Police Officers as Victims of Violent Crime

Deborah Linnell, Illinois State University

Police officers are expected to intervene in violent crime and protect others from victimization. But, what happens when the police become victims of violence, either through the daily performance of their jobs or off-duty as private citizens? Undergraduates enrolled in criminal justice courses (N=640) completed 1 or 12 randomly assigned questionnaires containing 4 hypothetical scenarios describing victims of violence, some of whom were also described as police officers, who were left with temporarily incapacitating injuries or permanent disabilities from their victimization. Police officer crime victims were rated more negative (p <.000) than crime victims whose employment was not stated with those suffering permanent disabilities perceived more negative (p <.000) than those with injuries from which they were expected to recover.

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Updated 05/20/2006