This study investigated the extent and adequacy of training among New Jersey first responders (e.g., police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians) specifically as relates to a 2008 state law mandating that autism and hidden disability recognition and response training be conducted. The results show that a significant percentage of emergency service personnel have not completed the state mandated training. Recommendations for improving the training, such as by involving parents, advocates, and field and training personnel as a part of the training process, are discussed.
Police officers are chronically exposed to work stress. We examined specific stressors that may be associated with hopelessness, a possible risk factor for suicide in this high suicide risk population. The study included 378 officers (276 men and 102 women) with complete data. Analysis of variance was used to estimate mean levels of hopelessness scores as associated with stress, adjusted for age, gender, and race/ ethnicity. Posttraumatic symptoms were tested as a modifier of the association between stress and hopelessness. Increasing stress of administrative practices and lack of support were significantly associated with increasing hopelessness among officers (p< .006 – hopelessness range: 1.64–2.65; andp< .001 – hopelessness range 1.60–2.80, respectively). Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms significantly modified the association between lack of organizational support and hopelessness (p< .010) with significant association only among individuals with higher PTSD symptoms (p< .001). Results suggest that hopelessness is associated with specific stressors in police work, and this is modified by posttraumatic symptomatology.
Foot patrol work is rarely described in relation to public health, even though police routinely encounter health risk behaviors and environments. Through a qualitative study of foot patrol policing in violent ‘hotspots’ of Philadelphia, we explore some prospects and challenges associated with bridging security and public health considerations in law enforcement. Noting existing efforts to help advance police officer knowledge of, and attitudes toward health vulnerabilities, we incorporate perspectives from environmental criminology to help advance this bridging agenda. Extending the notion ofcapable guardianshipto understand foot patrol work, we suggest that the way forward for theory, policy and practice is not solely to rely on changing officer culture and behavior, but rather to advance a wider agenda for enhancing collective guardianship, and especially ‘place management’ for harm reduction in the city.