Toward an Understanding of the Physical Hazards of Police Work
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Most of the existing research on the hazards of police work concludes that policing is a dangerous occupation. The operationalization of dangerousness used by most researchers, however, fails to account for injuries and deaths that occur as a result of accidents, relying instead on the analysis of assaults and homicides. Defining dangerousness in this manner not only provides an incomplete picture of the dangers associated with the job but also precludes the comparison of policing to other occupations. Using injury report data from a police department and fire department in a large Midwestern city, this study contributes to knowledge in this area by (a) expanding the conceptualization of dangerousness to include injuries that occur as a result of accidents, (b) comparing accidental injuries to those that result from felonious acts, and (c) comparing injury incidents of varying natures and causes across occupations.