Editor’s Note: The crew of CopBlue is pleased have LEO NEAR MISS as our partner. Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) Near Miss is a voluntary, non-disciplinary officer safety initiative that allows cops to read about and anonymously share stories of close calls or “near misses,” which provide lessons learned that can protect fellow officers in similar situations.
One article will be featured each month to share with the CopBlue family of Street Cops. We believe this is just another way that we can expand our effort to, ‘Save just ONE life.’ Please join us and welcome LEO Near Miss to the CopBlue family.
A county officer conducted a traffic stop for a minor traffic violation. There were two occupants in the vehicle. A state trooper was providing backup. Upon contact, the officer detected the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle.
The officer removed the driver from the vehicle and located a pistol on his person during a pat down. There was a brief struggle, but the officer was able to place the driver under arrest without further incident.
The trooper removed the passenger from the vehicle and patted him down with negative results. The passenger was placed in handcuffs, but an arrest was not anticipated at the time. The officer then patted down the passenger, who was in handcuffs, and found no contraband, either.
A county supervisor and a second county officer arrived on scene to investigate the use of force. The primary county officer indicated that the driver was under arrest and the passenger would be released from the scene.
The supervisor wanted to get a statement about the incident from the passenger and instructed the newly arrived county officer to un-cuff the passenger. The newly arrived county officer conducted a pat down prior to removing the handcuffs and located a pistol in the passenger’s groin area.
Both searches by officer and trooper had missed the pistol in the passenger’s groin area.
FIRST: Use correct search techniques every time.
I believe gender played a role in this incident. The primary county officer and state trooper were both male, whereas the second county officer who ultimately located the weapon was a female. I believe she was less bashful about patting down the groin area of a male subject.
SECOND: The officer who finally located the pistol is currently assigned to an elite crime prevention unit. As such, she is very aware of weapon concealment.
Agencies should consider providing supplemental training on identifying characteristics of weapon concealment to patrol officers during annual in-service training.
This training is currently offered for free through the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s VALOR (Preventing Violence Against Law Enforcement and Ensuring Officer Resilience and Survivability) Program. Check www.valorforblue.org for more information.
“Above all, it’s about going home at the end of the shift … “
We couldn’t agree more.
If you would like to read more stories like this one, please visit LEOnearmiss.org. We also ask that you consider sharing any near misses you have experienced. The five minutes you take to share your story can save the life of a brother or sister in blue.
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LEO Near Miss Overview
Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) Near Miss is a voluntary, non-disciplinary officer safety initiative that allows cops to read about and anonymously share stories of close calls or “near misses,” which provide lessons learned that can protect fellow officers in similar situations.
A near miss is defined as any incident that could have resulted in a law enforcement officer being seriously injured or killed if not for a fortunate break in the chain of events. Near misses oftentimes include contributing factors like hazardous conditions, subjects with concealed weapons, failed equipment, or lapses in situational awareness.
Regardless of the situation, they provide lessons learned, and reporting a near miss allows fellow officers to learn from these incidents so they can go home to their loved ones after every shift. Officers often share their near misses with their close friends, but rarely are these stories, and the lessons learned from them, shared with officers across the country. LEO Near Miss provides a secure way for cops to share this vital information.
LEO Near Miss is strictly for promoting peer learning and enhancing officer safety and wellness. Officers can visit LEOnearmiss.org or download the free smartphone app (LEO Near Miss), read the lessons learned from near misses experienced by other officers, and anonymously share their own near-miss experiences.
Near-miss stories submitted to LEO Near Miss go directly to the Police Foundation (www.PoliceFoundation.org), an independent, non-profit research and training organization that manages the system in partnership with other national organizations like Below 100, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, the Officer Down Memorial Page, and the National Tactical Officers Association. Each story received undergoes a two-stage review process by current and former law enforcement to remove all personally identifying information (ensuring anonymity when published) and to highlight important takeaways for improving officer safety.
Once a story has finished the review process (about 7-10 days), any personally identifying information is permanently deleted from our records, and the story is made available for vetted law enforcement personnel to access on the LEO Near Miss website and smartphone app. Furthermore, no IP addresses are ever tracked or linked to any stories submitted to the system, and officers do not need to log in to submit a story.
Please support this critical officer safety initiative by reading and sharing the near-miss stories and lessons learned that your fellow officers have shared, and please consider sharing your own near-miss experiences at LEOnearmiss.org or through our free smartphone app. The five minutes you take to share your story can save the life of a brother or sister in blue.
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