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Free seminars aimed at reducing line of duty deaths

Posted by: Jennifer Gomori Posted date: January 18, 2016

— By Jennifer Foley, POJ Editor

Reducing line of duty deaths to below 100 a year is the goal of the Below 100 national campaign and the Police Officers Labor Council (POLC) and Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP) are joining forces to host two FREE seminars for POLC members and any other police departments interested in attending.

POLC Executive Director Richard Weiler was instrumental in getting west side and east side seminars on Feb. 10 and March 11, 2016 set up so officers on both sides of the state could attend. Executive Committee Chairman Paul Combs brought the program to the attention of the Executive Committee after attending a Below 100 seminar. Combs wanted to share the life saving message with other members of the POLC and other officers statewide.

Nationwide, officer deaths have not been below 100 since 1943. The vision and mission of Below 100 is to permanently eliminate preventable line of duty deaths and injuries through innovative training and awareness through presentations, social media and webinars on identifying the leading causes and current trends in preventable line of duty deaths and injuries.

According to the website, “In 1974, the all-time high year for officer deaths, 278 were killed in the line of duty. Innovations in training, emergency medicine and vehicles, as well as developments of ballistic armor, all contributed to bring this number down. We’ve averaged about 150 officers killed per year in the last ten years. Together, we can bring that number to below 100.”

The movement promotes making officers accountable when they make mistakes that in the future could cost them their lives. “Often a private word with a misguided officer is all it takes to correct his or her misperception,” the website states. “Below 100 is committed to providing you the tools and resources you need to make a culture of safety thrive throughout your department.”

The five key tenets the seminar focuses on are:
• Wear your seatbelt.
• Wear your ballistic vest.
• Watch your speed.
• WIN – What’s Important Now.
• Remember: Complacency Kills.

If officers fail to wear their seatbelts at all times while their vehicle is in motion and their ballistic vests while they’re on duty, Combs said, that needs to be addressed by their department command staff. “It’s about changing policy if need be,” Combs said. “With any public contact, you should be protected. It’s like anything else, if you get used to it, it’s something that comes easy.”

Being in the moment is also key. “It’s important to focus on what’s in front of you instead of what will you do for dinner,” Combs said. “It’s focusing on the now. Nothing is simple. Every contact can turn deadly.”

Officers are encouraged to attend the free seminars, which are approved for training hours through Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES). To register, contact Cindy at the POLC office at [email protected] or by phone (248) 524-3200. Please provide your name, department, phone number and email address.

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