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Law Enforcement Officer-Involved Fatal Incidents: A Phenomenological Study of How Law Enforcement Officers and Their Spouses Perceive and Describe the Experience of an Officer-Involved Fatal Incident
AuthorMcGuffin, Richard J.
Counseling and Educational Psychology
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The purpose of this qualitative research study is to seek the perceptions and descriptions of law enforcement officers and their spouses who have experienced an officer-involved fatal incident. A review of the literature revealed that most inquiries into the nature of police stress and trauma are quantitative in nature. This study contributed to the existing body of research through inclusion of the voices of those who have experienced, and have been impacted by an officer-involved fatal incident. This study was interpreted through the theoretical lenses of transcendental phenomenology, existential theory, and family systems theory. Data collection relied predominantly on semi-structured, recorded interviews along with the identification of artifacts retained by participants. The participants included six law enforcement officers and their spouses. Data analysis utilized a transcendental phenomenological model developed by van Kaam's (1959/1966) and modified by Moustakas (1994). The study identified two themes pertaining to the lived emotional experience of an officer-involved fatal incident (OIFI), four themes pertaining to coping strategies, and four themes for meaning making.