Magazine article Law & Order

Danger Doesn't Always Carry a Gun!

Magazine article Law & Order

Danger Doesn't Always Carry a Gun!

Article excerpt

One of the disturbing trends in law enforcement over the last few years is the failure to control the accidental deaths of officers. Not firearms accidents, but vehicle accidents. According to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports, 56% of officers killed from 1994 through 2003 were killed by accidental automobile accidents, and 17% were struck by vehicles.

As officers, we have always accepted the need to leam from the tragedies that occur when our brothers and sisters die at the hands of an assailant. The car wreck, the helicopter crash, the accidental discharge, and the variety of other ways we the often are accepted as a matter of fate. The truth is every death is a true sacrifice by one of us, and deserves to be reviewed at every level.

No profession faces more types of risk than law enforcement. We drive countless miles often at speeds greater than the flow of traffic, and we respond to a crisis regardless of lighting, weather, time of day, or road conditions. In light of this reality, are there real steps we can take to lower the loss of life due to accidents? YES.

First, it is important to realize that humans are not as good at multi-tasking as we think. We need to FOCUS, and the greater the stress on us, the greater the need to limit the number of things we need to focus on.

All too often, we send law enforcement officers to high risk calls, and as they approach the threat area we send critical information over email systems instead of broadcasting them over the air. Dispatchers should also switch to verbal information and updates on high risk calls so speeding officers are not looking inside their vehicle when they need to be looking at the road.

Otherwise, we are asking officers to drive, watch out for threats, and look inside their vehicles for updates. In terms of motor performance, we are asking you to watch the pitcher getting ready for the pitch, but also try to see where the catcher's glove is. …

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