8 dos and don’ts of officer safety on the road
We have a long history of making changes in order to make our officers safer — but those changes didn’t occur overnight and they didn’t come without struggles
In my seminars I always cover what those in the audience can do right then to make them or their agency safer. I discuss what activities we are currently doing that puts our officers in more risk than they need to be. It’s a common sense approach that seems simple but the fact that so many agencies continue to ignore these principles tells us it’s not simple in practice.
Here are a few suggestions. You doubtlessly have your own ideas so let all of us know in the comments section and let’s make decisions today that can save lives tomorrow.
1.) Don’t Post Response Times
Anyone not in first place will likely drive faster for no reason other than to do better on a list. They’ll do this despite the fact that they have no control over many components that affect response times. Response times depend on your location when the call comes in, as well as a variety of other factors.
If a supervisor or manager has a problem employee then they need to deal with that employee and stop publishing silly lists.
2.) Utilize Telematics to Monitor Speed
Using telematics, we can identify officers are violating speeds at a higher rate than others — to identify potential bad habits before tragedy occurs. Today, most agencies ignore this technology for reasons I hope to find out after this article is published. Folks get very upset when this is discussed but the fact is that there are agencies that have a common sense, officer safety approach with telematics. If we can save lives we must look at this.
3.) Don’t Allow Officers to Use In-Car Computers While Driving
Our profession did a lot of good work before computers, so we will be okay to disable them while we are traveling.
4.) Do Routine Car Inspections
5.) Don’t Use Tire Deflation Devices
While suspects will and do intentionally try to kill us, it is just as true that swerving around obstacles just so happens to be a natural reaction.
6.) Do the Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT)
This is not a ramming technique, which is normally considered deadly force, but a precision maneuver designed to bring an end to a very dangerous activity.
7.) Don’t Run Code to Everything
Choose wisely when you run code and violate the rules of the road. It exponentially increases the risks that we take. It’s always about risks and rewards. If the reward is great, than by all means run code but it may not be the wisest decision to run code to a fight call that is long over, or that traffic collision that will be waiting on you regardless of when you arrive.
8.) Do Scenario-Based Training
We need to say goodbye to the annual “Charlie Brown” lecture and conduct training that will inoculate us in stress so we can perform well on the streets.
The only question should be “does it make the job safer?” and if the answer is yes then nothing should stop us from pursuing it.
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