This award recognizes the law enforcement agency that has successfully developed, implemented and promoted the most comprehensive and strategically implemented officer safety or officer wellness program.
The program employs an overarching marketing strategy that embraces voluntary participation and an enhanced departmental awareness, and has achieved a high degree of employee buy-in through its creative and innovative marketing strategies. The program is widely accepted by the employees, has high participation rates, and is considered a success by the agency.
NYPD Commissioner William Bratton launched a campaign to reengineer the entire department with the goal of giving everyone a voice as they identified areas of concern and then examined ways to improve upon them. The reengineering project involved 16 groups comprised of 94 teams, for a total of 1,231 members, 77% of whom were from the rank and file of the department. Every member of the department was able to contribute through an online suggestion box. Of the 477 recommendations that were made related to officer safety and wellness, 230 of those recommendations are being implemented, 64 were approved but with some modification, and 82 are awaiting further review.
2016 Comprehensive Safety Award Finalist
Burlington (NC) Police Department (150 sworn)
In 2013, under new Chief Jeffery Smythe, Burlington PD embarked on a campaign to improve officer safety with the message of “We are not going to bury another.” The department instituted minimum staffing levels to ensure response safety. A mandatory vest policy was implemented and vests were upgraded to level IIIA. Officers were issued hard armor platecarriers, helmet, ballistic shields, and ballistic door panels were installed on the cruisers. Officers were provided lights for their handguns, new holsters, new duty flashlights and patrol vehicles were outfitted with chargers. The department authorized the carry of personally owned patrol rifles and expanded the issuance of department rifles in addition to qualified back up weapons. Officers get 100 rounds of practice ammunition per month and unlimited use to a virtual use of force simulator.
The Orange County (FL) Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) developed and implemented a multi-faceted, comprehensive officer safety and wellness program. The Sheriff is a proponent of realistic and repetitive training including the use of simulation technology. The agency encourages high-liability training several times each year and has invested in new vehicle collision avoidance technology. The agency conducts a voluntary program that provides incentives for deputies to exercise. The program integrates the local business community and provides free classes in yoga, High-intensity Interval Training (HIIT), Aikido, Zumba and more.
2015 Comprehensive Safety Award Finalist
The Harford County (MD) Sheriff’s Office developed a creative incentive program promoting physical fitness and overall wellness, utilizing “pebbles” participants place in their shoes. Understanding that not all of the Sheriff’s Office employees are athletic, they created a two-track system through which participants can earn time off and monetary incentives. The first track includes traditional fitness and exercise where participants work to maintain the highest percentile for their age group. Participants can earn up to 30 hours of paid leave every six months. The second track also encourages exercise but allows participants to earn points towards an incentive by partaking in various health screenings and maintaining a minimum number of steps and active minutes in their daily routines.