The other issue hovering over our heads is the economy. While politicians play the blame game, tax revenues stay depressed which means law enforcement budgets stay cut. Cut budgets mean fewer training hours, older equipment and too often, shortages in manpower. All of these things serve to increase the risk we face each day as we perform our duties.
“Thanks” to that, we all need to recognize that our personal responsibility hasn’t changed. YOU are responsible to make sure you maintain your equipment properly. It may be older than you’d like but not caring for it only shortens its serviceable life span, and since YOUR life depends on ITS life, then you NEED to make sure you’re taking care of it. Fewer training hours mean less time focused on maintaining or increasing your job knowledge and skills. It behooves you to make time, during your shift or on your down time, to stay abreast of legal changes, agency policy updates, etc. Use your own time and money if you must to get to the range at least quarterly. Talk with your partner or your squad about various scenarios and “what ifs.” If you’re a squad leader, make sure you take time in roll call to mentor your squad in topics particular to your area / beat. Establish “informal” policy if need be about responding to high risk calls with reduced manpower. Often, we can’t wait for backup. Do you train in response tactics as a single officer? Does your gear reflect the potentially higher risk? Is your communications life line at least efficient?
It’s a new year and we need to not only survive, but be victorious all the way through to the next year. Don’t get distracted by the political yuck that is constantly going on. Don’t get sucked into the sensationalism the main stream media sells. Stay informed about the topics necessary to maintain your survival during each shift. Maintain yourself and your gear. Go home at the end of every shift. In the words of the infamous JD “Buck” Savage, “Not today!” Don’t become a statistic or victim today. Commit to NOT dying TODAY… and do it EVERY day.