As I write this note, 163 officers have been killed in the line of duty. Tragically, many of these deaths were absolutely preventable. Of the officers killed in 2010, the most notable increase was in traffic incidents with a 43% increase. The deadly irony of this is that the increase in traffic related deaths comes at a time when traffic fatalities for the general public are trending toward new lows. Think about that for a moment and ponder the question: Why are so many officers dying every year in traffic accidents when the general public is driving more safely?
Every one of these deaths was a terrible tragedy that will forever change the lives of their families and those who worked with them. If you’ve ever lost someone, you know the toll that it takes on an entire organization. Imagine for a moment if the officer(s) you lost were still alive today and showing up for work, going home at the end of shift and loving life.
I’m absolutely convinced that we can cut the number of annual officer deaths to a historical low of less than 100 officers if we just do our job responsibly. The biggest change that each and every officer can make is to realize that speed is deadly and, just as importantly, that seat belts really do save lives. This isn’t as dramatic or interesting as a new shooting technique designed to take out a bad guy, but the reality is that for the past 10 years, more cops have died in traffic related incidents than have been killed by gunfire. Consider this, which of the two—traffic or gunfire—do you have the most direct control over?
The time for change is now. Do your part. The life you save may very well be your own!
Check out the Law Officer's Below 100 initiative by clicking here.