Aggressive Policing as a Public Health Issue

GettyImages 1233172744 resized — Emotional Well-being, Mental Health, Psychiatrists, Psychologists

The healthcare field has paid improved interest to the adverse wellness impacts of systemic racism, discrimination, poverty, and other societal forces that are identified to lead to poorer wellness. This involves awareness of the want to assess and address racial and other wellness disparities and focus on principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We have moved beyond the framing of these problems as moral imperatives to understanding how they are associated to person and public wellness.

Discussion of the wellness harms of aggressive policing has also improved more than the final 2 years, spurred by the frequent and nicely-publicized deaths of Black, Indigenous, and men and women of colour (BIPOC). What has been viewed as a political situation is now understood as a public wellness/wellness inequity concern. Two articles that have helped adjust the way the healthcare neighborhood views these problems have been published in 2021:  

Both of these pieces assistance illustrate the ongoing shift in how police violence and aggressive policing have precise and disproportionate impacts on communities of colour.

Continue Reading

The initially post tends to make many crucial points in its assertion that policing issues should really be viewed as wellness problems. It starts with this statement:

“Marginalized communities have a long history of naming the systemic racism and harms of police violence to health and well-being and recognizing their roots in the oppression of Black and Indigenous communities.”

The post cites information indicating that BIPOC are far more probably to be killed by police than White Americans, noting that death at the hands of a police officer is the sixth major lead to of death for young Black guys. Similarly, Black and Indigenous ladies are more probably to be killed by a police officer than their White counterparts.

The second post also appears at precise information associated to the disparate influence of what is describes as the “overexposure” to aggressive policing techniques amongst Black communities, serving to improve currently current health disparities in such communities. The post authors noted:

“Indeed, aggressive policing strategies employed by law enforcement agencies across the country have been hypothesized to degrade health and well-being, even among people who themselves have not experienced contact with police. Perhaps even more important, aggressive policing is thought to contribute to significant population health inequities, as these practices are concentrated on — and thus exacerbate — the health challenges faced by racialized populations.”

The authors of the post cited information from an organization known as Campaign Zero.3 This group’s site involves information that also aids demonstrated the adverse influence of aggressive policing, or what they describe as “broken windows” policing. This kind of policing has led to the overpolicing of communities of colour with resulting excessive force, major to unnecessary deaths.

“Meanwhile, the vast majority of arrests are for low-level, nonviolent activities in encounters that often escalate to deadly force. For example, in 2014, police killed at least 287 people who were involved in minor offenses and harmless activities like sleeping in parks, possessing drugs, looking “suspicious” or getting a mental wellness crisis. These activities are typically symptoms of underlying problems of drug addiction, homelessness, and mental illness, which should really be treated by wellness care pros and social workers rather than the police.”

These 3 examples of the evolving understanding of how to view police aggressiveness highlight the want for future study and information collection. They also highlight the want for PAs, nurse practitioners, and other healthcare providers to assess the wellness influence of higher-influence policing on their patients and to advocate for modifications to a policing method that outcomes in furthering current wellness disparities.


1. Fleming PJ, Lopez WD, Spolum M, Anderson RE, Reyes AG, Schulz AJ. Policing is a public health issue: the important role of health educators. Health Educ Behav. 2021:10901981211001010. doi:10.1177/10901981211001010

2. Esposito M, Larimore S, Lee H. Aggressive policing, health, and health equity. Health Policy Brief. Health Affairs. April 30, 2021. doi:10.1377/hpb20210412.997570.

3. Campaign Zero.

This post initially appeared on Clinical Advisor

Originally published in