Early Warning Systems
Some law enforcement agencies (agencies with jurisdiction) have adopted early warning systems to identify behavior patterns in their officers before serious problems occur (such as injuries or excessive use of force). The LEO “flagged” by the early warning system is reviewed by his or her immediate supervisor and could then be referred, if indicated, for guidance, counseling, or remedial training. LEOs flagged by the early warning system may have sleep disorders or sleep deprivation (or other medical issues). If indicated, supervisors should refer these LEOs to the police physicians for sleep disorder screening, testing, and sleep hygiene counseling – or even a medical fitness-for-duty examination.
Some indicators used in early warning systems that could lead to suspect sleep issues (other indicators currently used have no bearing on medical issues) include:
- Complaints against the LEO by citizens, arrestees, or other officers
- Use of force incidents
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Sick leave analysis (number of days, days of week – Monday/Friday, type of injuries/illnesses)
- Workers’ compensation analysis
- Poor performance
- Hostility with co-workers
- Falling asleep on the job (while driving, during meetings, in a parked car)
- Safety errors/risk-taking behavior (speeding, not calling for back up)
- Hostility/anger towards suspects or members of the public
- Excessive overtime
- Discretionary arrests (“contempt of cop”)
These indicators may be reviewed by the agency with jurisdiction on a regular basis (e.g., every 6 months). The LEO should be “flagged” if he or she has more than, for example, a total of 3 triggers or more than 2 triggers in one category. However, being “flagged” could also simply mean that the LEO is more “active” and has more contacts with offenders.