Date of Award

Fall 12-2018

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Advisor(s)

Jennifer Reingle Gonzalez, PHD

Second Advisor

Kelley Pettee Gabriel, PHD

Third Advisor

Stephen Bishopp, PHD

Abstract

Purpose. Law enforcement officer-involved shootings are uncommon events in the context of encounters with the public, but extreme situations which have the potential to pose immense harm to individuals and communities. Previous research demonstrates that a large proportion of such incidents result in injury or death, most commonly to civilians, but in some cases to officers as well. However, there has been little study of what factors are associated with injury during such incidents, and whether these factors might differ for civilians compared to officers. This study examined the factors associated with both civilian and officer injury and/or fatality during officer-involved shooting incidents, to better understand how harm might be reduced in the most extreme law enforcement scenarios. Methods. Secondary analysis was conducted on a sample of 281 officers involved in 177 unique shooting incidents recorded by Dallas Police Department between 2005-2015. Bivariate logistic regression and multivariable generalized estimation equation (GEE) models were used to examine the unadjusted and adjusted association of multiple officer, civilian, and situational characteristics with both civilian injury or fatality, and officer injury or fatality. Results. Civilian injury or fatality occurred in 61.02% of unique incidents, and officer injury in 13.56% of unique incidents. A majority (79.19%) of OIS incidents involved black or Hispanic/Latino/a civilians, but odds of injury were lower for black (AOR= .21, 95% CI .06-.72, p=.013) and Hispanic/Latina/o (AOR=.22, 95% CI .07-.72, p=.012) civilians compared to white when controlling for officer race, officer job assignment, presence of a weapon, and time of day. Civilians also had higher odds of injury during the daytime, though a majority of incidents occurred at night. Officer injury was significantly associated with job role, with patrol officers having lower adjusted odds of injury compared to administrative officers during the course of an OIS incident (AOR=.19, 95% CI .04-.89, p=.036). Conclusions and Public Health Relevance. Results may help inform future law enforcement training by identifying characteristics in high-intensity situations that most strongly predict bodily harm to a community member and/or officer. Future studies should seek to further elucidate the factors that influence injury during the course of a shooting and assess whether the findings in this study are replicated in other jurisdictions.

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