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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The IACP Reducing Officer Injuries Final Report

The International Association of Chiefs of Police, (IACP) has released the final report of their police officer line-of-duty injuries study. Eighteen agencies from around the country contributed their data to the study. The Chaska and Duluth police departments, as well as the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and the Minnesota State Patrol, participated in the project.

The Monetary Impact
The one year of data reported 1,295 officer injuries that resulted in 5,938 work days missed. Those days totaled $1,211,352 in lost time plus another $1,817,028 in overtime for cover assignments. If you are doing the math, that is more than $3 million dollars—and it does not include the cost of medical treatments and rehab.

The Findings
First, the report shows the value of closely tracking and investigating officer injuries. Patterns and trends were spotted as the data was analyzed. Here are a few observations:

  • Findings showed that certain groups of officers were more likely to experience injuries, including officers in the first five years on the job and officers that were overweight.
  • Offenders with prior contact with law enforcement caused more severe injuries to officers than those with no prior contact.
  • Police encounters with suspects under the influence of drugs or alcohol resulted in more severe officer injuries.
  • Officer training efforts in the areas of arrest procedure, tactics, and use of force resulted in fewer officer injuries.
  • The findings showed the hard numbers for seat belt use, squad car speed, and officer fitness programs.

Page 10 of the report begins to address the issue of training injuries. The study showed that the use of a “safety lecture” before training decreased those injuries by 41%. That finding is consistent with the experience of the LMCIT Training Safety Officer (TSO) program, which uses a “safety briefing” prior to training.

The report also validates much of the anecdotal knowledge about line-of-duty injuries and is consistent with LMCIT data. The report illustrates how thorough accident investigation and tracking can aid risk management efforts and calls for “instilling a culture of safety” across police agencies. I encourage you to read the entire study. It can be found online at:


                                            Responder Safety = Public Safety

Up next…Change, Change, Change: From Retirements to Tactics

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.


Monday, January 6, 2014

A Good Idea From Kentucky

The wristband provides immediate visual communication.
Most patrol officers have at least one story about drawing their weapon on a suspect, only to find out the suspect was a police officer working in “plain clothes.” These types of incidents occur fast, and sometimes—when the plain clothes officer is holding their gun—the results have been deadly.

In 1993, a plain clothes police officer in Kentucky was mistakenly shot by a uniformed officer during a foot chase. That incident led to a complete review of all plain clothes officer responses, and to officers carrying a new piece of police equipment.
The wristband is worn on the officer's gun hand (shown here being
tested at the SCALE Regional Training Center in Scott County).

That new piece of police equipment is a bright green reflective wristband that officers “slap” on to their gun hand when they want to be identified as a police officer. The band is 3 inches wide and has the word POLICE lettered on it. You can’t miss it. It is stored as a coil that quickly curls around an officer’s wrist, shirt, or jacket and stays there. There are no snaps or Velcro, and the wristband can be put on in less than a second. Officers keep the band on the gear shift lever of their car when not in use.
The wristband forms a coil when not in use.

In addition to receiving the wristband, all Kentucky officers receive training on a common protocol to be followed when a plain clothes or off-duty officer is going to be making an arrest and may be interacting with uniform officers.

The Kentucky program of common training and the highly visible wrist band has been successful. I think it has merit for the Minnesota law enforcement community as well. Let me know your thoughts. I can be reached at (651) 281-1238 or

                 Responder Safety = Public Safety

Up next…More details on the IACP Reducing Officer Injuries Final Report

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.