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Covid and Cops Survey

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, police officers are being deployed in new ways and face new challenges in carrying out their work. Police services have altered deployment and shift patterns, dispatchers are screening service calls for possible infections, certain enforcement activities have been diminished or suspended while police officers are asked to enforce hastily assembled laws and policies for physical distancing. What’s more, officers are carrying out their duties, which often don’t allow for physical distancing themselves, whilst trying to protect their own health. An international, research team led by Dr. Patrick Watson (Criminology, Wilfrid Laurier University), is examining the experiences of law enforcement officers policing in the COVID-19 pandemic and, in particular, how COVID-19 has changed police officers’ work. The research team is  interested in stories from both Canada and the United States, while also inviting and hoping for experiences from further afield as well. The project examines what officers’ services/departments are asking of them, how their role is changing, how they are implementing any new powers they’ve been given, how technology is being deployed or augmented to enact social control measures, how they are serving populations at high-risk for COVID-19, and how they are protecting themselves on the job. 

The project is interested in hearing accounts from across the law enforcement community – both sworn and civilian members – as they navigate through new policies and procedures implemented in an unprecedented moment of public and officer risk. 

Respondents are invited to anonymously present their stories in their own words. The research team is also inviting officers and civilian members to register their interest in being interviewed at a later date, by separately emailing Dr. Watson their contact details. The research team hopes that because officers share their experiences it will enable critical insights into how law enforcement officers are deployed during a public health crisis.

If you’re a police officer and you’re interested in participating, go to Participation can take as little as ten minutes, and will go to better understanding how COVID-19 has affected officers and the institution of policing. 

If you have questions, contact the research team at Wilfrid Laurier University,

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