Homicides of law enforcement officers responding to domestic disturbance calls

Department , of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, , Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
Injury Prevention (Impact Factor: 1.94). 02/2013; 19(5). DOI: 10.1136/injuryprev-2012-040723
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT OBJECTIVE: To describe the law enforcement officer (LEO), encounter, perpetrator and victim characteristics of domestic disturbance-related LEO homicides in the USA from 1996 to 2010. METHODS: Narrative text analysis was conducted on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's annual report 'Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted'. Potential cases were confirmed if the narrative included the term 'domestic disturbance' or a domestic disturbance situation was described. RESULTS: 116 LEOs were killed while responding to domestic disturbance calls. Ninety-five per cent of these homicides were committed with a firearm. Sixty-seven per cent of LEOs were wearing body armour when killed; however, 52% received the fatal wound to the head/neck. Sixty-one per cent of suspects had a criminal history mentioned within the narratives and perpetrators of intimate partner violence (IPV) were more likely to be killed by LEOs than suspects involved in other forms of domestic violence. Victims of the domestic disturbance were killed in 21% of the IPV-related LEO homicide cases as opposed to only 5% of other domestic disturbance calls. A firearm was the most common weapon used in the murder of a domestic disturbance victim (86%). CONCLUSIONS: This study describes domestic disturbance-related LEO homicides. Future research in this area should further examine the dangers unique to domestic disturbance calls. A longitudinal analysis could provide greater understanding of the injury and mortality risks faced by LEOs, in order to inform homicide prevention among law enforcement.

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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: To understand the circumstances surrounding the occupational homicides of law enforcement officers (LEOs) in the USA. METHODS: Narrative text analysis of Federal Bureau of Investigation Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted reports. RESULTS: A total of 796 officers were killed in the line of duty between 1996 and 2010. The occupational homicide rate during the time peaked in 2001 at 3.76/100 000 (excluding those killed during the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks), and was lowest in 2008 at 1.92/100 000. Most LEOs (67%) were killed by short-barrel firearms; 10% were killed with their own service weapon. The most frequent encounter with a suspect prior to a homicide was responding to a disturbance call. CONCLUSIONS: These results should inform officer training and the policies, as well as procedures used when interacting with suspects, especially when firearms are involved.
    Injury Prevention 05/2013; 20(1). DOI:10.1136/injuryprev-2013-040799 · 1.94 Impact Factor