2016 was a deadly year for our LEOs. 64 LEOs were killed by gun fire which is an increase of almost 60% over 2015. This death toll seems to rise every year. Unfortunately, I believe this is going to be the norm and not the exception. Whether you want to believe it or not, there is a war on Cops due to the lack of respect in our declining culture. In order to help minimize this death toll, changes need to be made in police response, training and equipment. In order for this to take place, the mindset of the command staff needs to change. Most departments realize the problem but are doing very little or do not know how to confront this problem. Personally, I am tired of going to police funerals; especially when you see the grieving family of the fallen officer(s); especially, when you hear the circumstances surrounding the incident and know that my Shield could have made a difference.
Before 2001, protecting airports with long guns and full auto weapons was unheard of in the U.S. Look what’s happening today at our airports! Our LEOs are policing a lawless and ungrateful culture and changes need to be made in uniform patrol as well. There are many theories why this is happening and I am sure that each theory has some validity. In my opinion, it is the breakdown of family values; such as lack of respect, responsibility and accountability. Until this mindset changes, law enforcement will continue to be the easy target. The command staff needs to put in place certain SOPs that protect their own.
First, the command staff, line supervisors and the training staff should concentrate on minimizing foot pursuits; especially at night and in high crime areas. They are at the top of the list for LEOs getting hurt or killed. That’s what radios, perimeters, K-9, helicopters and crime labs are for. Get a warrant! This is coming from a retired cop who has always chased. This rule would be hard for me to follow! Do as I say and not as I did!
Second, and most important, changes need to come in the form of equipment. 70% to 80% of our LEO’s deaths can be contributed to four primary calls:
- Traffic Stops
- Domestic Calls
- Suspicious Person Calls
- Suspicious Vehicle Calls
These calls have a greater tendency for danger and escalation. If a subject produces an unexpected gun or deadly weapon and the LEO’s weapon is in the holstered position, the LEO can/will be injured or killed. You cannot outdraw a subject that has a gun in hand! On the other hand, responding to a call with gun in hand would probably be considered over the top if no immediate threat is initially seen. The immediate reaction for this type of situation is covered under the product section of the I.R. Shield.
When you hear of a LEO that was shot and killed, you can pretty much surmise that the LEO was shot either with a long gun or the LEO was shot in the vital, head and/or neck area with a hand gun. Long guns are a special threat to our LEOs because they penetrate body armor. The ratio is 85% to 15%… handgun over long gun. The 15% that occurred using long guns were all ambushes and the LEO(s) never had a chance. Even if they had level III Shields, they would not have taken them for they never knew the extent of the threat. If they knew this type of threat existed, SWAT would have been called. We need to concentrate on the 85% where we can make a difference. This is the reason that I created the I.R. Shield.
Ted Bradley – Clear Ballistic Shield Specialist
CEO / METT-T
Miami-Dade Police Department (Retired)