Police officers in Illinois face numerous risks every day. Even with modern gear and technology, law enforcement is a dangerous profession. According to FBI statistics, 48 American officers were killed in the line of duty during 2012, and thousands more were seriously injured. Many law enforcement personnel are forced to change or abandon their careers after an injury. Recent work carried out by the RAND Corporation, a national research institute serving the military and law enforcement, shows that the majority of police injuries fall into one of the four following categories:

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4 common injuries police officers in Illinois incur

  • Vehicle-related injuries
  • Gunshot wounds
  • Back and neck injuries
  • Psychological trauma

Many of these injuries can be deadly, and any of them can be career-ending.

Hazards of operating a police vehicle

Operating a vehicle is often a very dangerous activity for law enforcement officers. Unlike other professional drivers, they do not have the luxury of maintaining safe speeds and driving in a conservative manner. High-speed pursuits and evasive maneuvers can cause serious injury. According to RAND, 37 percent of law enforcement fatalities between 1997 and 2006 were caused by traffic accidents.

Gunshot wounds

A bulletproof vest is no guarantee against a gunshot wound. Many Illinois law enforcement professionals are injured every year by firearms. As high-powered weapons become increasingly prevalent among criminals, the risk of disability or death is always present. In some cases, police are inadvertently injured by their own firearms or those belonging to colleagues.

Dangers to the neck and back

Police work can be very physical, involving pursuit and restraint of violent suspects. In some cases, this can lead to neck and back injuries. Many officers have reported sprains, strains and other debilitating spinal symptoms. In extreme circumstances, contact with a suspect may even lead to severe spinal trauma and paralysis.

Psychological injuries

Law enforcement is not just physically dangerous. It can also be mentally and psychologically taxing. Although officers undergo thorough screening in the training process and are offered counseling after traumatic events, the stress of police work can be too much for some professionals, even for seasoned veterans. Post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological traumas can have a lasting impact on the life of police officers, leading to long-term disability or even suicide in some tragic cases.

Police officers in Illinois have the right to workers’ compensation after a traumatic event on the job. Are you struggling with an injury in your law enforcement career? Get in touch with an attorney today for a free consultation about your case.

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