Police officer response to the injured officer: A survey-based analysis of medical care decisions

Matthew D. Sztajnkrycer, David W. Callaway, Amado Alejandro Baez

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Introduction: No widely accepted, specialized medical training exists for police officers confronted with medical emergencies while under conditions of active threat. The purpose of this study was to assess medical decisionmaking capabilities of law enforcement personnel under these circumstances. Methods: Web-based surveys were administered to all sworn officers within the county jurisdiction.Thirty-eight key actions were predetermined for nine injured officer scenarios, with each correct action worth one point.Descriptive statistics and t-tests were used to analyze results. Results: Ninety-seven officers (65.1% response rate) responded to the survey. The majority of officers (68.0%) were trained to the first-responder level. Overall mean score for the scenarios was 15.5 ±3.6 (range 7-25). A higher level of medical training (EMT-B/P versus first responder) was associated with a higher mean score (16.6 ±3.4, p = 0.05 vs. 15.0 ±3.6, p = 0.05).Tactical unit assignment was associated with a lower score compared with nonassigned officers (13.5 ±2.9 vs. 16.0 ±3.6, p = 0.0085).No difference was noted based upon previous military experience. Ninety-two percent of respondents expressed interest in a law enforcement-oriented advanced first-aid course. Conclusions: Tactical medical decision-making capability, as assessed through the nine scenarios, was sub-optimal. In this post 9/11 era, development of law enforcement-specific medical training appears appropriate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-341
Number of pages7
JournalPrehospital and Disaster Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • combat lifesaver
  • decision-making
  • law enforcement
  • medical
  • tactical combat casualty care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency


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