You Can't Always Get What You Want

Police officers are inundated with technology every day. Why can't we get what we really need?


  • How can we prevent motor vehicle related injuries, yet still respond quickly and effectively to emergency calls for service? How can we reduce pursuit related injuries and deaths, without stopping pursuits altogether, thereby giving fleeing suspects an "Avoid Jail Free" card?
  • How can we reduce "bad shootings" caused by officers' perception of furtive movement, or "mistake of fact" shootings related to tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving situations, without causing officers to hesitate, thereby putting themselves at greater risk?
  • When the inevitable lawsuit occurs, how can we better prepare officers for "courtroom survival?"
  • What is the answer to the "shot between the vest panels" and "shot through the arm hole" tragedies that seem to happen way too frequently?
  • How can we address the two-pronged problem that seems to permeate so much of law enforcement: Old cops forgetting young cops' problems, and young cops ignoring old cops' wisdom?

Not all the answers to these, and other, questions are technology based. A lot of soul searching and re-thinking is in order. In this new century and new year, its become pretty clear that we need to make some changes, while continuing to do the truly outstanding and dedicated job you all have done for so long.

Some parts of this article have been light-hearted and good-natured fun, while other parts of it are deadly serious. That is, of course, how police work is. The real trick is to deal with both perspectives while keeping the primary goal in mind: Reduce the risks to officers while keeping the public and each other as safe as possible.

By the way, my lists aren't meant to cover everything--these are just the first few things that came to mind. I bet you've got a list of your own. E-mail stuff to me (just click on my name at the end of this column), and we'll add to our lists.

Maybe somebody will listen.

Stay safe, and wear your vest! (and Buckle Up!)

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