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Paul Clinton

Paul Clinton

As the POLICE Web editor, Paul Clinton contributes posts about patrol cars, motorcycles, and other police vehicles. He previously wrote about automotive electronics as managing editor of Mobile Electronics. Prior to that, he was an award-winning newspaper reporter.



William Harvey

William Harvey

William "Bill" Harvey is currently serving as chief of police in south central Pennsylvania. He retired from the Savannah (Ga.) Police Department where he worked assignments in training, patrol, and CID. Harvey has more than 25 years of experience working with recruits, rookies, and FTOs.
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Safety is Your Business

It is dangerous enough out there; don't complicate life with lax habits.

September 05, 2008  |  by William Harvey - Also by this author

Well it is time for the old trainer to come out in me. Usually I am a nice kind of guy but there are times where…well, I have to be me. Safety is something that we cannot compromise ever! If you want to pluck my nerve, do anything unsafe.

Look at Your Life

As a recruit, each day in your early career sets a tone for the rest of your career. Little things can become habits; bad ones can hurt you. First of all, you are now strapping on body armor to protect yourself from projectiles that evil people can hurl at you. Then you strap on a handgun so you can launch some projectiles back at them. On your belt is an array of devices that spray chemicals, shock, expand, deliver blows and so forth. You are dealing with the small percentage of the populous that does not like you for what you are. So why are we complicating this matter? Nearly every month, I read of a police officer who was injured or killed in training. Why? Stop and answer me now. Why?

Safety is a Habit

I want you to think about your daily routines in preparing for the job. We load, check, adjust, and readjust so many accoutrements. It becomes second nature and soon our safety checks gets lax. Every department has one great knee-slapper of a story. But to me, if someone could have been injured or worse I hate it.

I am not going to belabor you with firearms safety 101. You each have rangemasters who have drilled it all into your memory: Fingers off triggers, don't point at anything you aren't willing to shoot, and so forth. Double check yourself next shift. Especially if you are at home and if you have wee ones! Safety here is for real and your responsibility.

Do not perform unsafe acts due to laziness. Clearing a weapon should be done in the clearing barrel while adhering to all safety procedures. Just because you are lazy, or think nobody is looking or this one time it won't hurt is not a valid excuse; I don't want to hear it. Follow the rules.

Don't Let Others Off the Hook Either

Rank here means nothing to me either. Don't even think that just because you are a recruit you have no say. Everyone is responsible to be the safety officer for the other cop. Don't think you should keep your mouth shut because it's only a higher-up's job to enforce safety rules. You think the cop who ends up in the emergency room when you could have prevented his injury will want to hear this excuse?

I want results here and no excuses. Visualize each and every task or function you perform today. I want you to verbalize to yourself a safety statement about each task. Make yourself think and set your work habits early in your career. And may it be a long, safe career at that.

Train smart and train safe.

Tags: officer safety


Comments (1)

Displaying 1 - 1 of 1

David Moore S-55 @ 9/15/2008 10:26 PM

Chief- Harvey -
Excellent and what is needed from the top to the troops; Staying Alert - Staying Informed and most importantly, "Staying Aliveā€ for family and community!! As one person can and does make a difference. Millions saw the apple fall, but only Newton asked Why??
V/r
Dave Moore

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