2012 in Review: 12 lasting impressions
To say that this has been a difficult year is an understatement of impossible proportion
End-of-year retrospective columns are a dime a dozen right around now. How do you wrap up an entire year’s events in a single column? (Short answer: you don’t.)
There are literally dozens of topics I won’t cover here — everything from continued ambush attacks on our police officers (and, apparently, firefighters) to multi-jurisdictional and multi-disciplinary consolidation of public safety agencies.
Regardless of that reality, here are 12 of my lasting impressions from 2012. Add your own dozen in the comments area below. Now, where’s my [bleeping] dime?
I’ve written plenty in the past month on the topic of active shooters. I’ll leave it at this: Train, train, train...then be ready for anything, anywhere, anytime.
There is no one answer to this issue, because there is no one scenario. The important thing is to have these discussions in your squad rooms before something horrible happens.
Healthy in Mind, Body, and Spirit
You want to retire. You want to retire happy. There is no shame whatsoever in getting help from a buddy, or from a doctor, when you need it. You have a toothache — you get it looked at by a dentist, right? You have a more painful issue rattling around in your head — get that some professional help too, okay?
This stuff is PCP on steroids. Be prepared to act quickly and definitively if you run into it.
How about you on a personal level? Are you prepared to meet the responsibilities of your office while making sure you and your family are prepared with the right gear and the right safety plans?
Modern Day B&E
By this time, tightened belts are the norm so here’s hoping you’ve found a solid plan for dealing with that and still performing at a high level through both professional and personal creativity, conservation and resolve.
Officers Behaving Badly
Not much needs to be said here beyond this: think about your actions and their consequences this coming year and forever forward.
Your career is more important than a bet over a bucket of piss.
Strides in LE Technology
A lot of very good technology is inexpensive, if not free, and can be very effective in helping you do more with less.
Keep in mind that there have also been technological advancements and activity on the “bad side” (think Anonymous, whose “members” hacked the FBI and Stratfor).
Make sure those same tech guys are staying up on all of that as well.
Dealing with the Mentally Ill
Be sure your training includes tactics and techniques for safely navigating these contacts.
Animals Being Animals
Crowd Control Issues
Don’t slide into complacency when it comes to ensuring that your agency is ready to deal with dense, often spontaneously appearing crowds of demonstrators. Practice some “when/then” thinking on an agency level and ask, “When a group of protesters show up and we need troops on hand to control the commotion, then we will implement this plan to cover the hot spot(s) without leaving the rest of the community unprotected.
Getting Below 100
Like so many of the issues we face, there is not a single answer. There is not one single philosophy, training program, or departmental policy that will help us reduce the number of officers killed every year.
But on the issue of helping our officers be safer and more successful there is no room for “not invented here” parochialism. I didn’t think it up, but the Below 100 program has me as a supporter.
Maybe this time next year, we can really get Below 100.
Stay safe out there my friends.
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