Top of PageSkip to main content
Students in a classroom

NSU-BSO Research

NSU/BSO research initiatives are aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of public safety projects, expanding the body of theoretical and applied knowledge in public safety services, establishing programs to improve professionalism in public safety for both individuals and organizations, expanding quality professional education in public safety, and training for various special needs of the law enforcement community.

  • Firefighter Suicide: Understanding Cultural Challenges for Mental Health Professionals
    Sarah N. Henderson, Vincent B. Van Hasselt, Todd J. LeDuc, Judy Couwels

  • Motivational Interviewing: Improving the Delivery of Psychological Services to Law Enforcement
    Bryan Steinkopf, Kori A. Hakala, and Vincent B. Van Hasselt

  • Suicide by Cop
    Marina Sarno and Vincent B. Van Hasselt

  • Center for Psychological Studies Honored by Broward County Sheriff’s Office for Working with First Responders

  • Firefighter Suicide: The Need For Examining Cultural Change

    Sarah Henderson B.A., Todd J. LeDuc M.S., CFO, CEM, Judy Couwels, L.M.F.T., and Vincent B. Van Hasselt Ph.D.

  • Sleep Quality: A Key Component to Overall Mental and Physical Health Among Firefighters

    Luzimar Vega M.S., Sarah Henderson B.A., Candice Johnson M.S., Todd LeDuc M.S., Vincent Van Hasselt Ph. D., & Ana Fins Ph. D.

  • Protective Factors Against Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Among Firefighters

    L. Vega, M.S., S. Henderson, B.A., C. Johnson, M.S., V. Van Hasselt, Ph.D., A. Fins, Ph.D., T. LeDuc, M.S. Poster presented at the Annual Conference of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation, Long Beach, CA.

  • Behavioral health training for firefighters and police officers.

    Lopez, V. A., Garcia, C. A., Leduc, T. J., & Van Hasselt, V. B. (2014, August). Behavioral health training for firefighters and police officers. In V. B. Van Hasselt (Chairperson), Risk and resilience in law enforcement and fire rescue personnel. Symposium presented at the American Psychological Association, Washington, D.C.

  • Dealing with the mentally ill: Efficacy of the crisis intervention team (CIT) in law enforcement.

    Steinkopf, B. L., Browning, S. L., Wilson, J., Baker, M. T., Van Hasselt, V. B., & Taylor, L. (2014, August). Dealing with the mentally ill: Efficacy of the crisis intervention team (CIT) in law enforcement. Poster presented at the American Psychological Association Conference, Washington, D.C.

  • Assessment of stress and resilience in police dispatchers

    Steinkopf, B. L., Reddin, R. A., Baker, M. T., Van Hasselt, V. B., Larned, J., & Couwels, J. (2014, August). Assessment of stress and resilience in police dispatchers. In V. B. Van Hasselt (Chairperson), Risk and resilience in law enforcement and fire rescue personnel. Symposium presented at the American Psychological Association, Washington, D.C.

  • A book chapter on Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) will soon be published in “Behind the Badge: A Psychological Treatment Handbook for Law Enforcement Officers,” an edited psychology book by Routledge Publishers. The chapter is a collaboration between Nova Southeastern University professor Vincent B. Van Hasselt, Ph.D., Judy Couwels, M.A., LMFT, Employee Assistance Program Manager at Broward Sheriff's Office, Brandi Booth, Ph.D., NSU graduate working at the City of Houston Texas Police Dept. as a Police Psychologist and Maj. Monty Baker, Ph.D. (USAF).

    The chapter reviews the research on the state of the science on CISD. It provides a critical analysis of the positive and negative utility and efficacy of CISD and the CISD process, methodological concerns and key issues discussed in the academic literature.  The chapter also documents the role of CISD in law enforcement resiliency, the factors associated with stress-resiliency and presents case examples.

  • BSO and NSU Present at International Violence Conference: Commander James Harn of the Broward Sheriff's Office Child Protective Investigations Section (CPIS) and Kori Hakala, a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at Nova Southeastern University';s Center for Psychological Studies (CPS) co-presented preliminary findings on the significantly high rate of retention of Broward County CPIS Investigators. The research team also included CPS Professors Christian DeLucia and Vincent Van Hasselt. This group is collaborating to further understand and elucidate the factors that promote investigator retention in a service area historically characterized by high burn out and low retention. It is anticipated that this work will help to determine strategies that have heuristic value in enhancing evaluation and training efforts for child protective investigators both locally and nationwide.

    Harn, J.P., Hakala, K.A., DeLucia, C., & Van Hasselt, V.B. (2012, July). Broward Sheriff's Office - Child Protective Investigations Section: Preliminary findings on employee retention. Paper presented at the International Family Violence and Child Victimization Research Conference, Portsmouth, NH.
  • We are pleased to announce that Sam Browning, M.S., a fourth year NSU graduate student has been chosen to present his research findings at a symposium dedicated to Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) in Law Enforcement at the American Psychological Association's 120th Annual Convention, August 2-5, 2012, in Orlando, FL. Additionally, Ryan Reddin, M.S., also a fourth year graduate student, has been selected to present a poster detailing his research on Police Dispatcher Stress and Resilience at the 2012 American Psychology Association Annual Convention.
  • A Case Study of the Broward Sheriff's Office and Nova Southeastern University Public Safety Partnership: The adversarial relationship between “town and gown” that existed during the latter part of the 19th and earlier 20th centuries has subsided. Metropolitan universities are now playing a role that fosters community development, embracing partnerships and engaging in collaborative initiatives.  The presentation revisited the literature on collaborative governance and discussion was held on two levels of analysis in university-community partnerships: inter-organizational dynamics and behavior; and management.
    • Abstract
    • The authors are currently working on a manuscript.
  • Religious Participation Among Prison and Jail Inmates: Marguerite Bryan, Ph.D., the researcher/educator of the NSU-BSO Partnership and faculty member of the Criminal Justice Institute of Nova Southeastern University, has recently been contracted by the Mellen Publishing Company to write a book on religious participation among prison and jail inmates.
  • Participation at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences 2010 Annual Meeting: Marguerite Bryan, Ph.D., chaired a panel on Treatment Strategies Implemented In County Jails and presented a paper on "Religious Participation Among Inmates," at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences 2010 Annual Meeting held February 23-27, 2010 in San Diego, California.
  • Correctional Officer Stress: Research involving correctional officer stress has increased over the past several decades due to the overall concern of the consequences of stress within the field.  When comparing the body of research for police officers versus correctional officers, it is clear that there is abundance of research for the former than the latter.
  • Criminal Justice and Behavior: A former Nova Southeastern University, Center for Psychological Studies (CPS) student, now an Air Force Major, who recently completed his second Iraqi deployment, had his dissertation project accepted for publication in “Criminal Justice and Behavior”. The dissertation was written by Major Monty Baker and co-authors Vincent B. Van Hasselt and Alfred H. Sellers. Article published in Criminal Justice and Behavior, vol. 35, no. 6, June 2008, pp. 741-754. An Abstract is provided below.
  • The Law Enforcement Officer Stress Survey (LEOSS) : This study establishes the reliability and validity of the Law Enforcement Officer Stress Survey (LEOSS), a short early-warning stress-screening measure for law enforcement officers. The initial phase of LEOSS development employed the behavioral-analytic model to construct a 25-item instrument specifically geared toward evaluation of stress in this population. The purpose of the present study was to examine psychometric properties of the LEOSS. Results indicate this instrument has good levels of internal consistency, test re-test reliability, and validity. Potential applications of the LEOSS in clinical and research contexts are discussed. The next phase of research on the LEOSS is discussed, and suggestions for directions that future research in this area might take are offered.
  • Getting into the Minds of Hostage-Takers (GHosT-RAP) Research Project:(GHosT-RAP) focuses on understanding the meaning behind behavior associated with worldwide kidnappings through the application of vetted methodologies (Perpetrator-Motive Research Design or PMRD) via the interviewing of incarcerated hostage-takers globally. GHosT-RAP, is a joint undertaking by the Training Division's Behavioral Science Unit and Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL, to analyze the motivations of captive-takers. Like past studies of serial killers, rapists, and school shooters done by the Bureau, GHosT-RAP will provide FBI investigators and analysts, along with our law enforcement partners in the U.S. and overseas, with a viable tool to help investigate, solve, and even prevent hostage situations. It will also play an important role in supporting the Bureau's counterterrorism, intelligence, and violent crime missions.

    Collaborative governance in university-community partnerships: A case study of the Broward Sheriff's Office and Nova Southeastern University public safety partnership Broward Sheriff's Office's John Carroll and Leslie Taylor, along with NSU Criminal Justice Institute's Tammy Kushner and Marguerite presented at the American Society for Public Administration 2011 Conference on March 11 – 15, 2011.
  • Armed Encounters Project :Deputy Zack Scott (BSO – ICJS) Dr. Marguerite Bryan (CJI-NSU), Tammy Kushner (CJI- NSU) and Leslie Taylor (BSO - Staff Services)

    In an effort to ensure that the tactical training that Broward Sheriff's Office (BSO) provides is addressing the most current issues, the agency performs an annual review of the reports of officers killed in the line of duty. The Institute of Criminal Justice Studies (ICJS) at BSO reviews the common factors in each case with both the officers and the suspects and this information is presented to the agency during phase 3 of in – service training. This data allows the agency to provide training that is current and relevant to threats that face law enforcement. While this information is extremely valuable and pertinent, the agency is unable to capture a lot of information that could certainly provide an even more detailed picture of how law enforcement officers respond to armed threats. Currently, no all encompassing report exist detailing information of armed encounters not resulting in an officer fatality. Information on encounters when officers survive, hit suspects, or fires their weapons without hitting suspects is non-existent.

    This study proposes to undertake a comprehensive analysis of armed encounters of law enforcement officers in the state of Florida (2000-2008) to incorporate data for both officer fatality and officer survival when a weapon is discharged. The study will obtain data that includes several variables pertaining to officer safety - distance from suspect, type of firearms used, both suspect and officer, number of shots fired, both suspect and officer, training backgrounds, suspect and officer, criminal history, hit percentages, age, physical characteristics and general circumstances surrounding armed encounter – information that is missing in the current studies on officer armed encounters. The study will allow for a more accurate assessment of the most dangerous encounters of law enforcement officers in Florida. The study will also provide current training information on armed encounters and will be beneficial not only to BSO but other law enforcement agencies in the state and across the nation that will be able to determine whether their training addresses crucial information. This study is currently in the data collection and data entry phase.
  • Participation at the Southern Criminal Justice Association (SCJA) Conference:Dr. Marguerite Bryan, and Dr. Tammy Kushner, both of Nova Southeastern University's Criminal Justice Institute, along with Kelly Armstrong, a NSU Center for Psychological Studies Doctoral candidate collaborated with leading researcher, Dr. Leslie Taylor, and training officer, Zachary Scott, of the Broward Sheriff's Office to present Armed Encounters between Police and Citizens in Broward County: Implications for Police and Practice at the SCJA Conference in 2010.
  • Needs Assessment of the Mentally Ill Involved in the Broward County Criminal Justice System: Nova Southeastern University (NSU) researchers, Drs. Lenore Walker, James Pann, David Shapiro, Vincent Van Hasselt, and Ryan Montes, were awarded a NSU Quality of Life grant to assess the needs of the mentally ill involved in the criminal justice system in Broward County. The grant is funded by the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO). 
  • Collaborative governance in university-community partnerships: A case study of the Broward Sheriff’s Office and Nova Southeastern University public safety partnership: Broward Sheriff's Office's John Carroll and Leslie Taylor, along with NSU Criminal Justice Institute's Tammy Kushner and Marguerite presented at the American Society for Public Administration 2011 Conference on March 11 – 15, 2011.
  • Firefighter Suicide: the Need to Examine Cultural Change
Return to top of page