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Back to Archives | Back to February 2011 Contents 


February 2011

Photograph by the American College
of Veterinary Opthalmologists

Free Eye Exams for Working Dogs

As IACP members speak before citizens groups and reach out to organizations supporting guide dogs, handicapped assistance dogs, detection dogs, and search and rescue dogs, they can remind their citizens that in May 2011, the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) is launching the fourth annual ACVO/Merial National Service Dog Eye Exam Event to help serve these dogs who dedicate their lives to serving others.

The fourth annual ACVO/Merial National Service Dog Eye Exam Event brings together veterinary ophthalmologists and thousands of service dogs for free eye exams. Registration begins April 1 for the May event. More than 180 board certified veterinary ophthalmologists throughout the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico traditionally elect to provide free sight-saving eye exams to thousands of service dogs.

During the complete ocular exam, the veterinary specialists will look for problems including redness, squinting, cloudy corneas, retinal disease, early cataracts, and other serious abnormalities. Early detection and treatment are vital to these working dogs.

A sampling of groups served since the ACVO/Merial National Service Dog Eye Exam Event launched in 2008 include the Transportation Security Agency; military working dogs from Lackland Air Force Base in Texas; Puppies Behind Bars, an organization through which inmates train service dogs for a variety of functions, including to act as psychiatric aides to soldiers coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan; local fire, rescue, and police agencies; and also individual service dog owners and handlers who rely on these animals daily.

To qualify, animals must be active working animals that were certified by a formal training program or organization or currently enrolled in a formal training program. The certifying organization could be national, regional, or local in nature. Other service animals are welcome to participate (for example, horses, cats, and so on) as long as they meet the stated qualifications. Additional registration details can be found at

Owners or agents for the animals must first register the animal via an online registration form beginning April 1 at Registration ends April 29. Once registered online, owners or agents will be allowed access to a list of participating ophthalmologists in their areas and may contact a specialist to schedule an appointment. Appointments will take place during the month of May. Times may vary depending on the facility and are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Cybervetting Guidance for Law Enforcement

The IACP, in partnership with the Defense Personnel Security Research Center (PERSEREC), has released Developing a Cybervetting Strategy for Law Enforcement, a guide to help chief executives navigate the complicated world of vetting and personnel management in the social media age.

Cybervetting is an assessment of a person’s suitability to hold a position using information found on the Internet to help make that determination. Cybervetting occurs even though there are no generally accepted guidelines and procedures for fair, complete, and efficient Internet searches for this purpose.

Job applicants, employees, and employers are often uncertain whether cybervetting is legal, where privacy rights begin and end, and what cyberbehaviors and postings should be subject to cybervetting.

The purpose of this document is to present policies and practices to consider when using the Internet to search for information on law enforcement applicants, candidates, and incumbents and when developing social media policies to limit inappropriate online behaviors. Cybervetting guidelines need to strike the right balance between individuals’ constitutional rights and law enforcement agencies’ due diligence responsibilities for screening out undesirable job applicants and employees.

A number of IACP committees and sections were actively involved in the development of the guide, including the Private Sector Liaison Committee; the Computer Crime and Digital Evidence Committee; the Professional Standards, Image, and Ethics Committee; and the Psychological Services Section.

The guide is available on the IACP’s Center for Social Media website at

Resources at the IACP Center for Social Media

The IACP Center for Social Media website provides law enforcement personnel with tools and resources to get started and to maintain a social media presence for their agencies. The site contains publications and tutorials including a series of one-page fact sheets explaining various social media platforms and ways social media may be integrated into agency operations. Available fact sheets include the following:

  • Social Media
  • Facebook Safety for Law Enforcement
  • Social Media and Crime Prevention
  • Social Media for Recruitment
  • Location-Based Platforms
  • Blogs
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube

For more information, e-mail; visit; or contact project staff at 1-800-THE-IACP, extension 836.

2010 Law Enforcement Officer Fatalities—a 37 Percent Increase

The number of U.S. law enforcement fatalities spiked by 37 percent in 2010—an alarming increase that follows two years of declining deaths among U.S. policing professionals.

A total of 160 federal, state, and local law enforcement officers died in the line of duty during 2010, according to preliminary data compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF). This represents a dramatic increase over the 117 officer fatalities in 2009, which marked a 50-year low.

Fifty-nine officers have been shot and killed during the past year, which is a 20 percent increase over the 49 killed by gunfire in 2009. Ten of the officers shot to death in 2010 were killed in separate multiple-death incidents in Fresno, California; San Juan, Puerto Rico; West Memphis, Arkansas; Tampa, Florida; and Hoonah, Alaska.

Said NLEOMF Chairman Craig W. Floyd,

A more brazen, cold-blooded criminal element is on the prowl in America, and they don’t think twice about killing a cop. Our law enforcement officers are being asked to do more today with less, and it is putting their lives at risk. In addition to their conventional crimefighting responsibilities, our law officers are on the front lines in the war against terror here at home. Yet, there are fewer officers on the street, and other precious resources, such as training and equipment dollars, are also being cut as a result of the economic downturn.

Traffic-related incidents remained the number one cause of death among U.S. law enforcement officers for the 13th consecutive year. Seventy-three officers were killed in traffic-related incidents in 2010, compared to fifty-one in 2009, representing a 43 percent increase. Of the seventy-three traffic-related deaths this year, fifty occurred during automobile crashes, sixteen officers were struck and killed while outside of their own vehicles, six died in motorcycle crashes, and one bike patrol officer was struck by a vehicle.

In addition to the officers killed by firearms or in traffic-related incidents, nineteen officers died as a result of job-related illnesses, two were beaten, two drowned, two officers suffered fatal falls, two died in aircraft crashes, and one officer died in a boating accident.

The preliminary 2010 law enforcement fatality data were released by the NLEOMF in conjunction with Concerns of Police Survivors, a nonprofit organization that provides critical assistance to the surviving family members and loved ones of officers killed in the line of duty. The statistics released are preliminary and do not represent a final or complete list of individual officers who will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial for 2010.

The report, Law Enforcement Officer Deaths: Preliminary 2010 Research Bulletin, is available at

Teenagers: Marijuana Use Is Rising

Several important findings come out of the 2010 Monitoring the Future study, the 36th annual national survey of American teens in a series that launched in 1975.

Marijuana use, which had been rising among teens for the past two years, continued to rise again in 2010—a sharp contrast to the considerable decline of the preceding decade. Ecstasy use, which fell out of favor in the early 2000s as concerns about its dangers grew, appears to be making a comeback following a considerable recent decline in the belief that its use is dangerous. Alcohol use and, specifically, occasions of heavy drinking continue their long-term decline among teens into 2010, reaching historically low levels.

Monitoring the Future, conducted by a team of social scientists at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, has been funded since its inception under a series of research grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, one of the National Institutes of Health. In 2010, more than 46,000 eighth, tenth, and twelfth graders, enrolled in nearly 400 secondary public and private schools, participated in the study.

The proportion of young people using any illicit drug has been rising over the past three years, due largely to increased use of marijuana—the most widely used of all the illicit drugs. The proportion of eighth graders who reported using at least one illicit drug in the prior 12 months (called annual prevalence) rose from 13 percent in 2007 to 16 percent in 2010, including a statistically significant increase of 1.6 percentage points this year. Among both tenth and twelfth graders, annual prevalence has increased by two percentage points since 2007. In 2010, the proportions using any illicit drug during the past year were 16 percent, 30 percent, and 38 percent in grades eight, ten, and twelve, respectively.

Lifetime use was higher at 21 percent, 37 percent, and 48 percent in the three grades, respectively. In other words, about half of the high school seniors in the class of 2010 have tried an illicit drug, and well over one-third have used on one or more occasions in the prior 12 months. The proportion of students reporting using any illicit drug other than marijuana has been gradually declining for some years, but that decline halted in 2010 in all three grades. The annual prevalence rates for using any illicit drug other than marijuana in 2010 are 7 percent, 12 percent, and 17 percent in grades eight, ten, and twelve; the corresponding lifetime prevalence rates are 11 percent, 17 percent, and 25 percent. Further, virtually all demographic subgroups are showing an increase in use.

One possible explanation for the resurgence in marijuana use is that in recent years, fewer teens report seeing much danger associated with its use, even with regular use. Possibly as a result, fewer teens have shown disapproval of marijuana use over the past two or three years. Both perceived risk and disapproval continued to decline in all three grades this year.

Ecstasy provided one of the most recent surges in use of an illicit drug. Use among teens rose sharply in the late 1990s, peaked in 2001, and then fell just as sharply over the next four years or so, as perceived risk rose considerably. After 2004 or 2005, perceived risk fell steadily and this could lead to a rebound in use. Some of that rebound now appears to be taking place, as use rose this year in all three grades, significantly so for eighth and tenth grades.

The full report is available online at ■



From The Police Chief, vol. LXXVIII, no. 2, February 2011. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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