Dangers in policing are especially real considering that every year nearly 100 officers are either injured or killed from situations or actions taken during the course of their daily duties ("Preliminary 2012 Fatality Statistics", 2012).Unfortunately, this cannot be completely avoided. The inherent nature of the occupation puts officers at risk. In part, this is due to their extreme interactions during the course of their duties, protecting the lives of citizens and ensuring the safety of people in their community. Officer’s duties entail putting themselves in jeopardy to fully assuring the safety and security of others. The possibility of getting shot is one of the most significant dangers that a law enforcement officers can encounter. Officer fatalities shootings appear to be on the rise recently. According to preliminary statistics released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2011, 72 of our nation’s law enforcement officers were killed. Ambushes accounted for 19 fatalities; 5 deaths occurred while investigating a suspicious persons or circumstances; 11 were killed during traffic pursuits/stops; 5 more interrupted robberies in progress, pursuing the robbery suspects; and 4 died while responding to domestic disturbance type calls. Other causes of death listed include 6 tactical situations; 1 while conducting investigative activity; 1 transporting a prisoner; and 20 officers were killed while attempting other arrests (“FBI Releases 2011 Preliminary Statistics for Law Enforcement Officers Killed in the Line of Duty ", 2012).
Noting all the statistics previously stated, there are a host of dangerous activities officers perform that equals the threat of getting shot. The list of possible hazards include things as simple as a foot pursuit, motor vehicle pursuits, arresting perpetrators of crimes, managing traffic conditions, exposure to the elements, stress, faulty equipment, blood and other pathogens. Officers’ are exposed to physical situations and threats, causing additional mental/physical stress on an officer. Officers must always be vigilant, aware of their surroundings all the time, in any environment, officers are prepared for any circumstance that they may encounter. Approaching the most mundane situations with caution, to make sure individuals involved are not armed and dangerous.
Police officers have to mentally process and make split second decisions based on the training that they have received to avert tragedy or death. Through officer training, they are given and proper safety practices of using caution and limiting the possibility of dangerous situations. Dangerous situations cannot be fully prepared for and/or eliminated. If used correctly their tools, training, and procedures can protect an officer’s life from being needlessly extinguished. The hostilities and violence officers’ face are ingrained in American policing operations are often synonymous with terms such as war, characterizing encounters officers are challenged with as a form of civilian combat. The violent experiences officers come into contact with mandate them to be prepared for multiple outcomes, to the extent they have to be able to defend themselves with not only their training but also with equipment that they posses, controlling situations before they become more extreme. This equipment used by officers can be lethal or nonlethal weapons like batons, pepper spray, electrical sun devices, bean bag shots, rubber bullets that are all meant to debilitate rather than kill the perpetrator. These less than lethal policing tools were developed to supply law enforcement, corrections, and military personnel with alternatives to deadly force. Non-lethal policing weapons are designed to momentarily incapacitate, disorientate, impede, or contain a suspect in a variety of situations. Normal use of these devises can vary from roadside confrontations and suicide intervention, to use in more