Law Enforcement Officer Nonfatal Injury Study

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The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is conducting a study to understand how on-duty injuries to law enforcement officers occur and how they can be prevented.

About the study:

U.S. law enforcement officers treated in hospital emergency departments (EDs) for injuries that occurred on-duty may be contacted to participate in phone interviews.

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The phone interview asks about the injury event that sent the officer to the ED, the activity at time of injury, work experience, and recovery from the injury.

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Officers’ primary duty is to protect the public. Data collected in this study will be used to understand and prevent injuries to officers, allowing them to safely perform their duties.

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Tell your story:

Please participate in the interview if we contact you. Multiple steps will be taken to protect privacy. Final study results will not identify individual officers.


This study is unique for several reasons:

✓ The study is supported by two federal agencies – the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). NIOSH aims to develop new knowledge in the field of occupational safety and health and transfer it into practice. The NIJexternal icon is dedicated to improving knowledge and understanding of crime and justice issues through science.

✓ The research team is experienced and has a strong and diverse background that includes injury researchers, criminologists, former law enforcement officers, and emergency room data experts. A multi-disciplinary approach benefits this study of nonfatal injuries among police officers.

We have a very good understanding of line-of-duty deaths and how to prevent them. What we don’t fully understand are nonfatal injuries that impact officers and their agencies in so many ways.

For example, overexertion injuries are very expensive and can lead to significant time away from work. These injuries can also impact an officer’s home life and mental health if they involve long-term pain or disability. Worse yet, these injuries could lead to the end of a law enforcement career.

We know so little about how officers get injured, how they recover, and what can the field as a whole can do to prevent these injuries.

The research team have worked with law enforcement agencies and officers for many years and understand officers’ concerns about keeping their personal data confidential. Any results will be published in an aggregate form without any personal identifiers. This study has no bearing on workers’ compensation cases. It is not possible to link a case with a particular agency or officer.

We understand that trust is pivotal to the success of the project. We need officers to feel comfortable telling their stories so we have meaningful data to point us toward injury prevention and the safety of fellow officers. Feel free to reach out to any of the investigators for more information on our confidentiality assurances. 

Questions? Contact:

Hope Tiesman, Project Officer

Law Enforcement supporters:

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Page last reviewed: September 30, 2019