Guest Blogger: IACP President Donald W. De Lucca, Chief of Police, Doral, Florida, Police Department
As a Chief, I, like all law enforcement executives, have always recognized that among my most sacred duties is ensuring the safety of my officers. While there will always be an inherent danger in law enforcement, recently we have witnessed a troubling increase in apparently random, unprovoked ambush style attacks and other violent acts inflicted upon officers. In 2016 alone, of the 145 who died in the line of duty, 21 officers were killed in ambush style attacks, representing the highest ambush total in more than two decades.
In response to this alarming spike in attacks on law enforcement, in January 2017, I convened the IACP Task Force on Global Violence Against Police to address this critically important issue and provide tangible recommendations and resources to IACP membership to mitigate against the threat.
The task force comprises 15 police executives from a diverse cross section of the profession. Each brings a wealth of experience and expertise related risk management and threat mitigation, as well as deep commitment to the issue of officer safety. The task force members are assisted by IACP professional staff, as well as senior level law enforcement fellows on loan from local and federal law enforcement agencies. Together, the task force is hard at work attempting to address the complex issue of violence against police in a manner that places preeminence on officer safety, while continuing to advance progressive community policing practices.
This is the first in a series of blog posts that will, over the next several months, leading up to the IACP conference in Philadelphia, report out on the work of the task force and raise awareness on key areas of officer safety specific to violence against the police. Forthcoming resources will include updated IACP Center for Officer Safety & Wellness webpages, a new monthly line of duty death report produced in partnership with ODMP , a chief’s guide on preventing line of duty deaths, and downloadable training materials.
The task force recognizes that officer safety and commitment to community policing/community relations are not mutually exclusive, but rather work hand in hand. Positive community-police relationships are a critical component of reducing threats that officers face. At the same time, the task force recognizes the challenges of the current operating environment, where offenders are increasingly emboldened and scrutiny by the media and the public is intense. The task force is committed to providing useful tools and resources to help law enforcement leaders and their officers address this complex problem.
As the work of the task force proceeds, its members will be vigilant in ensuring the safety and well-being of officers is given the attention and commitment it deserves and that police leaders are provided the resources and recommendations that can most effectively assist them in maintaining the safety of the men and women under their command.