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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

What’s Up With Line-Ups?

The training recommends photos be
shown to eyewitnesses one at a time.
Some of you may remember this was the title of one our Safety & Loss Control Workshops last spring. The session focused on the forensic science that has led to new standards for police in handling line-ups and show-ups. As many of you know, some witnesses immediately recognize the subject, and many do not. A great deal has been learned about eyewitness identifications reliability and unreliability. Much of the data came from studying the factors that lead to wrongful incarcerations of innocent people. And the research has shown that in 75% of the wrongful incarcerations, the factor that led to the conviction was a mistake of an eyewitness identification.

Very few crime victims or eyewitnesses wake up in the morning knowing they are going to witness a crime that day. And their recollection of what happened—or of the suspect’s description—can be influenced by a variety of factors. Many of these crimes happen at night, they happen fast, and a witness’s own implicated bias may affect what they remember. 

The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) has a great online training program on this topic, and it is perfect for roll calls training or training sessions. The training is based on the IACP model policy and recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences. The training modules are about five minutes long and begin with a compelling story of a wrongful incarceration and its consequences. The training walks officers through the process for their initial response, show-ups, photo arrays, and live line-ups.

This process is the standard for most jurisdictions, and it is important for patrol officers as well as investigators. You can access the training online here.

Up next: Holiday Stories

Stay safe,

Monday, November 6, 2017

Work Comp Statistics

The League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT) is the provider of workers’ compensation coverage for almost all the cities in Minnesota. I thought our readers would be interested in a few statistics from a recent LMCIT Board update.

Police Losses was the heading that caught my eye. It read, “Police losses continue to be the largest cost component of the workers’ compensation program, which from 2013-16 represented 31% of all costs and averaged $6.8 million per year. Recent data shows that over a quarter of injuries to police resulting in lost time occur when apprehending a suspect and foot pursuits”. If that looks familiar, you may have seen a similar conclusion in the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) national study on reducing officer injuries.

The chart below shows both the number of claims and costs going back to 2009. The data for 2017 will be coming in well into 2018.

Under the heading of Fire (Paid & Volunteer) Losses, the text read: “Paid and volunteer firefighter losses accounted for 20% of all incurred loss costs during 2013-16. From 2009 –June 2017, the most significant causes of injury attributed to lost time claims are due to lifting, pushing and pulling activities (36%), and falling or slipping (26%). An analysis of older claims (2009-12) shows that firefighters are injured most at fire scenes (37%), when providing emergency medical services (25%), performing fire station maintenance (14%), and during training (13%).Volunteer firefighters account for 60% of all loss costs, with paid firefighters accounting for 40%.

In the chart below, note the increase in the number of work comp claims in 2016 but a decrease in cost. It appears the decrease in cost was due to fewer serious injuries that year. 

While we need to be careful about drawing conclusions from this data, we do know a couple of things. Public Safety (police and fire) makes up 51% of the total LMCIT work comp cost. That’s a big number—it is costly and, most importantly, it is our membership being injured on the job. Most of these injures continue to occur while our responders are engaged in activities that have historically and predictably caused injury. For police, it is taking people into custody, and for fire it is lifting, pulling and pushing, and slipping and falling at fire calls and EMS scenes. And, the 2016 numbers for fire work comp look encouraging. 

Public safety and emergency work has risk, and we know the activities where a majority of the injuries occur. Concentrate your safety efforts and awareness on what the numbers are telling us.

Up next: Eyewitness Identifications—Training Designed for Roll Calls
Stay safe (as I write this, snow is falling over much of the state. This winter, slow down, watch out for each other, and keep safety on your mind),