The recent rash of line of duty deaths of officers from around the United States and around the world drive home the necessity for the law enforcement profession to adopt a zero tolerance policy towards line of duty deaths. For example, in just the past week, agencies represented by the IACP Division of State and Provincial Police tragically lost 4 officers. (Please see this blog post for more information about these recent, tragic incidents).
The IACP has, and always will, put prevention of officer deaths and injuries as its number one priority. But clearly, more is needed to be done.
As a leadership organization, the membership of the IACP is in the best position to implement and mandate the necessary policy and procedural changes that will help to protect our officers and change the culture of policing from one where death and injuries are considered “part of the job” to one where no deaths or injuries to law enforcement officers are acceptable.
That is why I am proud to announce the establishment of the IACP Center for Officer Safety and Wellness.
The IACP Center for Officer Safety and Wellness will work to protect law enforcement officers from the threats and dangers inherent in policing. It will foster a culture of safety and wellness within our profession that will allow law enforcement leaders to demonstrate that officer safety and wellness is our top priority.
The goal of the Center will be to enhance the law enforcement profession’s ability to be well-equipped, well-trained, and physically and mentally prepared to confront violence and other threats and dangers. The four areas of focus will be:
- Prevention of Violence Against the Police
- Reducing Officer Injuries
- Officers’ Wellness—including health, fitness, family support, and preventing law enforcement suicide—and
- Traffic Safety
The Center will not duplicate the work of others, but instead will compliment it. Other organizations do very fine work of honoring and supporting our profession, but much more attention needs to be given to looking at the prevention of violence and injury to law enforcement officers and that is what this Center will be designed to accomplish. The Center will also continue to closely examine issues related to traffic and highway safety, as well as officer wellness and the prevention of law enforcement officer suicide, that take such a high toll on both our officers..
As Attorney General Eric Holder noted when addressing officer safety last week during his speech at the 119th IACP Annual Conference “because of…critical efforts – including IACP’s new Center for Officer Safety and Wellness, the Reducing Officer Injuries Project, and research that’s being conducted on the Prevention of Violence Against the Police – we have good reason for optimism.”
I am proud that the IACP is launching this new Center for Officer Safety and Wellness and I hope that all those involved in law enforcement will join us in this critical endeavor and assist our efforts. Only by working together as a law enforcement community can we put an end to senseless officer deaths. We owe it to our officers, we owe it to our communities, and we owe it to ourselves.