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.
Working on a narcotics team with the organized crime division, we got a call about a load of dope being delivered.
We had a location, a vehicle and a suspect description, the approximate time of delivery and enough cops to handle the call. The team set up and observed the suspect vehicle arrive. He drove off and the team followed in multiple unmarked vehicles.
We had one takedown unit initiate a stop on a major highway outside the city limits. The team conducted a felony car stop. I was the last unit on the scene, and once out of the vehicle, the driver was passed back to me.
I escorted him to the side of the road in the grass, where I forced him to the ground with my left hand. I still had my 1911 .45 in my right hand. I had recently started using the .45, having spent my entire career with double action guns.
In the heat of the moment, I didn’t put the safety back on the .45 because it hadn’t become muscle memory, yet.
As I went to re-holster to prepare to handcuff the suspect, the cuticle of my trigger finger caught the holster as I felt for it during the re-holstering process. When I went to push the pistol into the holster, my finger caught the trigger and discharged the pistol in the holster, causing a nice scorch mark on my pants.
The bullet went into the ground. No one was injured. The suspect was released without any evidence being recovered. I was ordered to attend remedial firearms training, but by the time I went, I had already sold the gun.
- Train on all new equipment and become very familiar with it, especially a firearm, before deploying it on patrol.
- Always re-holster before going hands on with a suspect. If lethal cover of a suspect must be maintained, another officer should provide cover so the contact officer’s hands are free to control the suspect.
“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.
Thank you for allowing us to share this article with you.
Please leave a comment about this article below.
Our editor can be contacted with any questions here – EMAIL
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.