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Why and for whom do police officers risk their lives?

Public security experts Gabriela Lotta and Rafael Alcadipani of the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) invited 5,746 Brazilian police officers to answer a series of questions, including “whether they had ever put their lives at risk at work” and to what extent they were willing to do so for the public or certain groups of individuals. Of the 2,733 police officers who responded, 42% said they had been at risk of death “many times,” and 28% “several times.” The respondents were more willing to risk their lives for colleagues, children, the elderly, women, and people with formal employment, and less so for minority groups, such as LGBTQ+ people and the homeless. “One explanation for the unwillingness of police officers to give their lives for members of the LGBTQ+ community might be the culture of the police force, which is very masculine and macho,” wrote the researchers, who worked in partnership with Nissin Cohen of the University of Haifa, Israel, and Teddy Lazebnik of University College London, UK. Professional commitment and self-fulfillment were some of the motivations given for endangering their lives for others (The American Review of Public Administration, September 11).