The Ultimate Victimization: An Exploratory Analysis of Lethal Assaults Against Police Officers

Kimberly J. Belvedere, California State Univ. - San Bernardino

Since the 1970's, research involving victims of crime has been plentiful. The research into the violent victimization of police officers, however, has not received as much attention. Most often limited to descriptive and situational circumstances only, very few studies have actually sought to examine what factors, if any, correlate to a rise or fall in police officer murders. Furthermore, other than suggesting enhanced training, very few studies have used their data to identify possible methods of the preventing police officer victimizations. This study used qualitative and quantitative data from the California Peace officer's Memorial to accomplish these tasks. Data will be collected for the past decade, and analyzed using both descriptive methods and quasi-experimental designs. What are the current trends in law enforcement deaths? Are certain types of calls more dangerous? Does a policy of selective incapacitation provide an added measure of protection to police officers or make it more dangerous for them? Keeping in mind that policing is a highly responsive institution, the results of this study could be valuable in re-inventing the way law enforcement practitioners police the public. In turn, the public will benefit from a better-informed, better educated, and more professionalized police force.

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Updated 05/20/2006