Data-driven approaches to enhance officer wellness

Ed Padinske

The health and wellness of law enforcement officers have become a critical concern for police departments across the country. The increasingly intense demands of the job mean it's essential to holistically address officer wellbeing. We know that state and local public safety agencies are resource constrained – a 2021 survey noted a 45% increase in retirements and an 18% jump in resignations, and that trend has not abated. With limited resources, better utilization of data can unlock effective solutions for proactively supporting officers on the front lines.

Harnessing data to boost officer wellbeing

Public safety agencies across the country currently use data to create early intervention systems, often specifically focused on preventing potential disciplinary action or negative engagement with the public. The same data can be applied to understanding all officer activity, including wellbeing and exceptionally positive work. Departments collect the right data, but it’s siloed across various systems, making it hard to understand and even harder to use it to proactively and empathetically engage with team members.

Quantifying workload, exposure to traumatic incidents, patterns from certain shifts, and other datapoints can help department leaders proactively identify those at risk and help frontline officers solve them. Material problems like resignation, reduced job performance, chronic stress, and burnout can be mitigated if risk factors are identified and data is used to support a systemic approach to wellbeing. If supervisors are automatically notified when an officer has encountered multiple traumatic events, for example, early intervention and support is achievable – timely support that can drastically improve an officer’s wellbeing.

But identification is only half of the challenge. Departments also need tailored support programs and resources for officers based on their specific needs and experiences. Specialized training, access to Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), peer support networks within the department, or even a conversation with a supervisor are all potential solutions. Each department operates in a unique culture and complex operating environment, and the solutions provided must be specific to the officers within that department.

Acknowledging excellence: A crucial factor in officer morale

Another essential component of officer wellbeing is fostering a culture that recognizes and celebrates exceptional work. Positive reinforcement can significantly contribute to an officer's job satisfaction, retention, and overall wellbeing, especially in light of the number of external pressures law enforcement agencies manage each day. Effectively identifying and rewarding outstanding performance will boost morale and create a healthier work environment.

By using objective data to analyze officer activities, departments can pinpoint instances where officers have gone above and beyond in their duties. This can include effectively responding to a high number of calls, solving complex cases, or demonstrating exceptional skill in managing difficult situations. Uncovering these achievements using hard data makes it easier for supervisors and command staff to recognize and reward good work.

And when leaders acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of their officers, they foster a sense of trust and respect, building bonds across the chain of command.

From identification to action – only with Peregrine

Peregrine is a comprehensive solution for police departments looking to enhance officer wellness through better use of their data. The platform, hosted on AWS, is highly configurable, allowing each department to tailor it to their unique context and needs. The technology’s flexibility ensures that the platform supports the specific requirements of each agency, helping to create a more targeted and effective approach to officer wellness.

Peregrine optimizes data integration and transformation, breaking down siloes between disparate systems so departments can easily access and analyze information related to officer activities. By automatically connecting information from dispatch records, case reports, officer performance metrics, and other sources, departments will have holistic, real-time insights into officer wellbeing and can identify when support is needed. 

Alerts, dashboards, and charts will deliver those real-time insights into officer activities and workload to relevant supervisors and leaders, surfacing patterns, trends, outstanding performance, and potential issues. Alerts, dashboards, and scheduled emails can be configured to include or highlight specific indicators as identified by department leadership, like repeated exposure to certain types of critical incidents.

Equipped with the information they need, when and how they need it, leadership can then better take action to improve officer wellness – and in turn improve public safety in their communities for everyone they serve. 

About Ed Padinske

Ed Padinske comes from a public service-oriented family and is a former Navy Captain and Intelligence Officer. He served as a Senior Duty Officer in the White House Situation Room on and after 9/11, on six aircraft carriers, and in a range of Special Operations positions from commanding the Joint Special Operations Intelligence Brigade to Senior Intelligence Officer for all of the Navy’s SEAL Teams. He is currently an advisor to Peregrine, helping public safety agencies improve service to their communities. In his spare time serves on a non-profit board that supports first responders and veterans facing mental health crises.

Better, faster
in 90 days

Better, faster
in 90 days