Changing Attitudes... Improving Training... Increasing Accountability... Mobilizing Leadership...
2012 was a Milestone Year for California
January 11, 2013
In 2012, the State of California did not lose a single officer in a vehicle-related line-of-duty death. That is a first. This milestone is an encouraging sign that our collective efforts are making a difference.
How significant is this? According to data from both the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund and the Officer Down Memorial Page, the State of California has lost a minimum of two officers in vehicle related incidents every year going back to 1950 (where staff stopped looking). From 1950 through 2011, California lost a total of 371 officers in vehicle related incidents - an average of 6 a year. Recent “peak” years were 2005 and 2003 with 10 fatalities each.
We will never know how many line-of-duty deaths or career-ending injuries we have averted here in California and elsewhere, but unquestionably the issue of SAFE Driving is on the forefront like never before.
Nonetheless, there is still much work to be had. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, 52 officers nationwide lost their lives in 2012 as the result of vehicle-related incidents. This is down from 61 vehicle-related deaths in 2011. However, as is always the case, many, if not most, of these vehicle-related deaths were unquestionably preventable. And again, vehicle-related deaths in 2012 exceeded those killed by gunfire.
Dale Stockton (editor of Law Officer Magazine, founder of Below 100 and a SAFE Driving Campaign Advisory Board member) has posted a thought-provoking piece on the Law Officer Magazine Website. In looking at vehicle-related deaths for 2012, Dale states “We continue to lose way too many officers in situations that were absolutely preventable. Failing to use seat belts and speed are the two areas that are most responsible for these deaths.” Read the entire article; Lessons Learned from Lives Lost on the Law Officer Magazine Website.
Let us further build on the momentum we have achieved for a safer 2013.
Wear your seatbelt, watch your speed, and practice SAFE driving!
The SAFE Driving Campaign is a POST initiative focused on reducing fatal and serious injury law enforcement traffic collisions nationwide. For further information regarding the SAFE Driving Campaign, visit the SAFE Driving Campaign on the POST Website or contact:
Robert "R.C." Smith, POST Senior Consultant
Training Program Services Bureau