Officer Deaths Up 28 Percent in 2007
A preliminary report released by the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund and Concerns of Police Survivors shows that 186 federal, state, and local officers were killed in the line of duty in 2007 (figure may change slightly as more information is received), which is 28 percent higher than the 145 officers who made the ultimate sacrifice in 2006. Especially alarming was the fact that 69 officers were killed by gunfire (a 33 percent increase over 2006 figures), and 81 officers were killed in traffic-related incidents (the highest figure ever recorded for this category in U.S. history).
With the exception of 2001, which saw a dramatic increase in deaths because of the September 11 terrorist attacks, 2007 was the deadliest year for the law enforcement community since 1989.
In the United States, officer fatalities have generally declined since 1974, when deaths peaked at 277. Another important trend started in the 1990s, when the number of accidental deaths began to exceed felonious deaths. In 2007, about 6 of every 10 deaths were accidental.
Craig Floyd, chairman and chief executive officer of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, and many other law enforcement officials credited technology improvements such as body armor and nonlethal devices for preventing many officers’ deaths. Domestic violence and traffic stops were the circumstances that most commonly led to fatal police shootings this year, the report found.
Of the 81 traffic deaths in 2007, 60 officers died in car collisions, 15 were hit by cars, and 6 died in motorcycle crashes. Only seven car collisions were attributed to high-speed pursuits. Addressing officer safety in traffic enforcement, the IACP Highway Safety Committee, in partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has established a subcommittee to improve the environment in which officers operate. The Law Enforcement Stops and Safety (LESS) Subcommittee is developing better ways to ensure officer safety during traffic stops and other roadside contacts. Recommendations, training documents and videos, studies, and reports are available through the IACP Web site (www.theiacp.org).
Following traffic crashes and shootings, 18 fatalities were attributed to physical causes such as heart attacks.
For a full copy of “Law Enforcement Officer Deaths, 2007,” visit the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund Web site at www.nleomf.com.
IACP No-Cost Regional Technology Training
In 2008, the IACP’s Technology Technical Assistance Program (TTAP) is offering two programs at no cost to law enforcement agencies.
In-Car Camera Executive Training: This program is designed for police chiefs, sheriffs, other law enforcement executives, and prosecutors. In-car video technology can increase accountability and public support and reduce potential liability for an agency. Whether the agency is considering an in-car camera program or is making the transition from analog to digital, this one-day intensive course will assist in designing a system that meets the agency’s current and future needs.
Technology Executive Workshops: How to Plan, Acquire, and Manage Technology: Practitioners will demonstrate how to determine what technology an agency needs, how to get it, and how to manage the acquired systems to avoid costly technology mistakes. This workshop will show how to make a strong business case, get the necessary internal and external support, identify funding sources, draft a request for proposals, select the right vendor, and put the proper protocols and policies in place to ensure appropriate use of technology.
For details about outlines and schedules, or if you are interested in bringing this training to your state or region, please contact Laura Bell at 1-800-THE-IACP, extension 838, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. For additional information on law enforcement technology resources and services, visit the TTAP Web page at http://www.iacptechnology.org/TTAP.htm.
Stopping Dogfighting Crimes
The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) is partnering with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) to develop a resource packet that will support police efforts to combat dogfighting.
The packet will provide law enforcement agencies with tools and training resources to help them recognize dogfighting, effectively collect and process evidence, handle victimized animals, establish partnerships with the community and prosecutors, and establish animal task forces.
Dogfighting is a crime that has grown in popularity in many urban and rural areas over the last decade. In communities where dogfighting is prevalent, it is considered a significant safety concern for both the public and the law enforcement community; it often co-occurs with illegal gambling, drug possession and distribution, illegal weapons possession, parole and probation violations, and child endangerment; and it can contribute to violent behavior.
“Ask anyone who lives in a community where dogfighting occurs, and they will tell you that they want this illegal activity and all of the problems associated with it gone,” said COPS director Carl R. Peed. “COPS is pleased to support the development of resources that help law enforcement and communities create safer neighborhoods, and together with the ASPCA we believe that we can have a significant impact on dogfighting.”
“The ASPCA is honored to have partnered with COPS on this extremely important initiative,” said ASPCA president and CEO Ed Sayres. “Our organization was founded almost a century and a half ago as a law enforcement agency to fight animal cruelty, and we have seen time and time again that the best way to tackle it is by involving the community—and that's exactly what this partnership will do."
The Humane Law Enforcement Department enforces New York’s animal cruelty laws and is featured on the reality television series Animal Precinct on the Animal Planet television channel. For more information, please visit www.aspca.org.
The newly developed resources will be available for order or download from the COPS Web site, www.cops.usdoj.gov, in the summer of 2008.
New $5 Bill to Enter Circulation
The U.S. government announced that it will begin issuing newly designed $5 bills into circulation beginning March 13, 2008. The new $5 bill, which has been redesigned to help foil counterfeiters, includes two new watermarks and an enhanced security thread that will help businesses and consumers validate the new bills. Recent research suggests that people who handle cash on a regular basis often use the security thread and watermark to verify that a bill is real. To help cash handlers and consumers alike, the new $5 bill includes enhanced versions of both of these features to make it easier to identify and to distinguish it from other denominations.
The announcement signals to banks and businesses that they should make final preparations for the new bills. As police officers interact with businesses, they can discuss the need for appropriate preparations, including training cash-handling employees on how to use the notes’ security features; for other businesses, the changeover entails making technical adjustments to machines that accept, dispense, or count cash.
More U.S. currency circulates in the world than any other currency. In fact, about $770 billion circulates worldwide. For this reason, the U.S. government is working closely with banks and businesses to ensure a smooth transition for the redesigned bills.
APCO Issues New Standards for Call Takers Handling Reports of Missing Children
The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International has released a standard for emergency call takers to use in handling calls pertaining to missing and exploited children.
In an effort to develop best-practice guidelines for handling calls pertaining to missing and/or sexually exploited children, a joint steering committee on Call Center Best Practices in Cases of Missing and Sexually Exploited Children was developed. Members of the committee include APCO International, the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch (NAED), the National AMBER Alert Initiative (U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs and Fox Valley Technical College), the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA).
This joint committee developed the content of the standard: APCO American National Standard (ANS) 1.101.1-2007—Standard for Calltakers When Handling Calls Pertaining to Missing and Sexually Exploited Children. The purpose of this standard is to develop a reference specifically for emergency call takers to present the missing and/or sexually exploited child response process in a logical progression from the initial call through the first response. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Board of Standards Review approved the standard on December 19, 2007.
The standard states that all agencies must provide its members with the tools and training enabling them to act quickly and decisively when confronted with reports of missing and/or sexually exploited children. The single most important tool an agency can provide is a clearly worded policy directive containing understandable procedures and best practices for call takers to follow as a guide whenever a call for a missing and/or sexually exploited child is received. This voluntary national standard is designed to be an important tool for agencies to enhance training, policies, and procedures.
APCO International is an ANSI-accredited standards developer and was chosen by these organizations to facilitate the guide through APCO International’s ANS process. APCO International’s Standards Development Committee led the process, which included a 45-day public review and commenting period. The standard can be downloaded at http://www.apcointl.org/new/commcenter911/APCOstandards.php. ■