Officer Safety

Crossing the Lines


Michael Warren

April 7, 2022

April 7, 2022

I just finished reading an article over on Police1 that really concerned me. The article covers an incident where three officers were shot DURING a pursuit. Thankfully it sounds like the officers will be fine.

What worries me (besides the increased number of and level of violence directed at law enforcement officers) is the variety of situations you must be prepared to face.

By show of hands, how many of you have considered what you would do if faced with the same situation these officers encountered? How many of you know what your policy allows you to do? What about the law - what can you legally do?

Yeah. My hand was kind of half raised too. And that’s an improvement over a lot of my career - where my hand would have been completely down.

I recognize that we can’t possibly imagine all of the possible scenarios that may be faced. But we can do more than we are doing. We can talk through these possibilities with our shift mates, supervisors, and subject matter experts.

I also realize that our training can’t address all the myriad of rabbit holes. We can’t - well, we shouldn’t - be shooting holes in patrol cars during training (still bugs me too, Francis). But we can maybe do some shooting while seated. Or do some drawing drills while buckled into our seat.

What I am getting at, is that your safety often depends on your response to multiple situations within the same incident. Your ability to cross the line, if you will, from one type of issue to another. Most of us haven’t taken our firearms training to the EVOC track – and I’m not advocating for physically doing that. But our mind has to have done that – it has to have crossed the line. So when the incident evolves that way, we are ready to respond.

Work in the law enforcement profession, including corrections and dispatch, can become incredibly complex. Your ability to handle these situations depends heavily on your mind – and whether or not your mind has crossed those lines.