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Who Shot Ya? How Emergency Departments Can Collect Reliable Police Shooting Data

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An Erratum to this article was published on 12 May 2016


This paper examines an alternative solution for collecting reliable police shooting data. One alternative is the collection of police shooting data from hospital trauma units, specifically hospital-based violence intervention programs. These programs are situated in Level I trauma units in many major cities in USA. While the intent of these programs is to reduce the risk factors associated with trauma recidivism among victims of violent injury, they also collect reliable data on the number of individuals treated for gunshot wounds. While most trauma units do a great job collecting data on mode of injury, many do not collect data on the circumstances surrounding the injury, particularly police-involved shootings. Research protocol on firearm-related injury conducted in emergency departments typically does not allow researchers to interview victims of violent injury who are under arrest. Most victims of nonfatal police-involved shootings are under arrest at the time they are treated by the ED for their injury. Research protocol on victims of violent injury often excludes individuals under arrest; they fall under the exclusion criteria when recruiting potential participants for research on violence. Researchers working in hospital emergency departments are prohibited from recruited individuals under arrests. The trauma staff, particularly ED physicians and nurses, are in a strategic position to collect this kind of data. Thus, this paper examines how trauma units can serve as an alternative in the reliable collection of police shooting data.

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Correspondence to Joseph B. Richardson Jr.

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Richardson, J.B., St. Vil, C. & Cooper, C. Who Shot Ya? How Emergency Departments Can Collect Reliable Police Shooting Data. J Urban Health 93 (Suppl 1), 8–31 (2016).

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