP-supported Youth Focused Policing Resource Center provides information about and resources to better enable police to intervene and work with youth to reduce delinquency, victimization, long-term health and criminal justice costs and prolonged involvement in the justice systems.
Also, through programs such as the Bulletproof Vest Partnership/Body Armor Safety Initiative, the NIJ Standards and Testing Program, and BJA's VALOR Initiative, OJP is working to provide critical safety information and resources to law enforcement personnel. Additionally, through research funded by NIJ in areas such as roadside safety, use of force, and officer stress and fatigue, OJP provides scientifically-based information and tools to assist agencies in establishing improved practices and protocols to help keep officers safe.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy designated May 15 of each year as Peace Officers Memorial Day to honor the federal, state, municipal, and tribal officers who die or are disabled in the line of duty. He also designated the week in which Peace Officers Memorial Day falls as National Police Week, a tradition that continues today.
In recognition of the crucial services provided by law enforcement personnel and to celebrate their brave efforts, NCJRS presents this compilation of publications and resources for officers, agencies, and loved ones. Select a topic from the section at the right under the heading “Law Enforcement Resources” to learn more.