Award from Department of Justice comes from research and evaluation in safety, health & wellness in criminal justice system program
Congressman Brian Higgins announced the Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice (NIJ) awarded the University at Buffalo a grant award for $834,177 to conduct research on health effects experienced among police officers. The grant was awarded as part of the fiscal year 2019 Research and Evaluation in Safety, Health, and Wellness in the Criminal Justice System program under NIJ.
The subjects of the research will be 200 City of Buffalo police officers who participated in the Buffalo Cardio-Metabolic Occupational Police Stress Study (BCOPS), which took place from 2003-09 and examined the psychological effects of the irregular hours and demanding environment police officers are exposed to as a result of their work. The study looked at relationships between work stress, lifestyle factors, physiological stress indicators and other measurable physical variables. That study was done with funding from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
This research project will utilize statistical modeling methods to characterize the physical, rather than psychological, health effects that are a result of police officers’ atypical work hours. In doing so, it seeks to identify indicators of those effects early on, as well as strategies to mitigate them.
Higgins said, “Police officers dedicate their careers to protecting our communities and, in doing so, face unique circumstances and challenges. This significant federal research funding for the University at Buffalo will help us understand how those circumstances impact officers and hopefully shed light on how we can address those negative effects.”
Principle Investigator John M. Violanti, a University at Buffalo research professor in epidemiology and environmental health in the School of Public Health, said, “Police officers have a difficult job to do. This funding is critical to help us better understand how police officers adjust, or don’t, to the rigors of the job, including shift work, overtime and secondary employment. The goal is to outline strategies for adapting to these factors, while identifying early biological indicators of chronic disease and other adverse health outcomes commonly associated with the stressors of law enforcement work.
“This is, to our knowledge, the first study to longitudinally examine how police officers adapt to or struggle with to abnormal work hours. The physical and psychological challenges that come with atypical work hours can take a serious toll. These challenges often affect not only the officers’ health and performance – they can also impact the officers’ families and the people they seek to protect and serve.”