Archive for the ‘Officer safety’ Category

Pros and cons of firearms simulators

January 21, 2020

A news reporter reviews his experience using a local agency’s firearms simulator in this article. He learned that use-of-force situations can be unpredictable and fast-changing, but he also felt that the simulation operator frequently chose worst-case branching options. The result can be “negative training” — officers try deescalation but end up getting shot, learning that “It doesn’t matter what I do.” Instead, according to one expert, “The scenario should be driven by the choices of the officer and not the operator,” so that good judgment is reinforced.

Pursuits in NJ

January 3, 2020

This article provides an in-depth look at police pursuits in New Jersey, based on 10 years of data, 66,000 arrest records, and 5,000 pages of chase reports. Over 14,000 pursuits resulted in almost 7,000 crashes, 2,568 injuries, and 63 deaths. The number of pursuits increased between 2014 and 2017 despite a state-wide policy that discourages chases and oversight by the state’s attorney general. Only one-third of the arrests associated with pursuits were for violent offenses; the most common charge was “assault on police officers, but most of those charges were dismissed later in court.”

Sleep deprivation high among police

November 14, 2019

According to a recent study summarized in this article, about 50% of protective service workers — including police — reported short sleep duration (less than 7 hours daily), higher than any other occupational category. The next highest group was health care support workers. The article notes that “Insufficient sleep is associated with conditions like obesity, depression, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.”

Emergency medical training for police

November 11, 2019

This article describes an advanced 4-day training program for Seattle police officers already certified as EMTs. The training is “tailored for law enforcement officers who must first secure a violent scene before rendering aid, even amid the panic following an event like a mass shooting.” Nationally there is growing awareness that police need more than basic first aid and CPR training in order to save lives in the immediate aftermath of shootings — including the public and also their own life and those of other officers.

Officer fatalities down at mid-year

August 1, 2019

Line-of-duty deaths for January through June 2019 were down 35% compared to the first half of 2018 and were the 3rd lowest in 40 years, as reported here by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. There were 60 officer fatalities as of June 30, including 27 firearms-related and 21 traffic-related. More traffic-related deaths occurred outside the vehicle than within. The average age of deceased officers was 42, average length of service was 14 years, and 55 of 60 were male.

Drop in police shootings in Chicago

July 10, 2019

Shootings by police in Chicago dropped 70% from 2009 to 2018, from 124 per year to 37, including both “hit” and “no-hit” shootings, according to this public radio report. During the same period, incidents of police being shot at, and cases of aggravated battery committed against officers, remained about the same. Both external pressure and improved training are cited as causes for the steady decline in police shootings over the decade.

When Tasers fail

May 13, 2019

This article and accompanying public radio podcast review the evolution of the Taser over the last 20 years. Data from several large departments indicate device success rates in the 55%-80% range, below the manufacturer’s claims. Effectiveness also seemed to decline after 2009 when the electrical charge was reduced. The latest model, the Taser 7, has a revised launch angle for better results at close range, since about 75% of deployments occur within 7 feet of the subject.

OIS protocol standardized in Charleston

May 3, 2019

South Carolina is one of many states that leaves decisions related to investigating and prosecuting officer-involved shootings to local authorities. Charleston-area agencies have established a standard policy and practice in coordination with their prosecutor, as reported here. The new protocol sets two 60-day deadlines, one to complete an independent investigation and one for prosecutorial review, and emphasizes the need for communication and transparency. Officials expect other regions of the state will look at the protocol for guidance.

Details from Florence

April 22, 2019

This article provides a detailed account of the tragic shootout in Florence, South Carolina last October in which an officer and a deputy were killed and 5 others were wounded. They were ambushed by a 74-year-old Vietnam veteran who says he went into “Saigon-mode.” Deputies went to the house to interview his son on a sexual assault allegation and to serve a search warrant. A MRAP was needed to rescue downed officers after which the shooter surrendered.

Analysis of officer-involved shootings in Phoenix

April 21, 2019

This report by the National Police Foundation provides analysis of officer-involved shootings in Phoenix, which doubled in 2018 over the average for the past 9 years. Information was gathered from the community and from police records, and comparisons were made over time and with other big cities and Arizona cities. One factor in Phoenix was that assaults on officers increased, and more OIS incidents involved subjects armed with weapons, including guns. Another was that both police and community members pointed to lack of trust, leading to several recommendations aimed at transparency, accountability, and relationship building.