Like the last two posts, the focus this week is on the power of simplicity.
There is a difference between simple and easy. Simple is the lack of complexity. Easy is the lack of effort. We are talking about simple here, not easy.
There is a powerful new initiative by Law Officer magazine embracing the concept of simplicity to save lives. The program is called Below 100. The purpose is to reduce the line of duty deaths in the United States to below 100, a level not seen since 1944. The Below 100 project focuses on five simple concepts:
Wear Your Belt
Wear Your Vest
Watch Your Speed
W.I.N. – What’s Important Now?
Remember: Complacency Kills
What I want to talk about today is how you can apply this in your agency regardless of what country you live in.
Every day law enforcement officers make excuses why they do not wear their seatbelt (a safety hazard in the event of a sudden attack at a traffic stop) and every year officers are killed and injured while involved in collisions and not wearing their seatbelt.
Every year officers make excuses why they do not wear body armor (too hot, too uncomfortable) and every years officers die because of those excuses.
Every year officers make excuses why they have to race to calls and every year officers are seriously injured and killed driving too fast to those calls.
Every day officers go out on routine patrol and make routine stops. Routine lends itself to complacency and complacency results in officer injuries and deaths.
Every day trainers, fellow officers and supervisors ignore this behaviour and condone the taking of unnecessary risks (ignored behaviour is condoned behaviour) that costs law enforcement officers their lives.
Enough with excuses.
Enough with turning a blind eye to these unacceptable behaviours.
As trainers you must find a way to get through to your officers, to make it real for them, to help them understand What’s Important Now. Share stories of officers who are alive today because they wore their seat belt and their vests. Share the skills and tactics for officers to remove their seat belts while the vehicle is coming to a stop so they can deal with threats from the vehicle. Share the pain and suffering of families, friends and loved ones who are left behind after these tragic deaths. Help officers understand it is an officer safety issue not to wear their belt and when they refuse to wear their vests they are putting both themselves and their fellow warriors at risk unnecessarily and that is not acceptable.
Create a culture where officers, trainers and supervisors care enough about themselves, their families and each other so they challenge officers who do not wear their belts or their vests. Fight for mandatory body armor wear. Create a culture where officers engage in active patrol and patrol with purpose. Continually remind officers of What’s Important Now.
You can take action.
You can make a difference.
You can change the culture.
These concepts are simple, powerful tools that can and will save lives if we embrace them. My challenge to you is to find a way to take these concepts world wide to change our culture and save lives.
You can access a series of articles explaining the initiative at:
P.S. If you are attending the ILEETA Conference in April make sure to attend the Below 100 Train the Trainer presentation.