The recent deaths of law enforcement officers while deploying tire deflation devices (TDD) highlights why the Below 100 Inititiative is so important and why it will work. The editor of Law Officer Magazine, Dale Stockton, recently highlighted some excellent points on deployment safety and these premises are so very important.
I’ve been involved in tire deployment testing, deployment and training for a number of years and these devices are very important in the management of police pursuits but like all of our equipment, we must use them correctly. The details on the recent deaths are still limited, but in general, we know that deaths and injuries to law enforcement officers deploying TDD almost always occur while the officer is in or near the roadway.
So the question is why does this happen and can these deaths be avoided?
Ultimately, training and policy should dictate the use of TDD and while I see many solid policies, the training involved in TDD is very lacking in most jurisdictions. The most common method to train is to watch a short video generally produced by the TDD manufacturer and then have the officer throw the devices a few times.
Is that sufficient?
I think that’s an obvious answer. I’ve received numerous complaints from officers that know their training is not sufficient in this area. Would we ever consider giving someone a Taser by watching a short video and deploy it a few times? Not only is that typically a full day of training, but officers are required to “re-certify” on a periodic basis. Why’s that? Well, if Taser’s are not used correctly, they can be dangerous and even deadly. That sounds like tire deflation devices as well and unfortunately in the last two weeks we have seen tragedy.
Below 100 Emphasis – W.I.N. – What’s Important Now
My friend and colleague Brian Willis says it best: “This one powerful question allows us to prioritize decisions, choices, actions and events in our personal and professional lives. It keeps us safe….”
While training may be to blame in some situations, officers place themselves in danger while deploying TDD because they understand the inherent danger of police pursuits. The choice is made to stand in or at the roadway with a speeding vehicle approaching because we are accustomed to placing ourselves in danger. That is what we do. We place ourself between the bad guy and the citizens but at what point do we step back and apply W.I.N.?
We apply it at all times and only then will we have a proper view of when to use the valuable tool of a tire deflation device and we will be well on our way to Below 100.