Dr. Katelyn Jetelina is a postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Texas, School of Public Health. She is seeking three years of funding through the Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01). Dr. Jetelina conducts research in examining the acute and chronic stresses of law enforcement by evaluating the effects reactive outcomes, like coping mechanisms and excessive use-of-force, on officer health and safety. This area of study is significant due to the recent, highly visible concern that has largely framed reactive outcomes as police mismanagement rather than occupational health and safety. Dr. Jetelina?s long-term career goals are to become an independent investigator and a mixed- methods expert, and to develop a system-level intervention to reduce rates of police officer and citizen injury. In the current proposal, Dr. Jetelina outlines five short-term goals to be achieved throughout the award period that are intended to link her quantitative skills to new methodological techniques. These are: 1) to accumulate a strong knowledge base in qualitative methodology; 2) to gain formal training in mixed-methods design; 3) to learn the appropriate techniques and processes for stakeholder engagement; 4) to extend her current knowledge of officer health to community police based training; and 5) to orient herself with the science of team science. These goals will be achieved through a combination of mentoring by a multi- disciplinary team of established researchers, attendance at national workshops and conferences, focused coursework, and the proposed study. The proposed research plan seeks to contribute to the NORA Sector: Public Safety, Cross-sector: Traumatic Injury Prevention, and Strategic Goal 5: Evaluate information sources collected by stakeholders that may be enhanced to conduct effective occupational health and safety surveillance among law enforcement workers. This study will identify predisposing multi-dimensional factors that converge to create high-stress calls for Dallas Police Department (DPD) officers using a mixed-methods design. Specifically, the aims are: 1) To identify themes associated with consecutive high-stress calls and current stress decompression techniques through structured observations, focus groups, and distributing a stress survey among DPD officers; 2) To build a multi-level database that will classify calls for service on a stress continuum scale by triangulating new and pre-existing data from multiple DPD sources; and 3) To test the predictive capability of the integrated database, by evaluating statistical relationships between multi-level factors and adverse events (e.g. injury). Identifying predictors that contribute the greatest to high-stress calls is instrumental to inform a R01 application where Dr. Jetelina will develop a new computer-assisted dispatch system, which would take into account compound stress of a police officer?s shift and evaluate whether it reduces the likelihood of officer (and citizen) injury.
This project aims to identify predisposing multi-dimensional factors that converge to create high-stress, high intensity calls for Dallas Police Department (DPD) officers using a mixed-methods design. Improving our understanding of tracking and managing compound stress experienced by police officers on a day-to-day basis has significant implications for improving police-citizen interactions and could potentially explain police officers (and citizens) high rates of injury.