Below 100 Star of the Month: Officer Michael Bernard
Officer Mike Bernard has been an officer since July of 2003. He has served with the Village of Lennon, MI and he is currently with the Richfield Township Police Department in Davison, MI. Michael has served as his department’s Taser Instructor, firearms instructor, and a PPCT Defensive Tactics instructor. Officer Bernard has been making an incredible impact on his department and area by spreading the mission of Below 100. We thank Michael for his dedication to this initiative and have taken note of the incredible impact one person can have on keeping officers alive.
How have you implemented the Below 100 philosophy in your area?
In August 2011, I was fortunate enough to attend a FLETC Office of State and Local Law Enforcement Training Symposium held in Traverse City, MI. Included in the training was the Below 100 initiative which had impacted me like nothing else. I felt I needed to do my part to make a difference in my fellow brothers’ and sisters’ lives to ensure we all do what is needed to make it home to our families and get our brothers and sisters home to theirs. I had to bring the Below 100 initiative to my area and made an effort by creating and mailing out numerous large magnet type posters (to display for all officers to see) to different agencies with them being addressed to the Chief of that agency or the Post Commander of the Michigan State Police. I had also created dozens of business card size Below 100 magnets to disperse to individual officers (making the magnet more personal) for placement wherever they would like. I felt the magnets were great however I needed to do more. I had one hundred decals of the Below 100 insignia made and placed one on each side window of our department cruisers. The remaining decals were given away to disperse at Below 100 training classes. I also placed the same decals on my personal truck along with one large Below 100 outline on the rear window of my truck knowing those officers who have been introduced to Below100, will know what the decals stand for. New ideas are coming and will be implemented as well.
What do you think is the most dangerous thing an officer does and what could be done to mitigate the danger?
Our roles as law enforcement officers regrettably cause us to “get in a rut.” Our daily duties of responding to the same call types, treating each traffic stop as a simple violation and even patrolling the neighborhoods as if nothing could happen, cause us to be unprepared in the event a traumatic incident takes place. Of course, we are all trained to respond in various ways we could respond to an incident which we are dispatched to and may have ample information at hand. When the time comes when we are faced with an instant of terror and we are treating that call or traffic stop as one of the rest, we are at a huge disadvantage and take our own lives into our own hands. If we anticipate an outcome of violence upon us and do not actually experience it, we still have an advantage by being prepared if that does occur. If that same incident does result in violence against us and we anticipated it, we are more prepared to respond in less time and have a higher probability of walking away from that incident.
What is your philosophy/policy on wearing seatbelts and vests?
Seatbelts and vests are thankfully required within our agency and to my knowledge/observations, are adhered to 100%. We enforce the law of seatbelts which was created in order to save lives. We as officers need to also enforce this law upon ourselves since the lives those seatbelts may be saving are ours. Our vests are detrimental to our safety. We owe it to our fellow brothers and sisters as well as our and their families to ensure the vests are being worn. We are our brother’s (and sister’s) keeper.
What does the Below 100 Mission mean to you?
Since the Below 100 mission has been introduced to me, it has become a way of life which I embrace. I also feel I owe it to the rest of my law enforcement family to introduce this mission to all. We would be doing each other a great disservice to one another if this mission were not presented to each and every officer. Although it is a regrettable fact there may be situations we absolutely cannot have any control over, there are on the other hand, many situations we do have the ability to take control of and have the upper hand in lowering the rate of deaths within our profession. Even one law enforcement officer’s death is unacceptable regardless of it being reasonable or not, however with all of us implementing the Below 100 mission and doing our part to ensure it is presented to each agency, we can reach this very obtainable goal. We all entered this profession to protect our communities and each other’s families. We owe it to those same people we protect and to our own and each other’s lives (by reminding each other of the 5 tenets for the Below 100 mission) in order to excel in our profession as well as make it home to our families.