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.
I was coming onto shift and was told to transport a person with a warrant to the local county jail. I was getting all of the paperwork together when the arrestee began yelling at me.
He was only yelling to get my attention.
Knowing he was handcuffed to a table in an interview room, I told him, “Wait, let me get stuff organized and we will be on our way.” He replied, “No it’s really important.”
I stepped into the room and he had a very large switchblade in his hand. He said, “Brother, I just wanted you to know I have this, and I didn’t want to get in trouble with it.” He then handed it to me.
After he handed it to me, my stomach dropped. I locked the knife away, searched him again, and continued with my job.
The arrestee was very polite and asked, “Am I gonna get charged with the switchblade?” I smiled and said, “Nope, I’m just thankful you were honest and didn’t slit my throat.” He assured me he wasn’t a bad guy, just made some bad decisions along the way.
I took a picture of the knife and notified the arresting officer.
Here’s the bottom line: always assume everyone is armed. Even if they were searched by another officer. Thankfully, this arrestee wasn’t a bad guy and was honest with me.
Because of that, I went home to my wife and son that night, and now everyone gets searched two or three times.
- FIRST: Go into a prisoner search expecting to find a weapon or contraband. If you happen to locate an item of that nature, don’t assume that is all the individual has concealed. Keep searching until you’ve completed a thorough search. Remember, your life and the lives of your fellow officers depend on you completing a thorough search.
- SECOND: When taking custody of a prisoner from another officer or from a holding facility, immediately conduct a thorough search of the prisoner. Don’t assume the officer or facility who had possession of the prisoner did their job by conducting a thorough search. It’s your life on the line, so don’t make assumptions.
“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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