Three police officers using devices stand in front of a large group of people in a stadium

FirstNet Will Offer Law Enforcement a Reliable Connection and New Tools to Support Officer Wellness and Safety

This blog is a repost from the May 2018 issue of IACP’s Police Chief Magazine.

In the fall of 2017, a Pennsylvania police officer suffered a cardiac arrest while pursuing a suspect on foot. According to media accounts, the 44-year-old Allegheny Township officer had been called to a mobile home park where a man was reported to be creating a disturbance. When the officers arrived, the suspect allegedly ran. The officer experienced the heart attack while chasing after the suspect.1

Other officers on the scene performed CPR, and the officer was admitted to the hospital in critical condition. The quick response of other officers likely saved his life, but this incident illustrates one of the many ways police work can affect officers’ health and well-being.

The officer was responding to a domestic disturbance. These types of calls are among the most dangerous situations for law enforcement personnel. According to a 2016 study released by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, officers in these situations accounted for 18 percent of on-scene line-of-duty deaths between 2010 and 2014, the second leading circumstance following domestic disputes.2

The risks to officers, however, go beyond the dangers they face when responding to an incident. Police personnel work in inherently dangerous environments such as on roads; at crime scenes; and during risky situations, for example, in extreme weather. The work can be incredibly physically demanding, and police personnel, like all human beings, can get sick or injured on the job and can succumb to extreme stress.

Those who are employed in law enforcement know there is no amount of training or tool that can remove all risk from police work. Nonetheless, the deployment of FirstNet provides U.S. law enforcement agencies with another tool in their officer safety toolbox—a powerful communications network that improves first responder safety and offers more ways to track and monitor officer health and well-being.


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