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Changing the Culture of Officer Safety and Wellness

Ian Hamilton, Project Manager, IACP Center for Officer Safety and Wellness

In 2013, line-of-duty deaths among law enforcement officers in the United States dropped to the lowest recorded number in over 50 years. Still, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, there were 105 men and women from state, local, tribal, or federal law enforcement agencies who tragically lost their lives.1 It is the IACP’s position that no injury or death of a law enforcement professional is acceptable. As an organization that serves as the professional voice of law enforcement, the IACP is committed to providing leadership, advocacy, and training and educational resources to better inform and equip all law enforcement professionals, from patrol officers to executives.

The May 2014 publication of Police Chief is the IACP’s annual magazine issue dedicated to officer safety and wellness, and this year, we feature a collection of articles that address timely and notable issues such as officer fitness as it relates to safety and training; the importance of personal body armor wear among officers; law enforcement mental health and suicide considerations; the effectiveness of officer seat belt wear to mitigate officer injury and prevent traffic-related fatalities; and an examination of how law enforcement executives can look to management and training strategies developed in other industries to increase efficiency and positively impact officers’ behaviors.

Officer safety and wellness is a fundamental part of the day-to-day mission of the IACP, and each and every ongoing project and initiative undertaken by IACP staff and its membership works to achieve this mission. This edition of Police Chief focuses on officer safety and wellness issues; however, the IACP promotes safety and wellness issues every month in the Officer Safety Corner column of the magazine. Archived versions of previous Officer Safety Corner columns can be accessed at

In previous years, the IACP Annual Conference’s educational program has featured an array of contemporary and thought-provoking sessions to inform law enforcement executives and promote the overall public safety mission. At IACP 2013, officer safety and wellness project staff, along with a number of experienced and passionate practitioners, collaboratively addressed important officer safety issues such as departmental injury tracking, officer mental health, and ambush attacks perpetrated against law enforcement. This year’s conference curriculum for IACP 2014 in Orlando will further the discussion of officer safety and wellness issues across a series of workshops and sessions and offer attendees resourceful information, best practices, and lessons learned from some of the most innovative and forward-thinking law enforcement agencies across the United States. Similarly, IACP project staff will continue to highlight the work being done through the association in cooperation with its federal partners. ♦

1“Honoring Officers Killed in 2013,” Officer Down Memorial Page, (accessed March 3, 2014).

How you can contribute:

The vision of the IACP Center for Officer Safety and Wellness is to establish a culture of safety and wellness within all law enforcement organizations beginning at the recruitment and academy stages of an officer’s career and continuing well into his or her retirement years. To achieve this vision, the Center will continue to emphasize the values of safety, heath, and wellness and how they directly impact officer performance. We call upon you, the experts and the leaders in the profession, to provide us with your experiences, best practices, and recommendations so that IACP may continue to raise awareness on a range of officer safety and wellness issues.

For additional resources and information on the IACP Center for Officer Safety and Wellness, please visit the newly redesigned web page at To provide us with your experiences, best practices, and recommendations for topics to be addressed, please contact Center staff at

Please cite as:

Ian Hamilton, “Changing the Culture of Officer Safety and Wellness,” The Police Chief 81 (May 2014): 24.



From The Police Chief, vol. LXXXI, no. 5, May 2014. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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