This is a report on the discussions and decisions of the Officer Safety and Wellness (OSW) Group at its March 2020 meeting, which focused on law enforcement safety and wellness challenges that are unique to small and rural law enforcement agencies.
Since 2011, the OSW Group has been working to improve the health and well-being of the nation's law enforcement officers. In recent meetings, it has focused on officer resilience, officer suicides, felonious assaults on officers, officer mental health, peer support networks, crisis hotlines, and other issues relevant to officer health and safety. Its meeting in March 2020 addressed officer safety and wellness challenges for small and rural agencies, since approximately 80 percent of U.S. law enforcement agencies have fewer than 20 officers. Issues addressed in the meeting included safety and tactical care through training and proper equipment; the promotion of physical health through testing, regular wellness visits, and fitness resources; and supporting mental health through confidential counseling, peer support groups, and other innovative resources. In addressing these topics, the OSW Group discussed best practices, research, and strategies for improving existing agency health and wellness policies and practices.