Research on Police Assaults Awarded

Jess Kraus Award Winner Acknowledged

Cassandra Crifasi, PhD, MPH receives Kraus Award from Injury Epidemiology Editor Guohua Li, MD, DrPH

Assistant Professor and Researcher Cassandra Crifasi, PhD, MPH of Johns Hopkins School of Public Health accepted this year’s Jess Kraus Award on behalf of her colleagues Keisha Pollack, PhD, MPH and Daniel Webster, ScD, MPH. The award was presented May 25, 2017, at the 5th annual Columbia University Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention Symposium, Translating Injury Research into Effective Prevention. The award is given annually to acknowledge the best paper published in the journal Injury Epidemiology. Their paper, “Assaults against US. law enforcement officers in the line-of duty,” was selected by the journal’s editorial board based on its novelty, simplicity, clarity and potential impact on population health.

“Much of the existing literature on assaults against law enforcement officers (LEOs) has focused on fatal assaults. But we know that for each fatality, there are many more assaults that result in injury but not death,” Dr. Crifasi explained. “The goal of this study was to examine differences in characteristics between fatal and nonfatal assaults to determine which characteristics increased the odds that an assault would be fatal.”

Because evidence in previous literature suggests traffic stops are dangerous for LEOs, Dr. Crifasi and her colleagues expected to see an increased likelihood in assaults resulting in fatalities when LEOs were conducting traffic stops. They also expected to see an increased likelihood for assaults in situations where LEOs were responding to domestic disturbances, because they are regularly cited by law enforcement as dangerous situations. Those calls did not increase the odds of a fatality. They were surprised to find higher odds for LEOs becoming victims of homicide when they were ambushed or experienced an unprovoked attack. Those were times when they were caught off guard or had limited opportunity to defend themselves. She presented her findings upon receiving the award.

Dr. Crifasi says receiving the award means a great deal to her. “It is a really big honor,” she said. “This is work that I have been doing for a few years so just getting the paper published was exciting and then getting the award with my co-authors took it to another level. I feel really proud of the work we’re doing. It is just a really high honor.”

Professor Jess F. Kraus, PhD, MPH, is a pioneer in injury research. He has been appointed and elected to many professional societies, organizations and groups. Has served as a member of the Motor Vehicle Safety Research Advisory Committee of the US Department of Transportation and the World Health Organization Expert Advisory Panel on Accident Prevention. In addition he has conducted studies on motorcycle crashes, pedestrian injuries, work-related trauma and brain and spinal cord injuries. He nearly 200 publications. He also teaches three graduate courses on injury epidemiology and supervises both PhD and Masters students at UCLA.

Her presentation and others from the symposium can be reviewed by going to:


Guohua Li, MD, DrPH
M. Finster Professor of Epidemiology and Anesthesiology
Director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia University
722 West 168th Street, Rm 524
New York NY USA 10032