Blue on Blue: Remember LEOSA and blue on gray
On NewYear’s Day 2012, an incident stirred me to finally do something about the problem of blue-on-blue deaths. On Long Island, New York, a drug store robbery eventually involved an off-duty federal agent, an off-duty NYPD officer, and a retired Long Island officer. All three active and retired sheepdogs were in plain clothes and when the gunplay ended the federal agent was killed and three families were destroyed.
I searched once again for a way for armed plain-clothes, off-duty, and retired peace officers to better identify themselves should they decide to take action at a deadly force incident. A product from DSM Safety Products — the brainchild of retired SWAT Sergeant Mike Lessman — is the best option I’ve found. The company name says it all, “Don’t Shoot Me Safety Products.”
Mike’s idea is a brightly colored, reflective banner you pull from a pouch on your belt to drape across your torso, “Miss America” style. I was thinking about some type of lightweight hat that would store in a similar pouch, but Mike’s banner makes more sense. We are trained to shoot center-mass, so the bright banner across your torso stands the best chance of being seen and recognized by a fellow sheepdog.
I contacted Mike by email about his banners, which at that time were made in variations for Police, Security, and CCW — Carrying a Concealed Weapon. As one who goes armed under the HR218/Law Enforcement Officer’s Safety Act (LEOSA) I wanted an ID banner, but didn’t want one that merely identified me as a CCW holder.