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The SHIELD Premise

Today's public health crises challenge police departments like never before. Officers are called upon to protect community health in the COVID-19 pandemic. Officers are called upon to perform the roles of emergency responders and social workers in the current overdose crisis. They are asked to take on these responsibilities without the tools or training they need to succeed, without meaningful attention to the occupational safety and health risks these roles create – now in the face of unprecedented scrutiny, job insecurity, and diminished community relations. 

SHIELD exists to give officers the tools they need to improve their occupational safety and health. Agencies that implement SHIELD's strategies improve both officer retention and community health and safety.

The Origins

Starting in 2003, our team began exploring gaps in the implementation of legislation responding to the overdose crisis. We discovered that officers were deeply concerned about risks to their safety arising from enforcement activities in the crisis, such as threats of needlestick injury, bloodborne illness, and accidental fentanyl exposure. We also discovered that officers are often underinformed about changes in policies to implement updated laws.

 

The arrival of COVID-19 brings new occupational threats to officer safety and health. SHIELD offers strategies to protect officers and the public from infection while performing both new and traditional law enforcement duties.

How does SHIELD work?
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Module 1: The Overdose Crisis & COVID-19: Key Facts for Your Health & Safety

Provides essential information about risk levels for needlestick injuries, infectious disease transmission, and field exposure to fentanyl.

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Module 2: Key Facts about Stress & Burnout

Provides operational safety techniques for recognizing and addressing the effects of vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue, and toxic stress.

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Module 3: Two Operational Strategies to Protect Officer Health & Safety 

Provides strategies and best practices for reducing these health and safety risks and stress burdens through linkages with treatment and supportive service providers.

Why SHIELD is Different

Our team’s premier knowledge base serves as the core foundation of the SHIELD (Safety and Health Integration in the Enforcement of Laws on Drugs) model. In contrast to other trainings, our model deploys targeted, practice-driven, and research-tested instructional techniques to harmonize police practices with overdose and COVID-19 response. Unlike off-the-shelf trainings, we customize the curriculum to specific jurisdictions, giving officers actionable knowledge – including contacts for linkages to services that reduce the work and stress burdens upon officers while reducing criminal behaviors – that they can implement immediately.