Officer safety in the New Year
By Lt. Jim Glennon, Lombard, IL (ret.)
2007 brought to those in law enforcement a sad reality. As of December 18th 173 law enforcement officers have been killed or have died in the line of duty. This is a 20% increase as we lost 144 brothers and sisters in 2006. Statistically: seven have died on-duty of heart attacks (there are no statistics available at this time of how many have suffered heart attacks off-duty), five were killed by bombs, two fell to their deaths, two were victims of severe weather, three drowned, five died this year of illnesses related to the 9/11 Terrorist attacks, three were killed accidentally by gunfire, nine were struck by vehicles, and nine were victims of vehicular assaults. The majority of the officers who were lost this year, as most every year, were killed in either automobile accidents (46) or by felonious gunfire (61).
Again, these are mere statistics.
Before each and every Street Survival Seminar the instructors prepare a 3 minute and 20 second memorial featuring officers who have fallen in the line of duty. Set to the song Amazing Grace the fallen officers’ pictures run across the screen at the very beginning of the two-day Seminar. Each picture appears for approximately 12-15 seconds and they are accompanied with a short bio of the officer and the cause of death.
In those bios we highlight who by the officers are survived. In one particular Seminar Dave Smith and I counted how many children were left without either a mother or father. The number was - 34. Thirty-four children, in just one of the 40+ memorials we ran in 2007, lost a parent to the hazards of being in our profession.
As we look to 2008 each of us in the law enforcement profession need to do two things. First, thank our God for our families and the support they give us every day as we walk out that door. And second - Remember. Remember that our lives are not just ours. They belong to all who love us. Remember that our safety is up to each of us. We can not be a statistic for in reality to our families we are much more than that.