We uploaded our first video to YouTube. It's also here on our site. I hope you will check it out.
If you have not read the new report from NLEOMF on fatal encounters, you will want to do so. They are trying to share a lot of information about LODDs based on their own analysis of data. One area where I am thrilled to see NLEOMF supporting law enforcement: the need for ballistic helmets and patrol rifles. Absolutely, this is correct. Perhaps, departments will start to listen.
I have other concerns about this report, however. While it attempts to offer good insight into the particular incidents that were hand-picked for their study, they avoided many cases that are pivotal in understanding modern violence against police. Domestic disturbances are NOT the chief cause of LODDs by gunfire. They are WAY, WAY down the list of dangerous activities for police in the past five years.
I could give you a "when-I-was-a-rookie" story about how dangerous domestics were "back in the 90's," but I won't. Things have changed and many people who are new to LODD research do not recognize this. I believed the same thing when I first began looking at LODDs in 2010. I thought it would be all rookies, old-heads and domestics. Boy, was I wrong.
Don't take my word for it. Look for yourself.
Take a look at the research matrix I have posted on this site. Under the Circumstances column, scroll through the four years of incidents and look for "disturbance" or "domestic." There are a few, but NOT THAT MANY. Only about 15% of officers killed by firearms are killed on disturbance-type calls.
Approaching people in cars, stopping pedestrians, foot pursuits, ambushes and warrant service are the big elephants in the room. Here is where you really need to be careful today if you want to go home each shift.
Let's avoid being "politically correct" when we are talking about police lives.
This report doesn't tell you that police are usually killed by being shot in the head by a suspect. More than 50% of officers every year killed by firearms are killed in this way. Maybe that's not a "politically correct" thing to say in today's divided world, but it's the truth. That's the reason you need a ballistic helmet.
To be fair, NLEOMF's study excluded situations like warrant service, ambushes, assassinations, and many other kinds of incidents. They are trying to focus on three things: self-directed activity, calls for service and crashes. It's a report with good intentions, I am certain. HOWEVER: this report does not tell the whole story about firearms-related LODDs. You have to go deeper and spend a great deal more time with these incidents, these officers and these shooters to get the whole story. I know because I have been doing this for every officer killed by firearms for five years.
I've added a page to my site to help share more information about the case studies used in the NLEOMF report. I hope you will take the time to get the whole story on these officers.
I was out on a quick trip to Target in Gainesville, VA with my family yesterday when I spotted a fallen officer's brother inside the store doing the honored work of police officers everywhere, serving his community on just another ordinary day. Officer Dale Yung, a Prince William County (VA) police officer, was on-duty assisting a group of paramedics inside the store. I recognized Dale from his uniform and distinctive expression as a survivor of a very personal police tragedy.
Dale's brother, Prince William County Officer Chris Yung, was taken from us on December 31, 2012 in an on-duty motorcycle crash outside of another Target store in Bristow, VA. I pass his small, roadside memorial there almost every week, as thousands of us do in this area. I still remember when I heard Dale speak with great emotion and tremendous raw love about his brother at Officer Yung's funeral service. He presented himself as someone in the midst of a terrible grief. Dale was, and still is, courageous like his brother was. Chris would be proud to know that Dale still wears the badge and carries on with the important mission of protecting and serving the public today.
What can you say to the brother of a fallen officer? It's not easy to know. Here is what I said:
"Are you Chris Yung's brother? I want to shake your hand. Thank you for what you and your family have done for this community. We will never forget. We still miss Chris every day."
God bless the Yung family. They deserve our respect and appreciation always, like the families of all fallen officers everywhere.
[Pictured: Dale and Brian Yung at the police memorial courtesy of Washington Times]
These are the faces of some the fallen officers whose stories are still being told in Officer Down Online. They still have something to teach all of us.
I've been working all summer to get full scenarios put into Officer Down Online, the online training system for members of this site. I now have 44 scenarios ready for members to try out. The first 8 scenarios are available in the free version.
I've also been doing a lot of research about the training that is currently available for police officers like us. What do you think is a reasonable cost to pay for online training that costs hundreds of hours to craft, create, and test? I see training platforms that want you to pay $50, $100, or even $500 for yearly access to online training. I think that's an impossible dilemma for you.
Sometimes, I have wondered what my work is worth to the hundreds of officers who have attended my training seminars or read my books. Only my former students can tell you what my work has been worth to them. The conversations I have had with my attendees, survivor officers and police families who have lost friends like the men shown above have changed my life. They still have the power to change your life, too.
I want you to know these officers' true stories. I want to do what I can to make sense of these incidents for you and active police officers everywhere. Try out the free version of the training (8 scenarios) and decide for yourself what it is worth. Individual memberships are priced at just $10. I've also reduced the costs of ALL of my Officer Down books to $5.99 or less on Amazon. You can now learn everything I have learned about 140+ LODDs in five years of study for less than $20.
I think their lessons are priceless. You alone should decide if I am right or wrong.