Archive for the ‘Officer safety’ Category

The true cost of policing

January 25, 2022

New Jersey’s 24,000 police officers earned an average of $123,000 in the pre-pandemic year 2019, according to an exhaustive analysis of payroll records reported here. A big reason was overtime and approved details, such as standing by (usually sitting by) roadway construction and maintenance projects. One police chief added $105,000 to his wages by working the equivalent of 108 extra traffic detail days. One officer’s records indicated he had worked 19 or more hours within a 24-hour period 17 times during the year. Besides the high dollar cost of this situation, experts point out that performance tends to seriously degrade after about 12 hours on duty. Also, some officers “believe they can get no sleep and it’s fine and that it makes them Superman … That’s their own personal belief, but it is not accurate.”

Officer fatalities in 2021

January 24, 2022

According to the NLEOMF’s preliminary end-of-year report, 68 officers died in the line-of-duty from felonious assaults in 2021, including 62 by gunfire. Another 64 died accidentally, mainly from traffic-related crashes, which accounted for 58 fatalities. The deaths by gunfire and by traffic crashes both represented 38% increases over 2020. An additional 326 officers suffered line-of-duty deaths from illnesses, 301 of which were due to Covid-19. The number of Covid-related deaths increased 65% over 2020.

PBS documentary “Shots Fired”

November 29, 2021

The new PBS Frontline documentary “Shots Fired,” available here, examines police shootings in Utah, where the numbers have increased in recent years. Persons of color have been over-represented among those shot, and mental health crisis has been a factor in many of the incidents. Almost all the cases have been ruled justified, based on officers’ objectively reasonable perceptions of the violent threats they were facing. The film raises questions about the state’s 16-week police academy training program, especially the prevalence of no-win scenarios in which deadly force is inevitable, which may heighten new officers’ fears for their own safety.

Promising strategies for police wellness

October 4, 2021

PERF and the COPS Office have released a report titled Promising Strategies for Strengthening Police Department Wellness Programs, available here. Based on a technical assistance project with 3 medium-sized agencies, the report “provides a roadmap to creating a wellness program, … encouraging participation in the program, and normalizing the routine use of mental wellness services in policing.” The report offers 82 recommendations applicable to physical, mental, emotional, financial, and spiritual wellness, along with links for numerous resources.

Police vaccinations lag behind public

September 29, 2021

In many jurisdictions, the proportion of police vaccinated against COVID-19 is lagging behind the rate for the general public. The shortfall among police is 20% in NY, 21% in LA, and 28% in San Diego, according to this article. Police in Denver have sued to block the city’s vaccination requirement, nearly 200 San Francisco police employees are seeking religious exemptions, and dozens of Massachusetts State Police troopers have resigned rather than get mandated vaccinations. Meanwhile, at mid-year for 2021, more U.S. officers had died from COVID than from firearms-related and traffic-related causes combined, as reported here

More on Covid & cops

September 7, 2021

Since the start of 2020, 61% of police line of duty deaths have been the result of Covid-19, as reported here. The next biggest category, gunfire, accounts for less than 14%. More and more jurisdictions and police departments are mandating vaccinations for employees, as well as wearing of masks. The Officer Down Memorial Page displays the banner “Getting vaccinated is just as important as wearing your vest and your seatbelt.One chief put it this way — “Knowing that COVID-19 killed more cops last year than all other causes combined, to include traffic accidents and being shot, what kind of Chief would I be if I didn’t consider it to be the singular most critical Officer Safety issue of our time?”

Women police in danger in Afghanistan

August 24, 2021

Amid the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, one group at particular risk is women police, as reported here. These women are in danger not only because they worked for the national government and cooperated with Western partners, but also because they dared to challenge religious and conservative gender roles. Women comprised less than 3% of Afghan police, but that accounts for 4,000 women now at risk “of assassination, violence or reprisal from violent extremists, but also from the community and their own family members.” One officer urges evacuations — “Police women are in serious danger – even their families are threatened. Will they be killed or stoned to death? Police women and their families must be relocated to safer places.”

New Capitol Police Chief

August 13, 2021

The U.S. Capitol Police have a new chief, Thomas Manger, formerly chief in Montgomery County, MD and Fairfax County, VA. As reported here, he was happily retired as of January 5, and then the next day could not believe what he watched on television. “I got very emotional. It was horrible. I watched cops getting hurt just trying to do their job so the members of Congress could do their job. It just shook me,” he says. Settling into his new position, Manger emphasizes that he’s not going to play politics. “It is the only way to stay true to the job. I’m politically agnostic. I’ve met the members of the committees that have oversight. I’ve met Democratic and Republican leaders. They’ve been very helpful. What they’ve said is encouraging. They just want me to communicate with them.”

Police fatalities in 2020

January 12, 2021

Not counting COVID-19, fewer U.S. police officers died in the line of duty in 2020 than in any year since 1959. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 48 officer deaths were firearms related, 44 were traffic related, and 27 were due to other non-COVID causes, for a total of 119, as reported here. Currently, an additional 145 deaths are counted as COVID-related, with more expected to be identified.

Questioning the effectiveness of the 1033 Program

December 21, 2020

The federal government’s 1033 Program makes surplus military equipment available to state and local law enforcement agencies. Responding to criticism that the program contributes to militarization of policing, the Obama administration put some restrictions in place, which were subsequently removed by the Trump administration. This article summarizes findings from two recent studies indicating that agencies receiving the equipment did not experience crime reductions or fewer officer injuries. Further, information is lacking on whether and how the equipment has actually been used.