Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Band of Blue: ODMP hosts the National Police Week 5K

The National Police Week 5K is proudly hosted by the Officer Down Memorial Page

Each year, The Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP) proudly hosts the National Police Week 5K (NPW5K) in Washington D.C. to kick off National Police Week.

As the 2015 NPW5K approaches, we at ODMP would like to recognize those who support the law enforcement community: the individuals across the country and around the world who acknowledge and appreciate the sacrifice of the men and women behind the badge. 

These people make up what we like to call the Band of Blue

While the “Thin Blue Line” has long been the symbol that represents law enforcement officers (LEOs) who bravely work to protect and serve the public, those of us who have taken that oath to protect and serve understand that the blue line is made up not only of police officers, but of our family, friends, and community supporters as well.
 
This May, many members of the Band of Blue will come together to run in the National Police Week 5K. 

Together, we will remember those law enforcement officers who have fallen in the line of duty.  Together, we will support the organizations that pay tribute to those heroes and provide support to their survivors. 

Together, we will make a difference.


We hope you will join us.


Thank you for supporting our LEOs. Thank you for being part of the Band of Blue.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Line of Duty Deaths in the 21st Century


The Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP) maintains an extensive database with information on the more than 22,000 law enforcement line of duty deaths (LODDs) in United States history.  This data, though, is only useful if it is analyzed and publicized so that people can understand how, where, and when line of duty deaths most often occur.

With this thought in mind, ODMP director Chris Cosgriff set out to create a visual representation of our most recent LODDs---those that have taken place since 2000---with the hope that law enforcement agencies, training academies, and other groups will display it, share it, and learn from it.

Says Cosgriff, "The ODMP infographic showing line of duty deaths in the US from 2000-2014 gives a stark look at the dangers and truths of modern law enforcement, and illustrates in simple terms the sacrifice that law enforcement officers make.  Looking at these statistics, it is clear that line of duty deaths can happen to any officer--young or old, rookie or veteran.  It's vital that we use our information to educate the public and law enforcement officers alike on the real dangers that exist today." 

With this information, ODMP hopes to raise awareness so that the public can truly understand the dangers that law enforcement officers face and so that officers can adjust their tactics, driving habits, and so on in order to improve their own safety.

This poster is available as a free download on the Officer Down Memorial Page website.  It is printable up to sixe 13x19.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Georgia Teen Runs To Support Law Enforcement



MacKenna Gosart, a 13 year old runner from Georgia, is proving that age is not a factor when it comes to supporting the law enforcement community.

Gosart, who runs cross-country for her school, spent the month of January 2015 running one mile for each law enforcement officer who died in the line of duty in 2014 -- a total of 118 miles for the 118 officers whose watch ended last year.  She was inspired by her father, who works in law enforcement in Clayton County (GA), when she heard him discussing the line of duty deaths with a friend.

When family and friends learned about MacKenna's tribute, they wanted to help too.  Pledges and donations came in from all over, and by the end of the month, MacKenna had raised $11,000.  She donated that money to ODMP partner Armor of God, a non-profit organization that provides ballistic vests to law enforcement officers whose departments cannot issue them to every officer, and who often cannot afford the costly item on their own.

Clint Reck, the founder and director of Armor of God and a Captain with the Muscle Shoals (Alabama) Police Department said he was amazed and speechless when he got the call from MacKenna's father.

"I truly believe there are two things that will never change in Law Enforcement. The first is our mission to protect and serve our communities and fellow citizens -- a mission that has grown more dangerous each and every day," says Reck.  "The second is our commitment to working as a team to accomplish that mission. It is amazing for a teenager to be so focused on helping law enforcement officers across the country stay safe."

With the money from MacKenna, Reck says that Armor of God has already been able to send over 100 vests out to officers in need -- an average of 20 vests each week. The funds also helped cover the cost of shipping a large number of vests donated by the High Point (North Carolina) Police Department.   In addition, MacKenna's donation enabled Armor of God to incorporate and file for their 501(c)3, making their status as a non-profit official.  They've also started work on the creation of a new website that will streamline the process through which officers request and donate vests. 

And now, the Officer Down Memorial Page is proud to count MacKenna Gosart as a member of the National Police Week 5K  Virtual Team.  The NPW5K, hosted by ODMP, takes place in Washington DC during National Police Week in May each year. 

Since MacKenna will still be in the middle of her cross-country season, she can't make it to DC.  Instead, she'll be running a virtual 5K in Georgia, and helping, once again, to raise funds to support law enforcement.

MacKenna ran her first 5K with her dad when she was about seven years old.   "It wasn't a great showing, but it was a start to a great running journey," she says.  "When I run, I can escape from any stress or pressure that is bothering me, and it just makes me feel good. The race bling is an added bonus!"

And just how much does she run?  MacKenna says, "I run about 25-30 miles a week if I'm in training, but no less than 3 miles, 6 days a week during the off season. I'm not sure exactly how many races I've run, but if I had to guess, I'd say I've run about thirty 5Ks since I was seven.  I also run 10K and 15K races, and I'm going to run a 10-Miler and 1/2 Marathon this fall."

When asked what made her want to use her talent to support law enforcement, MacKenna said, "There are so many people in this world that don't realize what our men and women in blue do for us every day. They work long hours, for little pay, and it's a dangerous job. My dad has been in law enforcement for 6 years and I've seen the effects of this daily task. These courageous officers deserve so much more respect than what they get.  I just thought I could help."

ODMP is proud to have MacKenna on our Virtual 5K team. 

If you'd like to donate to MacKenna's fundraising page, click here.

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.