You can’t be involved in the Below 100 Campaign and not think about numbers.
The trainers that are out there right now pushing this program have one thing in common and that is that they believe that we will get our annual line of duty deaths to below 100 in a year. That belief has to be there for their work to happen and while we will not get there in 2011, what can be done now to keep the end of year total to as low as possible and launch us into 2012 where I sincerely believe that we will do this?
Gordon Graham is a huge advocate of the Below 100 Campaign and one thing that he says that has always stuck with me is that “if it is predictable, it’s preventable.”
So what about the last part of 2011? There are 73 days left in 2011 as I write this and a quick look at our past reveals what we may be up against if we are not vigilant.
In the last 3 years, we have averaged 30 line of duty deaths with 73 days to go in that respective year. That would put the 2011 numbers on December 31, 2011 at 165. That cannot happen and would be the highest total we have seen since 2006.
So what are we to do? The first thing to do is for us to not give in. We cannot give in to “the way it always is.” Well, we’ve lost on average over 160 officers a year for the last decade so 165 isn’t too bad? That attitude would be a grave error and one we cannot afford to have. Do you or those around you have this attitude? I don’t expect others to come out and just say this but we know someone’s heart by their actions. How is training in your agency? Are tactics discussed in squad meeting, after calls and more importantly before the call? Do we see safety violations by the officers around us and discuss it with them or do we let it go?
We all have a part to play and with 73 days to go, it is time that we all do more.
We should look at how these deaths are happening. In the last two years, we have had more gunfire deaths in the last 73 days than anything else and following close behind are vehicle related deaths. We should note that is against the yearly total. Overall, in a year, roadway related incidents have led line of duty deaths for 13 years and currently lead in 2011 so what does this tell us?
Do we encounter more violence as we enter the Holiday season? Could we respond to more family disturbances or suicide calls? Many experts say that is correct and while 3 years of data isn’t scientific, it tells me enough to tell you to stay vigilant and be prepared for anything. In baseball you can do good 3 out of 10 times and go to the hall of fame. As a lawyer you can mess up a lot and simply get reprimanded…if that. But in this business, the law enforcement profession, we have to be perfect. We must be 10 out of 10 and when that is what we expect and do, we will be closer to Below 100 than we are today.
We still have time. We have 73 days left in 2011. Hundreds of thousands in our profession and their families are counting on it.
It doesn’t have to be 165 ...