Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Gunfire Line of Duty Death Ends Historic Stretch



Between December 28, 2014 and March 3, 2015 -- a span of 66 days -- there was not a single felonious gunfire death of a law enforcement officer in the United States.

The Officer Down Memorial Page regrets to report that that streak has ended with the tragic Line of Duty Death (LODD) of Police Officer Terence Green of the Fulton County Police Department, Georgia.  Officer Green, a 22-year veteran of the Fulton County PD, was shot and killed in an ambush early this morning.  Our deepest condolences go out to his family, friends, and fellow officers.  

The historic stretch of 66 days since the last gunfire line of duty death was the longest such stretch in the US since 1880.  It also occurred in conjunction with the first calendar month in 116 years to have only a single line of duty death; in February 2015 only one officer died in the line of duty when Officer Siegfried “Dove” Mortera suffered a fatal heart attack during a SWAT training exercise.  The last time a full month passed with a single LODD in the US was January 1899.  

The combination of these two events--a 66-day stretch of no gunfire LODDs coupled with a full calendar month with a single LODD -- is unprecedented.

Each year, law enforcement officers die in the line of duty while performing their job to protect and serve the American people. Since 1944, not a single year has passed with fewer than 100 line of duty deaths.  The number of law enforcement officers who died in this country between 2000 and 2014 stands at 2,346.  It is a job of inherent risk, and, all too often, tragic and unnecessary loss of life.

The Officer Down Memorial Page tracks LODD statistics in the hopes that analysis of trends and data will enable a better understanding of how to keep officers safe.  We also partner with initiatives such as Below 100, an organization that aims to “permanently eliminate preventable line of duty deaths and injuries through innovative training and awareness”.  It is our hope at ODMP that each name added to the site will be the last. Until that day comes, though, we are committed to honoring those souls who have made the ultimate sacrifice and working to make law enforcement officers safer across the board.

While it is very early in the year, 2015 is showing some promising trends: Line of Duty Deaths are, overall, down 6%, despite a deadly January.  Auto-related deaths hold steady at eight -- the same as at this point in 2014-- despite dangerous winter weather conditions in many parts of the country that often lead to increased vehicular LODDs.  And despite today’s sad ending to a historic stretch of no felonious gunfire LODDs, gunfire deaths are down 75% over this time last year--an encouraging trend indeed.  





 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Historic Stretch in Law Enforcement Safety

As of Thursday, February 12, 2015, forty-seven days have passed since the last law enforcement officer in the United States was killed in the line of duty by felonious gunfire.

This ties the longest previous stretch of forty-seven days.  

That stretch, however, occurred in 1896.

This is the first time in nearly 120 years that so many days have passed between line of duty deaths due to gunfire at the hands of an offender.  The entire twentieth century passed without reaching this mark.

To call this an important stretch in law enforcement history, then, is an understatement.  And with each day that passes, a new standard is set for law enforcement officer safety.

Travis Yates, Founder and Director of Training for SAFETAC and full-time police officer with the Tulsa Police Department, makes this important point: “After 47 days with no gunfire deaths, now is not the time to 'wait for it to happen'.  Rather, we should take this opportunity to analyze what we have done to make history and what we can do to ensure that it does not take another 119 years to repeat it."

The Officer Down Memorial Page tracks law enforcement death statistics and historical trends in the hopes that analysis of that information will bring about a better understanding of how to keep officers safe and prevent more Line of Duty Deaths.  We are grateful to have the privilege of making this historic announcement.  

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

SafeGuard Armor Information on Body Armor for Law Enforcement Officers



ODMP partner SafeGuard Armor recently released the following guide regarding one of the most important items of safety equipment for a law enforcement officer -- body armor.

The information below, provided by SafeGuard,  is important to share widely within the law enforcement community--please pass this guide along to increase awareness and understanding of the safety options available today.  

ODMP strongly believes that there is no better way to honor fallen law enforcement officers than by working to reduce further fatalities.  See our vest partnership information here.




A Guide to LEO Ballistic & Stab Body Armor Protection for 2015

Today's law enforcement officers face more dangers on the streets than any previous generation. With criminals now carrying more advanced weaponry and ammunition, officers need to be prepared for these threats, to ensure that they – and their communities – remain as safe as possible. Body armor is a staple part of LEO uniforms, with manufacturers like SafeGuard now offering vests which provide a more lightweight, comfortable fit than ever.  If officers are expected to wear armor each day, they must want to wear it, without feeling restricted or encumbered.

However, protective clothing will continue to evolve, maximizing safety and mobility in innovative ways. Join us as we take a look at the range of armors officers and agents can benefit from in 2015.

A Brief Exploration of Kevlar

The majority of protective vests are made with Kevlar, which was first created in the 1960s by Stephanie Kwolek at DuPont; this was introduced to the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) in the 70s, and has gone on to evolve ever since.

Kevlar stops bullets due to its molecular composition: its molecules are arranged like bars of long chains, which form a rigid structure that is difficult to stretch – this high-tensile strength creates vests' ballistic protection. When a bullet strikes Kevlar, the top layer reduces the round's velocity, and the more layers it passes through, the slower it becomes until it comes to a complete halt.

To get the most out of their armor, officers and agents should take proper care when cleaning, drying, and storing it. To keep vests looking their best, a damp, soapy sponge should be used to gently clean the surface; if immersed in water, the vests' protective capabilities will be damaged for good. Once cleaned, vests should be lain flat in a dark, dry space – if left in direct sunlight for long periods, UV rays can damage the protective fibers in a similar way that moisture can.  

The NIJ Levels of Ballistic Protection

Bulletproof vests are tested and rated by the NIJ, with each type assigned a specific level based on the amount of protection it provides against specific ammunition.

Level II-A stops 9mm full metal-jacketed round nose bullets, as well as .40 caliber Smith and Wesson rounds. Due to its lightweight build, this vest can be concealed underneath clothing, whether plain-clothes for undercover operations or standard uniform. Government agencies no longer use Level I vests, as it is designed to stop low-velocity 22 caliber rounds only.

Level II vests stop up to .357 Magnum jacketed soft-point bullets; this can also be worn in a covert way, beneath other layers, and provides the best everyday protection for officers.

Level III-A vests will defend an officer from high-velocity 9mm and .44 Magnum jacketed hollow-point rounds. Until recently, this was the highest level of concealable armor available, and is generally considered modern law enforcement personnel's most versatile vest.

Level III vests are designed to protect wearers against rifle-fire, certified to stop 7.62mm full metal jacketed rounds; with their SAPI pockets, ballistic plates can be added to upgrade its defense capabilities.

Level IV is typically used when high-velocity firepower is expected: this can stop .30 caliber armor-piercing rounds, with plates made of ceramics or other composite materials – these will shatter at the point of impact when struck by high-velocity rounds.

Ballistic and Stab Vests for Law Enforcement Agencies

Counter Terrorism:

For officers operating in counter-terrorism, the level of potential danger is likely to be higher than that faced by officers on standard patrol. Ballistic vests at levels III and IV are recommended, particularly those with SAPI plates: new models feature composite materials (like Polyethylene) as well as clay, to resist such rounds as .30 and M80 caliber.

SWAT:

Given the high-risk operations SWAT teams perform, ballistic vests are essential: overt vests at level III are the most recommended type – these protect against a wide variety of rounds without hindering movement in any way. Many level III carriers can be upgraded to level IV, by adding SAPI plates into available pockets.

Narcotics Teams:

From arresting suspected dealers on the street to raiding dens, narcotics teams require armor able to stop the most high-velocity ammunition. Narcotics officers may work undercover from time to time, and so need discreet armor able to withstand the most lethal firepower; fortunately, covert vests at levels III and IV are now available, carrying concealable plates for the highest level of protection.

FBI Agents

With new breakthroughs in temperature-regulating fabrics and contour-fit for covert vests, FBI agents can now wear armor under their everyday clothes for prolonged periods; whichever level of protection agents need, they can wear up to levels III and IV with more lightweight SAPI plates. With these new developments, agents can rest assured they are prepared for any situation.

Corrections Officers

Officers based in correctional facilities are unlikely to face gunfire from inmates (unless their handguns fall into the wrong hands). Blades and spikes (fashioned from such domestic items as toothbrushes and chair legs) are the biggest threats, making stab and spike protection essential to stay as safe as possible. The NIJ has three levels, based on the amount of energy an attacker uses in an assault. Kevlar in these latter protection types is woven more tightly than in ballistic vests, to trap pointed tips and create friction against blades; corrections officers are advised to wear vests of at least level II protection.

Monday, February 2, 2015

No Felonious Gunfire Deaths in January 2015

On average, a law enforcement officer in the United States has died as a direct result of gunfire every six days for the last thirty years.  In all, 1,825 law enforcement officers have been killed by gunfire since 1985.  

The Officer Down Memorial Page is pleased to report, however, that January 2015 marks the first month since September 2011 in which there were no felonious gunfire deaths of law enforcement officers in the United States.  

This is only the third month since 1985 in which no law enforcement gunfire deaths occurred.

There was, however, an accidental gunfire death this month, when Mississippi Gaming Commission Director of Investigations John Gorman was accidentally shot and killed during a training exercise.  Visit his memorial page and pay your respects here.

Although deaths in January of 2015 did increase over January of 2014, that was a result of higher instances of motor vehicle and heart attack deaths.

The Officer Down Memorial Page tracks law enforcement death statistics by type in the hopes that analysis of that information will enable a better understanding of how to keep officers safe and prevent more Line of Duty Deaths.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Updated for 2012: The deadliest days for cops are here

With the holidays fast approaching, it's time once again to remind all of our law enforcement officers that the three deadliest days LEOs face are right around the corner. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day are the three single days that the most LEOs are killed on throughout the year (with the exception of 9/11).

Day# LODDs
1. January 1st106
2. December 25th90
3. December 24th87

Whether you're facing a domestic disturbance call, suspicious person/vehicle, or responding to an emergency, it is imperative that you keep that heightened level of awareness this holiday season and always.

Never forget: Wear your vest. Wear your seatbelt. Slow down.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

2013 Honor Guard Seminar Announced

Chris Cosgriff, Executive Director of the Officer Down Memorial Page, will again be presenting at the annual Fairfax County Police Department Honor Guard Seminar, which will be held in June 2013. This 3-day seminar has taught dozens of Honor Guard units from throughout the United States and Canada the proper protocol for conducting a line of duty death funeral. The seminar culminates with a complete mock funeral to allow participants to practice in a real-world setting.

Please refer to the Fairfax Count Police Department's announcement for more information and registration instructions:

Some of the participants from a past seminar.
The Fairfax County Police Department Honor Guard will be hosting a three day training seminar June 24, 25, 26th, 2013.  Attached is the seminar registration form and course outline for your review.  This will be our eighth seminar.  We have received very positive feedback from all attendees.

We have broken down the training into eight training stations (see attached) which we will rotate every hour and fifteen minutes.  We will have class room instruction on how to prepare a line of duty death Teletype Message (TTY), Honor Guard budget and equipment companies from which to purchase supplies.  Mr. Chris Cosgriff, the chair of the Officer Down Memorial Page (www.odmp.org) will give a presentation on ODMP on day one of our seminar.  Day three we will transport the class to a funeral home/cemetery to practice a mock line of duty funeral.

There is a small fee of $185.00 per student to support the costs of hosting the seminar.  Each student will receive a copy of our Honor Guard SOP’s.  We have been told our is one of the best written LE Honor Guard manuals most have ever seen.  We also will have a barbeque dinner on the first night which is included in the registration fee.

The class size is limited to forty-eight students and is on a first come first serve basis.  This class generally fills up in less than two months.  We are limiting the enrollment to four students per agency.  Preference will be given to out of state agencies and first time attendees.  Once we receive your registration form and payment I will send you an e-mail confirming your team members are enrolled.

Download the registration form here, or contact Lt. Ken Baine for more information:

Lieutenant Ken Baine
Fairfax County Police Department Honor Guard Commander
3911 Woodburn Road
Annandale, Virginia  22003
703-449-7289
kenneth.baine@fairfaxcounty.gov

October 2012 Law Enforcement Fatality Report

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 1st, 2012

Fairfax, Va. - Eleven law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in October 2012, two fewer than were killed in September, but the fourth month in a row with double-digit deaths. In total, 101 law enforcement officers have fallen in the line of duty since January 1st, 2012.

Most notably, in October 2012:

  • Eleven (11) law enforcement officers (LEOs) were killed, compared to seven in October 2011
  • Two LEOs were shot and killed, including one in a case of mistaken identity
  • Five LEOs were killed in vehicle collisions
  • One LEO was beaten to death
  • One LEO was fatally stabbed
  • One LEO died in a training accident
  • One LEO died of a heart attack
Details on every line of duty death in 2012 can be obtained at http://www.ODMP.org/search/year/2012

The following charts are provided for reference and can be incorporated into any law enforcement training material or media reports. Please cite ODMP.

Law Enforcement Deaths by State in 2012 YTD

Not displayed: Washington, DC, had one (1) death; Puerto Rico had four (4) deaths; Virgin Islands had one (1) death.




Comparison of Law Enforcement Deaths, 2012 vs 2011 YTD





Causes of Law Enforcement Deaths in 2012 YTD


The data provided in this report is preliminary and subject to change based on final determinations of line of duty deaths. Accurate as of November 1, 2012.


About the Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP)
ODMP is a non-profit organization dedicated to remembering all fallen law enforcement officers by creating permanent online memorials, providing instant line of duty death notifications, and keeping cop-killers behind bars through its popular No Parole for Cop Killers initiative. With over 4-million unique visitors and 40-million page views annually, it is one of the most visited law enforcement web sites, and is referenced daily by law enforcement officers, leaders, and supporters nationwide. For more information, visit www.ODMP.org.


About the Crime Museum
The Crime Museum opened its doors in 2008 with a mission to educate and provide guests memorable insight into our Nation’s history of crime and judicial system. The museum examines law enforcement, forensic science, crime scene investigation (CSI) and the consequences of committing a crime. The museum is filled with over 100 interactives and highlights a fundamental commitment to capture the audience through an entertaining and educational experience. The Crime Museum is located on 7th Street NW between E and F Streets in downtown Washington, D.C. at the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro (Arena exit). Learn more at www.crimemuseum.org.