Whenever an officer is killed or hurt, especially in our own geographical area, we tend to immediately become more aware, more alert, more tactically sound. For a few days or a week or so we are the model for officer safety, and then we often start to relax, we allow complacency to seep in. You can prevent this in so many simple ways. Use the Internet to read about officer-involved shootings around the country and then imagine yourself in a similar situation. Visualize how you would respond, how you would win! Watch online training segments and dashcam videos to supplement in-service training. Read an article or a tip each day and share them with your co-workers or your team. Discussing an incident or a particular skill helps your mind reinforce learning points. Don’t think about “if this happens,” instead prepare yourself for “when this happens, I’m going to do this.” Always have a plan. And as trite as it may sound, recognize that someone may try and kill you on the next traffic stop, during the next domestic dispute, or while you transport the next prisoner. Your mindset truly is you most powerful weapon.
Sixty-five officers in eight months is still far too many law enforcement lives lost. Honoring our fallen is so much more than lamenting a loss and wearing a black band on your badge. The more you work on your own safety and survival, the more you honor their sacrifice. Never, ever let them die in vain. Stay safe!
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 www.femaleforces.com.