A study of the effectiveness of a death notification training seminar for law enforcement officers
Register, Brandon Jeremy
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This study evaluated the effectiveness of a death notification training seminar for law enforcement officers developed by Alan Stewart and Janice Harris Lord. Previous research has demonstrated that a significant portion of law enforcement officers have received little to no death notification training, yet the majority of officers have delivered at least one death notification (Stewart et al., 2000). Participants (N=307) were a mix of law enforcement officers (n=163), chaplains (n=25), victim advocates (n=32), and nine other categories of law enforcement personnel (n=87) across five states in the United States. Results of pre and post measures indicated that the seminar was viewed to be effective overall; that it enhanced the death notification skills of participants; that it increased their confidence in performing a compassionate and thorough death notification; and that participants generally felt prepared to handle circumstances which commonly surround death notification after attending the seminar. Differences in reported death notification experiences were analyzed by gender and professional identification. Males reported performing significantly more death notifications than females, and significant differences were found between Officers, Chaplains, and Victim Advocates on several measures of emotional response during death notifications. Implications are discussed for future death education programs and for law enforcement personnel.