Officer Safety has always been a issue of paramount importance for the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). As police leaders, the IACP membership understands that it is their responsibility to provide officers with the best training and equipment available in order to ensure their safety in the face of the numerous and varied threats they face each and every day.
For these reasons, in 2002, the IACP Division of State Associations of Chiefs of Police (SACOP) created the SafeShield initiative. Dedicated to protecting our nation’s law enforcement officers, SafeShield’s organizing philosophy is that law enforcement leaders cannot accept the proposition that accidents or injuries are a reality of the law enforcement profession. The only acceptable belief is zero officers killed or injured. SafeShield’s goals are as simple as they are critical:
- Identify problems and threats impacting officer safety and
- Find solutions that incorporate improved policies, training, equipment, and uniforms.
The SafeShield Committee is made up of committed IACP/SACOP members who are focused on officer safety. It is the belief of SafeShield that although Chiefs have limited control over dangerous situations an officer may face in the line of duty, they can control the outcomes through comprehensive planning, proper preparation and the use of protective equipment.
In 2006, the membership of the IACP adopted a SACOP resolution, “A Vision for Officer Safety”, that embraced the philosophy of the SafeShield Initiative and the vital role that police chiefs must play . The resolution states that Law enforcement leadership must set the tone to create an environment in which officer safety is the top priority of every department. No one can control the dangerous situations that officers face in the line of duty; however, we can control how officers are prepared to face these situations with policies, training, equipment, and uniforms.
In keeping with this resolution the SafeShield Initiative has put forth a number of initiatives designed to assist Chiefs in establishing and maintaining a ‘culture of safety’ in their departments. This includes an officer safety survey, a toolkit for law enforcement executives, training modules, Eight Principles of a Safe Work Environment, Vests Save Lives campaign, the Officer Safety Corner on the IACP’s web site, and more.
For more information on the SafeShield Initiative or any of the IACP’s Officer Safety programs, please contact Erin Vermilye at 703-647-7390 or via e-mail at Vermilye@theiacp.org.