Wayne State study examines how neighborhoods affect police stress and behavior


A team of Wayne State University researchers has received a grant from the National Institute of Justice to study how particular neighborhoods affect the stress and performance of Detroit Police Department officers.  

The team comprised of faculty members from the criminal justice, psychology, and health care sciences departments will use the nearly $569,000 grant to collect data from up to 400 DPD officers. Specifically, the study will involve patrol officer volunteers who spend six to eight hours a day in different neighborhoods. 

"Research on police stress is inconclusive in a lot of ways," says Bradley Smith, a WSU criminal justice professor working on the project. "We simply don't know what the effects of the environment are."  

The study is designed to tackle uncertainties surrounding officer stress levels, and ultimately design a plan for local police stations to respond. "Understanding specific stressors is important if you're going to devise a way to address them. And if the job is negatively affecting an officer's health, I think it's our duty to at least minimize that," added Smith.  

The research team, which includes criminal justice professor Charles Klahm, psychology assistant professor Samuele Zillioli, and health care sciences professor Malcolm Cutchin, will partner with University Pharmacy to evaluate the police volunteers. Participating officers will complete a comprehensive survey, as well as give saliva and blood samples for testing. 

Research is scheduled to begin during January of 2018.
By Theron Leclerc, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Writing Assistant

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