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 patrol supervisor left his patrol car at the department’s car wash station for a trustee to clean the inside and outside of the car. After washing the outside of the car, the trustee flagged another officer down and excitedly stated that he had found a gun under the driver’s seat.
The second officer ended up finding a TEC-9 9mm pistol with a fully loaded 30-round magazine shoved under the front driver’s seat. It was obvious that it had come from behind the driver’s seat originating in the prisoner cage.
It was later determined that the supervisor had become complacent over the years. He would take officers at their word that they had searched their prisoners on those occasions when he assisted in transporting prisoners.
For a suspect to have made it into the backseat of the patrol car armed with a firearm of that size, only the most rudimentary and incomplete search could have been done.
The supervisor also admitted that he had quit checking the back seat and floorboards of his patrol car for quite some time, which conflicted with department policy clearly dictating differently.
CONTRIBUTING RISK FACTORS
- Deviation from policy and training
- Lack of communication
- Arresting officers should always search every arrestee completely. A cursory search or pat-down of an arrestee is not a search.
- If the arrestee is turned over to a transporting officer, the transporting officer must conduct a thorough search of the prisoner, even if the arresting officer or another officer said the suspect had already been searched.
- Always handcuff subjects behind their backs to degrade their ability to access contraband.
- At the start of your tour of duty and after every prisoner transport, thoroughly search the backseat and the floorboards of the police vehicle used for the transport.
- Always assume that suspects are armed and conduct searches with the expectation of finding a concealed weapon.
“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.