We are very excited to announce the launch of our new VIDEO CENTRAL for law enforcement members only. These exclusive videos are short training videos on LODDs produced by us for you. Videos will be available in seven categories: Assassinations, Vehicle Enforcement, Friendly Fire, Undercover/Off-Duty, Pedestrian Stops, Disturbances, and Warrant Service. These 5-10 minute videos will make sharing the lessons of these incidents easier than ever. I hope you will check them out.
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.
Terrible events took place in my hometown last night, where I served as a Dallas police officer until 2003.
Five officers have been murdered by one or more snipers armed with rifles on a rooftop. We don't yet know all the officers' names. Full details are still coming out, but every single person in this country needs to take a minute to think about these officers' deaths.
These officers gave their lives to protect our way of life. They died trying to ensure that protesters could have their say in a public place without fear of being hurt or killed for their beliefs. It does not matter what we might personally believe about protesters or the BLM movement in particular. As Americans, we believe in the right for people to have their say. This is one of the fundamental rights in the United States: freedom of speech, and lawful public assembly without violence. No matter what YOU believe, OTHERS have a right to believe (or protest) something else. We cannot let anyone-- especially cop-killers-- take this way of life away from us.
There are no words for this. It was the intentional targeting of police officers by a shooter concealed on a position of high ground and filled with hatred for law enforcement officers who stand as the only guardians of our basic freedoms. Just a couple of blocks from the location where JFK was shot to death in a similar type of ambush, these officers were assassinated without any opportunity to defend themselves. Its an unthinkable nightmare, and it is just beginning.
My heart is with these officers, DPD as a whole and their families. These officers will never be forgotten.
Good news, gang. I'm working with the great folks at the NRA HQ in Fairfax, VA to bring you another tuition-free course on LODDs in summer 2017.
Officer Down 2017 will bring you the latest research and all the information about line-of-duty deaths of police due to firearms. We had a full house there three years ago and expect the same this year. I will be working on dates for you and hope to see you there.
Just a quick heads up regarding Officer Down 2014. It's in final copy-editing and the release is imminent. I appreciate all of the calls about the release date and all the support I have been getting about the decision to release this as a stand-alone book.
I'm more than a year behind, I know. But, I'm doing the best I can to continue my work on this project because it is so important to the profession. Sometimes life gets in the way and you have to adjust.
This book examines all the firearms-related deaths of police officers in 2013. There were some key trends I saw that were completely new. We lost more officers of color in 2013 and "stranded motorists" are becoming riskier than ever.
I hope you will pick up your copy and add it to your training library.
Gang, I'm getting so many requests, I have decided to release the OD14 edition as an e-book. To keep your (and my) costs to a minimum, this book will be available as a PDF on this site or on Amazon for you Kindle fans.
Because the LODD numbers were down in 2013, I was going to combine them into one volume with 2 years' worth of incidents for a book called OD15. My readers are not happy about this plan and have let me know as much. Thanks for the feedback, and I have listened.
Final touches are readying OD14 for release as I write. I'm wrapping up the details for the stunning cover image and am finishing an actual index with page numbers for easy reference (new this year!). Thanks for all your patience. I am looking forward to seeing this work put into your hands ASAP.
One last thing: I did drop the prices on all my previous Officer Down books this weekend. They are all available as PDFs now and on Kindle for $2.99. If you are a new Officer Down series reader, you can pick them up cheap and get caught up on four years worth of incidents. All told, there are nearly a thousand pages written on this project. Find out what I know about these shootings and help others survive. Thanks, guys.
Gang, I've been swamped with tons of other projects so my blog has suffered. Sorry!
Some of my projects are (way) outside the law enforcement profession. But, I'm back involved now and looking to get back to work on the Officer Down project ASAP.
WHAT IS THAT MONSTROSITY IN THE PICTURE? It's a dream coming true, my friends. All this month, I've been hard at work on developing the online scenario-based training dream I have had for the past few years. I've tried out a number of tools in the past three years, but had no luck moving forward. I finally found a good fit with INKLE, a UK-based company. INKLE is geared towards authors and brings a seamless, "choose your own adventure" kind of feel to the training environment. Especially for younger generations of police officers-- those awesome, tech-savvy Millennials and their video-game-playing friends (that includes me)-- the online, branching platform will be useful and reach them like never before.
In testing the system myself, I found that I remembered more about the incidents and dilemmas presented than I would if I just read my books. One tester reported it was a little bit more like they were "there" with the officer. Or, that they "were the officer". That's exactly the feel I am looking for. I'm not trying to build a no-win system with Officer Down (BETA). I'm trying to reward good choices and offer those gentle reminders when you start to (or do) make bad choices.
Have you had a chance to check out the online training on this site yet? Go to the Train Online tab and visit for yourself. Make the decisions and see how you do. It's not easy! Then, please do me a huge favor and complete the survey when you are done. For a limited time, the online training is free and unlocked for anyone who wants to try it out. I'm grateful for the feedback.