What can street cops do to fix this? We can start by letting our voices be heard in the areas of media and unions. Get the word out that our lifeline, our training, has been severed. Sit down with community leaders and police unions and get them riled up. No one can convince me that cities and towns aren’t throwing money away on things they shouldn’t. One only needs look at things like chauffer driven limos for politicians, gala events for celebrities, escorts for those who don’t need them and shouldn’t have them. The list is endless. That kind of wasted money could and should be spent on our cops and their training and equipment.
Just as important is what we can do to make ourselves safer. Traffic accident deaths are one area we can take responsibility for. Careless and over-aggressive driving is something we can fix. The notion that lights and sirens magically create an opening for us through traffic must be disabused. Most people are not aware a cop is behind them or about to cross their path. Smart phones, ear buds and powerful in-car stereos have all but eliminated the chance anyone will see or hear an emergency vehicle. We must be cognizant of that fact and drive as if our emergency equipment isn’t on.
In the area of firearms, even if our department has reduced the number of quals we can still practice by using simulators and/or dry firing. Each time you have your weapon in your hand it breeds familiarity with that tool so that it becomes an extension of your hand. You should also be constantly working on something that few of us practice: weapon retention. In 2010, of the 56 cops killed by firearms, 7 were murdered with their own weapons.
One other area of personal responsibility we can work on is fitness. The 2011 stats for officer fatalities indicate that physical-related incidents increased by 93%, up from 14 fatalities in 2010. The big killer was heart attacks which took 12 officers’ lives. If we are going to get serious about preparing ourselves for the street each day, that prep has to include some type of fitness regime. A Warrior should not enter the arena without having every tool and advantage at their disposal. Being fit is the easiest yet most essential ingredient to ensure we will win.
The new year has begun and just one month into it we already have 4 officers killed by gunfire. We can change things and make sure that 2012 has a much brighter ending than we saw in 2011. Some of responsibility rests on each of our shoulders. Get inspired, get tough, get mad. Do whatever it takes to win and go home to your loved ones each day. Let’s make 2012 a safe year for Warriors.
Stay safe, Brothers and Sisters!
- NLEOMF Officer Fatality Data
- LivSafe--Stay Aware, Stay Safe!
- Chicago Warriors Midnight Battles in the Windy City by John Wills
- Gripped By Fear by John Wills
About The Author:
John M. Wills spent 33 years in law enforcement as a Chicago Police Officer and FBI Special Agent (Ret). He is a Freelance Writer and Speaker whose third book, TARGETED, is now available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Contact John through his website: www.johnmwills.com.