FEATURED IN BELOW 100
It’s the holidays. Kids are home, presents are under the tree and houses are adorned with colorful lights. You might never know that this is proving to be one of the deadliest Decembers in the past decade. Fourteen officers have already died and we’re only three weeks into the month. The deaths have been attributable to a variety of causes: gunfire (9), accidents (three), a heart attack and a drowning. I’m very concerned by the significant spike we’re seeing in gunfire deaths.
There seems to be a greater willingness to aggressively engage with law enforcement, sometimes initiating the attack without any offensive action from the officers. What’s the takeaway? To the extent possible, constantly review your surroundings and position yourself where you have the advantage. Use physical obstructions and lighting as tools to give you an edge. And remember that it really can happen to you.
I challenge each of you to review each line-of-duty death and learn from it. What could have been done differently? What were the warning signs? Could the incident have been predicted and therefore prevented? Take a look back through the losses of this past year by going to ODMP.org. The summaries are sobering and provide insights to the last moments of some of America’s finest. There are lessons to be learned and steps that can be taken to drive down LODDs. We must honor those we’ve lost by learning from their actions.
As you get ready for your next shift, take a moment to check your gear. How long has it been since you cleaned your firearm? Strip the ammo out of your magazine, clean out the dust and make sure everything works. When you put everything together and get ready for work, take a hard look in the mirror. Would someone looking at you get the impression that you are ready to do battle or would they assume that you’re just looking for your next meal break? Get things squared away and get yourself in the right mindset. Cops carry guns for a reason – don’t ever forget that! And body armor works, but only if you wear it! Finally, remember the tenets of Below 100:
1. Wear your belt.
2. Wear your vest.
3. Watch your speed.
4. WIN – What’s Important Now?
5. Remember: Complacency Kills.
Let’s do everything possible to bring this year to a close with as few losses as possible. And start planning right now for the steps that you will take to make 2012 safer for yourself and those you work with.