Line of Duty Death

2008 Oct 2 Posted by Mark

The Philosopher, George Santayana, never made a truer comment when he uttered the words “Those who do not learn from history are bound to repeat it.” It is in this spirit that I bring this topic to you.
Over 100 firefighters will be honored this weekend at the National Fire Academy during the annual National Firefighters Memorial Weekend. Every year the United States averages 100 firefighter’s fatalities and so far this year 95 police officers have died in the United States since the beginning of this year alone. What is wrong with this picture?

I think you will agree with me when I say that we have placed the black band around our badges too many times, and we saw way too many friends take that final ride. This most likely would not have been as disturbing to me had it not been for a pattern of reoccurrence that I still continue to see. In many cases we have not learned from our history, and we continued to repeat those same mistakes that have killed many good people. Have we become so complacent that we don’t remember until it hits close to home?
As a Chief, I often spent a minimum of an hour per week reading reports about firefighter fatalities. I believed that I could prevent deaths and injuries by educating myself in what caused those deaths then making sure those mistakes weren’t repeated in my department. In my years as a command officer, my crew suffered no deaths and only one injury. Unfortunately, I was the one injured, and that occurred while checking conditions for the safety of my crews.
We all have responsibility to keep ALL Public Safety Officers safe. Now is the time for you to quit burying your head in the sand and to begin taking action. Start by reading reports that describe what happened and how it could have been prevented. Firefighters can learn these from NIOSH reports or the website named Honor their Sacrifices and others. I am sure that there are other sites for Law Enforcement, Emergency Management, and others. I encourage you to list these links and to make a commitment to read these studies. You should also consider your Capella education as another step in keeping learning to keep those around you safe. The life you save may be your own, or even someone you work with.
By all means, please feel free to share your ideas for safety, websites to study or anything else you think may help. We need to share this information for everybody’s safety, after all, aren’t we our brother’s (and sister’s) keeper?

Take Care and Stay Safe
Mark S. Warnick

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5 Responses to “Line of Duty Death”

Jack Brady Says:

I enjoyed your post Mark and agree wholeheartedly. You are probably preaching to the choir, but we need to become the best choir and get more to join the choir.

JSMITH41 Says:

I have spent 30 years in LE and was a member of the Honor Guard and whenever we had to perform for anyfallen PS person, it hurt. I wondered, if that life could have been saved and I realized that , in order to make a difference, I must follow a safety plan and be a symbol for someone else to follow.
thanks for your awareness and concern for others.
Jerry Smith

KSmith35 Says:

There is one segment of law enforcement that many omit or do not include in ‘law enforcement’ are the correctional officers. Many refer to these professionals as ‘guards’; these people are more than guards, they are also front line counselors, front line medics and also the enforcers. Just because these people are not out in the public eye, many are not considered law enforcement. These officers are POST certified and have limited arrest powers.

There have several killed in the line of duty but are seldom recognized for their efforts and dedication to protecting the public. I have worked for over 17 years in the prison system in the state of Georgia and have known a few officers that have been killed or seriously injured. THey only recognition that was given to them was in-house.

Kevin Smith

Charles Says:

Kevin, thanks for your comment. Correctional officers are absolutely a critical part of the public safety team! I know that we, here at Capella, have built our public safety program with that recognition and designed the Leadership specialization to be applicable for those in that field as well. I salute correctional officers for their work!

Charles Says:

Jerry, like yourself, in my 32 years, I have seen far too many of our PS heroes fall. If safety planning, or even our discussions here, can save just one life we have served a great good for our fellow public safety member, that family, that community and for the nation.

Thanks for the comment.

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