Sergeant Eric Peterson of the CMPD said that Fred Thornton was a long time police trainer and, “If there is a lesson to be learned here, Fred would want it to get out.”
Since the investigation is continuing, the department has yet to release how the Def-Tec #25 non-reloading Model 7001 was detonated. That will be eventually forthcoming when a determination is made. Meanwhile, the loss of this Officer Fred Thornton reminds every officer that there are tasks that Law Enforcement officers do which are so regular that they may become a monotonous routine. They are meant to make us safe, but if done with one momentary lapse in concentration, they can — and too often do — end tragically.
Lesson from Fred’s Passing
If each one of these tasks is done in earnest, according to training, and with complete concentration, law enforcement can eliminate all line-of-duty deaths related to tasks. Here is a starting list:
• Equipment checks before and after SWAT call-outs
• Squad checks and all that entails, when beginning tour, ending tour and after each transport
• Weapons squad ready checks before beginning tour of duty
• Returning weapons to squad ready after each call
• Weapons clearance procedures on range before, after and when returning to the range
• Weapons clearance procedures for cleaning and maintenance
• Equipment triple checks before scenario training
• Returning equipment to duty ready after scenario training
• Checks of transport of and storage of any equipment pressurized or explosive
• Off-road vehicle reloading procedures
• Pre-flight checks for air patrol
• Duty belt checks before duty
• Weapon re-holstering after leaving jail, psyche wards and places requiring their removal
• Safety checks and storage of weapons in the home
That’s just to name a few — feel free to add more in comments if you think of any.
In Fred Thornton’s memory, stop before you start these checks. Take the time to visualize yourself doing the check correctly as you become totally mentally engaged in the process. Then begin.