Law enforcement and their forensic partner agencies—including crime laboratories and medical examiner and coroner offices—are complex organizations and face numerous challenges including with their internal operations and the well-being of their staff. The RTI Center for Policing Research and Investigative Science’s research addresses issues concerning health and wellness, recruitment and retention, and understanding officer behavior and the impact that it has on police operations and stress and resiliency among medicolegal death investigators.
Working with federal partners and with local law enforcement agencies, we are examining ways law enforcement agencies can better recruit women and, in turn, increase female representation in the policing workforce. To better understand how stressful incidents affect officers and their decisions, we partnered with the Durham Police Department in North Carolina to monitor police officers’ levels of emotional and physical stress through personal wearable devices. We are furthering this work through a partnership with the International Association of Coroners & Medical Examiners to investigate ways to combat burnout and promote workforce resiliency in the medicolegal death investigation field.