Award Date

5-1-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Environmental and Public Affairs

First Committee Member

William Sousa

Second Committee Member

Helen Neill

Third Committee Member

David Damore

Fourth Committee Member

Pushkin Kachroo

Number of Pages

151

Abstract

Traffic-related incidents were the leading cause of fatal injuries to officers in 14 of 15 years between 1997 and 2012. Vehicle crashes occur at the individual officer level, but chiefs are responsible for agency performance, creating and implementing police policy, and developing organizational culture. This quantitative survey research study draws from organizational culture theory and asks chiefs in state, county, and city police organizations what they believe are salient factors in crashes causing injuries and death to police officers in the United States. Independent variables include safety belt laws, written driving policies (including communication technology commonly used in police vehicles), training to support policy implementation, organizational behavior related to driving policies, and agency demographics and the dependent variable, injury crashes. Police agencies included in the sample frame were randomly selected from the population of agencies that participated in the F.B.I.'s Uniform Crime Reporting system in 2010. Chiefs answered questions in a self-administered web-based survey after invitations to participate were sent via e-mail to agency addresses collected on public websites. Questions revolved around the impact of new technologies on existing police driving policies, factors surrounding policy implementation, and hypothetical situations to indicate what may be defined as the culture in individual police organizations. Results of binary logistic regression analysis indicate that two independent variables, agency size and policies permitting cell phone use, are statistically significant predictors to injury crashes involving police officers. Findings show that the odds of experiencing injury crashes are 14.42 times greater in agencies with policies permitting cell phones compared with those that don't when agency size is held constant. Also, the odds of experiencing

injury crashes are .02 less in small agencies and .15 less in medium size agencies than in large or very large agencies when cell phone policy is held constant.

Keywords

Driving safety; Police – Government policy; Police – Mortality; Police – Wounds and injuries; Police administration; Police crashes; Police culture; Police injuries; Police management; Police psychology; Policy implementation; Traffic accidents; Traffic safety

Disciplines

Law Enforcement and Corrections | Public Administration | Public Policy | Work, Economy and Organizations

Language

English