The Informed Crimefighter

Local news is a good way to find what your community is concerned about. Make sure you read the newspaper(s) that cover the community you work in, especially if you don’t live in the immediate area.

So how do you keep up on all that’s happening in our twenty four hour world? Start with the Internet. Sign up for the Officer Down Memorial Page’s line of duty death notifications. You’ll be quickly notified of every law enforcement line of duty death in the United States and Canada, and ODMP won’t spam you or sell your email address. Use the information to look into how each officer died; learn from the incident and share it with your co-workers. Then consider signing up for a variety of online newsletters or better yet, set up a news search on sites like Google or Yahoo News that will deliver articles of interest to your email inbox based on key words you select. (several times a day I receive articles with the words “officer involved shooting” and “police use of force” in my inbox). Social media is also a great way to find news quickly. Twitter is my favorite way to follow news sources and bloggers that I trust for solid information, but there are many other options available.

If you’re not a big online user, then make sure you access newspapers, television and radio regularly. We have a tough job, and we deal with more than our share of real-life “drama” so it’s no wonder cops like to zone out in front of the television after work (usually with an adult beverage) and watch sports or a sitcom and clear their minds. Just make sure you take time each day to step away from “Teen Mom,” “NCIS,” the football game or “The Real Housewives of Wherever” to get a dose of true reality. In the mean time, stay safe!


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About The Author:

Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith is a 29-year veteran of a large suburban Chicago police department. Recently retired as a patrol supervisor, she has held positions in patrol, investigations, narcotics, juvenile, crime prevention and field training. As a sergeant, she supervised her department's K-9 Unit, served as a field training sergeant, recruitment team sergeant, bike patrol coordinator, the Crowd Control Bike Team supervisor, and supervisor of the Community Education/Crime Prevention Unit.

As a patrol sergeant, Betsy served on the Elderly Services Team, the Crisis Intervention Team, and was a supervisory member of the Honor Guard Unit. From 1999 - 2003 Betsy hosted various programs for the Law Enforcement Television Network and served as a content expert.

A graduate of the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety's School of Staff and Command, Betsy writes for numerous law enforcement and government publications including and is a regular columnist for many police websites including Police Link. A content expert and instructor for the Calibre Press "Street Survival" seminar since 2003, Betsy also serves as an on-air commentator and advisor for Police One TV and was a featured character in the Biography Channel’s “Female Forces” reality show. Betsy has been a law enforcement trainer for over 20 years and is a popular keynote speaker at conferences throughout the United States and Canada and beyond.

Betsy is the lead instructor for the Calibre Press “Street Survival for Women” seminar and manages Dave Smith & Associates. Together, Betsy and Dave teach courses through “Winning Mind Seminars,” an Illinois based company. She can be reached through her website at

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