As we enter the unofficial start of this long holiday season, I wanted to take a moment to thank you all for the service you provide to the residents and visitors of the District of Columbia, as well as some professional and personal safety reminders during these times.
We all are aware of the sacrifices every one of us makes on a daily basis, and while that may go unnoticed or unrecognized by the public at large, know that here in the District of Columbia we have a large base of supportive residents in every ward of this city who value their police officers and try to help make our jobs a small bit easier.
During these turbulent times in today’s America, it is necessary as a police officer to continue to be vigilant at all times. As of today there have been 127 officers killed in the line of duty, simply for protecting the communities they swore an oath to protect. The number of police officers killed by gunfire is up an astounding 71% versus last year, and the number of police officers killed in automobile accidents is up a shocking 11%. While there is no guarantee that you will go home safely after your shift is over, there are ways you can help your chances of success. While it may seem like common sense to most, a few simple reminders about professional safety may be in order.Always wear your ballistic vest. Always buckle your seat belt in the car. Remember that no call is routine - expect the unexpected on the simplest of disorderly calls or traffic stops. Wait for your back up, and don’t wait for the dispatcher to ask you to assist another officer - just assist. Most importantly, ALWAYS BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS. This year has seen what appear to be more ambush-style attacks on police officers. Stay off your cell phone and always be cognizant of what is going on around you.
While professional safety is paramount, family and domestic issues tend to come to the forefront around this time of year as well, and personal safety and responsibility are also equally important in this area. It is important to recognize the stresses of everyday life. While the holiday season is a joyous one for many of us, there are those who deal with sadness and depression during the holiday season. Please make sure to look out for your brothers and sisters that are having a rough time, and remember that early detection and intervention could save a life. Police suicides, while declining over the last several years, are still a very serious issue that many of us may not want to recognize or deal with, but with early detection and intervention you truly could save the life of your brother or sister in blue. The staff of the Employee Assistance Program is available to anyone 24 hours a day at 202-546- 9684.
Remember over the next several weeks to drink responsibly and to never get behind the wheel of a vehicle after even just one drink. Alcohol-related disciplinary issues are very common on the Department, and having a plan in place before you might drink is a necessary task. For the sake of your safety and the safety of the rest of the motoring public, please remember to use public transportation, a designated driver or a ride-sharing program during this holiday season, and save yourself and your family the hardship of discipline for alcohol-related violations.
I wish you all a safe and most joyous holiday season, no matter how you celebrate it. As always, I leave you with just this one reminder: be safe, and always watch each others’ backs.
Fraternal Order of Police
Metropolitan Police Labor Committee
Posted November 23 2016 at 11:42 AM by Matthew N. Mahl | Permanent Link