tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN February 23, 2015 10:00pm-12:01am EST
during my 23 years as a police officer from the old-school you didn't see that but now you do. you see that probably because of social media and more exposures to a bad health can do to you. i think also young officers are more apt to go for psychological help if they need it. again the old-school probably not so much. one of the sad things i have seen in my research into ptsd is that when they look up a mortality studies of police officers, police officers compared to the general population die at a younger age. some 10 years younger on average than those in the general population. so we are seeing greater numbers of death of cardiovascular disease among younger officers which is kind of surprising and kind of shocking. the thing you should understand
about stress is it's cumulative as you are continually exposed to trauma day after day and stress day after day eventually is going to wear your system down. some of our research shows for example the body becomes this regulated under chronic stress. there are certain hormones like cortisol as an example that becomes so does regulated that the body can't adjust any more to the effect of that stress. when that happens it opens the body up for disease so we are seeing greater problems with disease and death among officers. i think if you shorten the number of years of retirement that's a great idea but i don't know but economically feasible given the cost of training police officers today and given the cost of lost experience. i think 20 years is reasonable if you have resilient people and i think dr. ramey is accurate in
saying we need to increase the resilience among officers and if we can do that we can cut down the effect of stress so i think that's important. i think most officers would love to see retirement at 15 years instead of 20 but again it may be a difficult task. >> i don't have them parable -- empirical research so i will fall back on my research working with officers. a number of officers who i see in the middle and late stages of their career undergoing psychological problems and stress family problems and so on a sort of know on one hand that they are getting burned out but they don't want to quit. there are couple of reasons they don't want to quit. they don't want to be seen as a quitter and let their colleagues down seeing as knuckling under pressure and so on but other times the reason may be very practical. maybe 10 years ago five years
ago they want to get invested in their full pension and then leave. what happens is you have office two at best posting and it worse underperforming on the job because they are too burned out to function adequately. how they got that way as a whole different issue. what might be considered as opposed to an either/or retirement plan is perhaps a flexible type of time system whereas if you work your full 28 your benefits but perhaps a the non-stigmatized way at retiring at 10 or 15 and what you get partial retirement benefits but you are perceived as a burnout case and it doesn't have to be on the basis of disability. therefore offers theirs who for whatever reason god bless them cannot do the job anymore they have a face-saving way of leaving law enforcement and not being out there and perhaps being a liability for the agencies as a whole. the other end of the spectrum is what you are seeing is this more
fascinating world decent people live in. the culture has changed too. years ago when he joined any company whether government agency or private company a sort of had a womb to tomb type of coverage and career. he started off early and were 20 or 30 years and at the end they gave you retirement with a gold watch and you are considered having a good career. today most companies hire people with independent contractors and very few people have full employment so how can people have responded is saying well that there's no consistency or loyalty among big organizations a high rest we will jump for -- from one situation to another as it suits us. ironically police agencies are one of the few places where if somebody wants to and is able to they can have 20 years of full employment with the generous benefit package. many officers are going to policing do it partly for that reason alone so i think we need to do things to strengthen systems officers feel if they
put their time and they will be able to serve their time and retire with honor and the practical benefits go with it but have a more flexible way of dealing with this because if an officer can do the job anymore we have to allow that office who is otherwise faithfully served if face-saving way out. >> dr. miller reminded me of plan i've seen in some industries where they call it a face at retirement. another were to work full-time for 15 years and then he would phase out for the next five years perhaps work three-quarters time for one year the next year and a quarter time and then out. this seems to work well in industry but i don't know about policing. something that might be possible. >> thank you very much. josé lopez followed by brittany packnett. >> i think i have two questions. i wanted to return to the
question that tracy asked earlier on the panel. the discussion was a discussion around mandatory counseling of some sort for officers. and so i guess the first question is a two-part question. the first part for mr. orr, i'm just wondering as a union wrap and if someone who is actively engaged in discussion with rank-and-file officers is something like mandating counseling something that you think other union reps across the country could get behind and do you think that is something that the rank-and-file officers across the country would want their union reps to push? the second question or the second part of the question is for mr. violante or anyone on the panel. this part of the question has more to do with that piece
around mandating and anything that is mandatory any agency or organization oftentimes is seen as i don't need you to mandate anything else. so what if the process was that maybe it wasn't mandatory that every officer automatically had opted in and had to create some form or fill out some self-evaluation in order to opt out. there is still an opportunity to make it feel as if it's not mandatory but it will take significant work and some self-reflection to be able to kind of appeal and say this is something i don't think i'm in need of and something that i want to opt out of. >> thank you and to address your question regarding mandated counseling and my perspective as a union leader counseling as a service. it's not an additional duty that
is being opposed -- impose upon us to comply with some new form we have to learn how to fill out or something in the courts regarding caselaw where we are exposed to liability for the normal training. counseling is a service so counseling in itself i don't see how it could be a problem. my union perspective is that i would need to know what consequences could result from that and whether or not there are opportunities for the office to take that counseling in their own direction rather than be mandated into a certain direction for through the perspective of some administrator. and then the obvious question for me also would be privacy and confidentiality. it would have to be a requirement to that and discipline could not result from
anything that was exposed during the counseling. so just to rehash counseling service i think it's a great thing. i have seen some policies where it's mandated after critical incident but confidentiality has to be paramount in the consequences have to be monitored by the employee and the union. discipline cannot result in the office has to have some say in the course that counseling takes if it's a long-term thing. >> i agree with sergeant orr. i think confidentiality is key. as far as mandatory that does cause a problem i think when you force a police officer to do something that he or she doesn't want to do you are going to run into resistance from the union and the office themselves. one of the suggestions i was
thinking about was putting a positive spin on this. in other words if you do go for let's say a mental health check a voluntary mental health check and in some way you are rewarded for that, perhaps incentive of some sort. that might work. in other words don't make it mandatory, make it voluntary but do it positively. that's just an idea i was thinking about. i like the idea of seeing maybe not a psychologist but peer support. a police officer who is trained in peer support, officers would rather talk to another police officer than they would to someone else first. psychologists are needed certainly they can, after but i think peer support is an important key to getting officers to go for help. >> i had a comment.
>> go ahead. >> one thing that works -- can you hear me okay? to present the opportunity to officers to have what is called a tele meter session. a confidential session with a mental-health professional outsider the organization. what i found have found over the last couple of years but this is if you can encourage an officer to participate in one of those sessions i would say at least 50% come back and say can we have more of those rather than just one so doing an incentive like john said to get people to see what it's like, that is not as threatening as you might think it is actually helpful. the other experience i have that over the years working with milwaukee and other departments is even sitting down having the opportunity to tell your story to somebody's very powerful.
i had a captain one time the set i feel like i should write you a check for their best therapeutic i -- session i have had and it was just a simple session to talk about what was on his mind. my recommendation would be at least make things accessible and try some of these programs that have some built-in telementoring sessions whatever you want to call it so officers can test that in a confidential way to see if that's something they believe will help them. >> thank you. >> is that many of the topics here today the devil is in the details. the number of agencies i work with have a bifurcated model and that is certain types of incidents for example officer involved shootings. any officer involved in officer involved shooting is mandatorily me to go for a critical incident follow-up which is a single session. there is no stigma attached to it. everybody goes so it's not like
one person will be affected more than anybody else. the way we conceptualize it is that they general check-up to make sure everything works. overwhelming majority of cases the office assuming the administrative aspect if handled psychologically the office square back to go -- to go backward. occasionally an offer is made accessible but not necessarily mandated. there might be other situations such as hostage scenarios and so on but the vast majority of officers who are experiencing stress there relates to some combination of personal stress and work stress the other way to do it is to make the these services accessible. that is we have a panel of individuals within the community that if you wish to go see a mental health professional for your own reason just the same as any other patient who walks into my office. the key is whether or not the people within that department encourage that. if somebody says you know
lieutenant i'm having trouble dealing with something and the lieutenant slapped him on the back and says, on buck up if very little chance that person will seek counseling. if the sergeant says get the help you need and do we need to do and as long as the person comes into mental health professionals office that information is confidential. the only exceptions are the exceptions i would apply to anybody. they are engaging in child abuse but that applies to everyone. mandatory in limited isolated cases we want -- we want to make a universal but it voluntary but supported in cases where a well-meaning office wants to get help for themselves. >> thank you very much. brittany packnett followed by roberto villasenor.
>> we had a little the tape -- delay with technology so if you want to say something feel free. >> here is my second question. the one piece that i did want to comment on on the confidentiality piece was that i think at a minimum one of the things that we have heard and that has been up for discussion is when an officer is deemed unfit or unstable to work on a force that there has to be some flagging of that so that the office can't just move to a different location and be picked up by any department. that's one thing just to state for the record something we have been discussing is part of this as part of the deliberations and we have heard on other panels. i guess mike second question is around the role of the department and without actually
does happen. when an officer is deemed unfit or unstable what is the role of the department now to continue to offer support to the office who probably for a long time was a member of that family and it's not much what should be the department's responsibility and making sure that office has a mental health support plan. >> i think it's a crucial question. this relates to the whole issue of fitness for duty in general. with a critical incident it's important to emphasize the office and all police agencies i work with tell the office when they comment when you come in for an officer involved shooting where you have had an experience and you may have after effects of it this is not a formal fitness duty evaluation. this is not because somebody thought he did something wrong or somebody that you
underperform. this is separate and apart from any investigation and may be going on. this is simply to assess her psychological state to see if you are okay. if for some reason you feel you can't go back to work or i feel you can't go back to work this will be dealt with as a clinical issue not a performance issue. a formal duty evaluation is a specialized evaluation where the office's miss performing are underperforming and someone believes it's due to a psychological reason. that has to be very carefully separated from a critical incident follow-up or any other kind of mental health treatment that occurs and unfortunately in some of our panelists said you have a poorly trained psychologist who sometimes conflate the two. a person comes in for help in the office gives the symptoms to a mental health practitioner and they jump to conclusions. the next thing they know they write down not fit for duty. you are talking about a man or woman's career and life when you make an assessment of fitness of duty.
it should not be done and less formal request has been made. so barring that i think it's important that officers realize information is going to be confidential because again we all know somebody once said in a police agency is like a class of fifth grade girls. if somebody comes to me for psychological treatment i guarantee everybody in the department knows they are going before i do. so talk about confidentiality we know that cops are the worst blabbermouths in the business the confidentiality, we are the professionals and we are the mental health or vegetables and you are the supervisors and need to keep things confidential. they want to talk about that's fine but as far as we are concerned unless it involves a formal mandated referral mandated referral means something for evaluating and that is mandated by the department and the results go to the department.
barring that if an officer wants to seek help the lieutenant in the sergeant say i don't want to know what you told that guy. all i wanted to do is get better and if he can maintain that distinction will be clarified and that is what i mean about the government details. you'll have to get mental health people on enforcement and legal people union reps to hammer this thing out. this is going to be a tough thing to put together but if you do it right it will be a powerful force for getting police officers to seek help when they need it and make sure officers that can't perform their jobs aren't out there doing so. >> thank you very much. brittany packnett followed by our final panelist roberto villasenor. >> i have two quick questions. one is to any of you and in your oral testimonies there has been
mentioned of issues of domestic violence, child abuse in other ways in which the stressors that law enforcement officers deal with. my question is have you seen any models or do you have any concrete suggestions around the kind of counseling and mental health support provided for partners and children and other incidents of law enforcement officers such that i mean the statistics talked about the impact of personal life being one of the primary reasons for those unfortunate suicides so i'm wondering how we can ensure that families are supporting those personal stressors are mitigated? >> i can address that real quick. the employee assistance program is in existence it's pretty vast and officers can seek that out themselves for any type of counseling from financial problems. they can be networked with financial advisers and if you
are going to that type of crisis. mareno crisis, problem with children, substance abuse and officers can seek that out themselves. i've seen that happen pretty good and the guys will go for that on their own or maybe get a nudge from a friend. they can also be mandated for an administrator if there is a work-related issue and they can be pushed in the direction of the ap. i know the first three sessions of the apr on the house and following that it falls under your insurance subject to the regular co-pays wherever your policy is. i know in our region they are very active and calling roll call -- world calls a couple of times a year and their monthly newspapers so it's not some type of phantom service. it's used for police assessment.
>> something very basic. police officers have some difficulty communicating when they get home. they kind of shut down. one of the things i did was to have a family police officer session and we brought them all in together and we talked communication skills. actually to face each other and talk to each other. that seemed to help a lot. that's one of the real problems we see. there is no communication. on the family level when officers get involved. if we train them to do this properly i think it would help the situation. >> i can echo that. at least 75% of a political cases i see of law enforcement officers coming in for counseling the stresses they are
coming in for don't involve work as much as they involve their family life. i mentioned earlier that a person has conceptualized it as you have two legs to stand on your work leg and your family leg and if both legs are strong it can withstand a hurricane and if one is -- you lean and limp around on the other. a typical scenario is a police officer who may have been having difficulties at home family problems and so on but they have been doing a good job and work is going well. something happened to work and we all know police officers are all or nothing kind of people. now they feel that work is going down too and this is a tipping point that precipitates them often into a depression. that's why it's important that happens there somewhere they can call and somewhere they can go to. i want to get back to the issue the one of panelist mentioned.
child abuse is a reportable offense. as a mandated reporter if i become aware that someone is engaged in child abuse i have to report it. what you want to do is get to the point that they haven't reached that yet. domestic violence although it's not a reported political offenses something that is one of law enforcement's dirty little secrets. there's a high rate of violence within enforcement families. i would be a whole different topic for us here but if you can get in there in the beginning before these things turn often you can diffuse or stave off those aspects. it boils down to three concepts, access to mental-health services training law enforcement and how to access the services and mental-health professionals on how to provide proper specialized services to law enforcement and finally support. if it's not supported from the top it's not going to happen on the bottom.
again working out those pesky details and having a powerful tool in helping law enforcement deal with stresses and that will prevent a lot of excessive force complaints in violence and other things that marwan we call this culture of policing. >> my final question isn't particular to sergeant orr. you talk about the crisis at sandy hook elementary and volunteering time to relieve some of those officers. certainly a great deal of the conversation of ferguson was about the length of the shift in the frequency with which officers had to be on the ground in a conflict that created an incredibly high stress situation. as both an office who has had this experience over leaving officers in crisis and also as a union representative what is your thinking around policies that would dictate only a certain number of hours actually
worked in these mass demonstration situations and to the question asked before should those policies expand to folks that maybe having performance related mental-health struggles. should they be limited from participating in those kinds of activities? >> that's an interesting point. i think the current model that i have seen in our region is 16 hours is the max you can work. truck drivers on the highway have the maximum amount of numbers -- our second drive. police work is similar in that you need to be a wake and sharp so 16 hours mandating a reductionist in that if it's a performance related issue brings an economic element to it where specifically in our region in suburban areas around new york city where the cost of living is very high police officers cannot
live on their base salaries. if you want to live within a two-hour drive. officers regularly work a regular shift in a welcome mat. if you mandate that you will put a extra stress so that needs to be considered there. in responding to sandy hook and i imagine other crises around the country like ferguson or what happened in statin island following that there is a maximum amount of time we can be out there but sometimes we can't and sometimes following 9/11 officers were mandated 12 hour shifts every day. it was because there was a national security issue and nobody cared about what it did to your brain and we are seeing that now but for public safety
reasons we couldn't. so that has to be considered also. in the regular course of policing the eight hour shift is enough and you want to go home after that and sometimes after seeing what you see it's tough to go home and have dinner with your family. as dr. dale ente said discussing what you did in your workday you have to relive it so we are taught to compartmentalize some of the things we deal with. but being able to open the doors of that compartment and let it out and let some steam out of the valve is really important. getting back to your question shift time maximum i note that pushback from the guys on the economic and financial part can be limited in that way unless the performance issues so great that we are now in a bubble.
>> i would like to comment on shift work. most departments in the united states are going away from the eight hour shift and moving to either a 10 or 12 hour shift. this brings up the issue of fatigue. if you work 12 hours on a shift you really can't make sense of thinking straight. it's very difficult to make decisions. it's very difficult not to get frustrated and to get irritated by any little thing if you are up for 12 hours doing police work. additionally we found in our research that those who work those hours have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. so that's an issue i think that is blossoming now in united states policing. when you're on a special mission like sandy hook or a flood or a
hurricane, those situations get exacerbated even worse that i don't know how to address this problem but we need more research on what the best shift is with the length of time an officer should work. >> thank you. >> at least truckers have a national standard about how long they can work. we don't have anything like this on law enforcement. basically it's the discretion of most departments in jurisdictions. the devil is in the detail. let's point something out that accommodates the economic and liability and health season or of shift work and that's something to work toward. develop international standards of police officers don't feel they have to fight for shift level and this is a standard we need to follow it. >> we are running short on time so our final question. >> this is for dr. violante. i would like to hear more about the terms of psychological light
up -- autopsy that you are mentioning. >> a psychological autopsy is a look at the police officer's life. one who performs this would look at relatives and friends and medical records. basically look at the life of the office prior to his or her suicide. from that through close relatives for example you could ask questions about mental health to make it asked questions about standardized measures like stress for example. we could look at medical records. we could go to the departments and talk to co-workers. it's a long involved process but the end result we pieced this together and we can essentially do a retrospective feature of what this office was like prior to his or her suicide. that is very helpful because if we did many of these we can look for patterns that are prevalent.
psychological autopsies are performed quite frequently on suicide deaths. generally in a labor profession to determine whether or not a death was a suicide or not. we call them equivocal death. i think this would be useful research to look at to tease out exactly what led the officer to the suicide. >> thank you very much and thank all the past. it's been very informative. please join me in thanking them. [applause] we are going to take a brief break to transition between panels. thank you. [inaudible conversations] more now from the white house task force on policing.
coming up tampa police chief jane castor and the head of the national law enforcement officers memorial fund craig floyd talk about officer safety. [inaudible conversations] >> we are at the one minute warning. before we get started let me thank everybody for their patience with their technological glitches. you know what they say when you fall off a course you need to get right back up on it so this time we are going to start off with -- and i think we have it all fixed so bear with us and i will turn it back to the co-chairs to lead us into the next panel. tonight good morning again. our second panel is dealing with the issue of officer safety and
we are going to start out this panel with dr. alexander eastman who as a lieutenant and deputy medical director with the dallas police department and he is participating with us via skype. so welcome dr. eastman and let's go to you via skype. >> thank you very much commissioner ramsey chairwoman robinson tractor davis and members of passwords that i want to tell you how much i appreciate they opportunity to present today. it's actually unique opportunity. i'm coming to you from vacation in park city utah and i have to thank the men and women of park city utah police department for their support in getting the technical aspects of this sorted out. i served our swat unit as its lead medical offer -- office.
this involves me in a number of law enforcement operations from our most recent ebola response. in addition to our work with a police department a service similar role with the university of texas the university of texas the university of texas assists in place by the edition i'm practicing trauma surgeon board-certified with qualifications and critical care. i service the chief of trauma surgery at the trauma center and assistant professor of surgery at the university of texas southwestern medical center. in this role i perform direct patient care teach to research and leave the more than 1000 employees who participate in the trauma service line at portland's memorial hospital. for the last decade this has been a very personal and professional cause and has been this unique interface of trauma surgery public health and law enforcement. i intend to come from those three perspectives this morning. my first recommendation for the task force is the stopping of bleeding has to be a core law
enforcement skill across the united states. despite improvements in equipment tactics and trauma care law enforcement remains one of our country's most dangerous occupations. over the last decade or so there has been some increase interest in translating lessons learned from the battlefield the medical lessons learned into civilian law enforcement. it's obvious that we as law enforcement officers are not on the battlefield that some of the techniques that have been pioneered or losses in iraq and afghanistan can be applied to law enforcement officers. some these techniques to transfer into what it's come to be known as weber on programs. from a community policing perspective there's no finer example than a police department engage in the committee when a law enforcement applies his equipment to save the life of a civilian. in november 2015 the dallas police department deployed --
these kits contain a turn to get and modular bandage and a packet of combat gauze. in just 14 months the dallas police department officers have saved 12 lives including to roam. these techniques have been shown to be safe and all policing settings and on the campus setting police made a similar program mandatory. this is an inexpensive kit most times less than $50 in the ultimate insurance policy to save the life of one of our police officers has been injured in a line of duty but it can also be turned outward and that leads to my second recommendation to the task force which is that lessons learned and described in the document known as the hartford senses we embrace as national policy. it was developed and designed from a group drawn together by the american top surgeons the federal bureau of investigations. it included dhs fema this
circuit general united states and several policing agencies. basically what this described was these hemorrhage controls techniques aren't just for officer safety. as we teach police officers how to perform hemorrhage control and save each other we enable them to turn those skills i were in the event of an active shooter or mass casualty event. as an original continuing participant in the harvard consensus i was pleased to represent the chiefs association and its development in its ongoing work in that group. in late 2014 survey of the chief association members, 42 with 70 member agencies implement some sort of hemorrhage control training program and equipped their officers. at these programs are trained and equipped nearly 200,000 american law enforcement officers and now provide hemorrhage control coverage to more than 65 million americans in their committee. it is an awesome awesome
accomplishment over short period of time. certainly commissioner ramsey is the outgoing president and executive director should be given great credit and pushing a port to my third recommendation is probably the most important and that is to develop the ability to track and study law enforcement officers budesa, surgeon and academic level, one part of my mission is to further the scientific study of improving the care of the injured patient. we review a vast amount of data in order to make her job better and to get better at doing it everyday. presently there is no system in the united states to track law enforcement officer injuries that while many may point to the fbi's database information contained therein is too focused on law enforcement how far the suspect was from the assailant was the day was that night were they wearing a bulletproof vest? it lacks the granular detail that we need to really give the topic of law enforcement
officers injured in end of study. robust database analyzed by medical providers and scientists involved in law enforcement would allow for recommendations in tactics training equipment medical care and even policies and procedures grounded in that interface that i mentioned between scientific evidence and best medical practice and sound policing. my last recommendation involves the institution of a nationwide peer review system to help us when things don't go exactly as we planned. when errors are made of medicine patients often pay the ultimate price it when this happens doctors, nurses, technicians and medical student residence together in an process known as peer review. peer review model has been -- several high-risk sectors with great success. and an essay that i authored entitled saving our own trip
your review a prescription for improved law enforcement safety that appeared in the publication from the c.o.p.s. office we described the idea of peer review principles to the nation's law enforcement law enforcement officers. arising from this publication the national database and reporting system is currently being deployed by the police foundation. this should help improve officer safety and should begin to help us change the practice that continues to place us at risk by failing to reviewer mistakes in a sound fashion. we have to begin to take a hard look and learn from those times when things don't go exactly as planned. we do need national protection because they need to be protection from legal discovery of the nationwide level to allow this peer review process to continue. this is what happens in medicine and trust me if you make a mistake there's plenty of malpractice claims that can be brought against you but allows for frank and honest discussion. to summarize let me give you my for recommendations of the task force.
first be sure that hemorrhage control training and the provision of equipment is required at every u.s. law enforcement agency. next raise the recognition of the hartford consensus as national policy to improve our community safety from active shooter en masse casualty event. third develop and implement a national comprehensive database where law enforcement injuries and treatment and finally facilitate legislative protections in national policy to develop a robust peer review management program of united states law enforcement. the pleasure to serve as a law enforcement officer and a caregiver of law enforcement officers. i'm honored to be given this opportunity to represent both groups today. the interface between medicine and public health and law enforcement has great potential not just as a source for many novel officer safety programs but to harness those programs and transform them into true community policing resources.
my most sincere thanks to the task force commissioner ramsey chairwoman robinson to the president putting this group together and the opportunity to speak to you this morning. thank you very much. >> thank you very much. hope he you can stay with us for the question period. our next witness will be jane castor two was the chief in tampa florida. thank you for being with us. >> thank you commissioner ramsey professor robinson director davis and members of the task force on 21st century policing for allowing me to be a part of this process. as you stated i am jane castor the chief of police for the tampa police department. historically when they talk about reducing the number office desk we begin with a focus on training officer safety methods and equipment we provide to our officers. qualities are necessary elements of saint policing but policing but i believe they just scrape the surface of the conversation needed to make our officers
truly safer on the streets. from where i stand there three key points that is law enforcement leaders we should focus upon. real-time information for officers responding to in progress called, community relationships and office wellness. with the proliferation of cell phones information is moving at lightning speed. the effect is that officers are arriving on scene much quicker while the offense is in progress. while this increases the chances of apprehension it also places officers and increasingly dangerous situations. to enhance officer safety we must put information in our officers hand at comparative speeds. we have been able to do this at the tampa police department in part through a software solution that we helped develop that provides officers with real-time actionable data on suspects some activities hotspots alerts and bulletins without delay. we also monitor social media for or information that may assist responding officers in staying
safe as they come upon scenes. with that in mind i would make two recommendations. there should be a dedication to the research and development of solutions to mine law enforcement databases for information about not only reduce and solve crimes that help keep our officers say. this cannot be a one-time endeavor but rather a continual process. in addition we must continue to look for and publicize best practices in the use of social media. currently there is no better way to connect with the citizens we serve. in law enforcement we are only as strong as their relationships with the community. if they trust us a will call us when something is amiss in the neighborhood. the question that begs to be answered is how do we build that trust? it begins with understanding ourselves and the citizens we serve. to this and every law enforcement officer should be mandated to complete dr. friedel's course on fair and
impartial policing. premise of this training is to show that everyone has biases and it's critical for officers to recognize this and make every attempt to set an aside when serving the public. a result would be to would be twofold. officers will develop positive relationships with citizens and they will be safer in their day-to-day activities. we spent years building relationships with trust with our committee and i want to highlight quickly just a few programs that have contributed significantly to those relationships. in 2013 we opened a safe haven for kids and a historically high crime neighborhood where no strategy had worked for the preceding decade. once this after-school program is launched crime dropped significantly. the neighborhood could see the officers cared and that is what made the difference. in addition our squads are required to have front porch roll calls twice a week in high crime areas where citizens for air. these interactions allow citizens to personally connect
with the officers can shoot -- patrolling neighborhoods. these initiatives coupled with the daily practice of our rule that everyone is treated with dignity and respect creates trust which is the foundation of our positive relationship with citizens. one of my favorite sayings is the upside of policing is that you get to see things that nobody else gets to see. the downside is you have to see things that nobody should have to see. most officers respond to these situations in the same way an attempt to bury the memory and move on. as a law enforcement executive i have always felt they we fail at officers by not confronting it on the trauma they experienced throughout their careers. to address these issues we started the first responders retreat. weeklong in-house training involves educating officers in the physiological and emotional effects of trauma and emd r. sessions. many of the officers have described this as a lifesaving experience. the underlying mission of law enforcement hasn't changed since
the principles of law enforcement are offered in 1829. what has evolved is the one person has become responsible for performing. the services continue because in officers have become the de facto mental health practitioners social workers and the frontline dealing with those suffering with substance abuse. in addition to absorb a higher level of frustration and anger from citizens for their inability to solve these issues. we simply can't do it alone. these issues require societal solutions. as a whole i believe police officers to an amazing job with a the multitude of issues they are called upon to handle most of which have no clear-cut solution. of course this is not to say we are always correct that we must be very careful to avoid holding all officers accountable for the inappropriate actions of a few. citizens should feel free to critique and criticize officers and we must be open and acceptable of that criticism however it should be based in
fact. thankfully the average citizen has no idea what is involved in dealing with a criminal element. this means we are doing our job well. the same time we are creating a disconnect. it's impossible for citizens to know what challenges and office must face on a daily basis. as a result every agency should have a robust citizens academy where the community can learn first-hand how officers are trained, the need for specific equipment and how its use. we and our course with the right along as there is nothing more lightning than walking and office shoes for an evening. lastly i would like to publicly thank director comey for the thoughtful way in which he opened the door for discussion of police and race relations. as stated previously law enforcement must be held accountable but as we continue to discuss the role that law enforcement plays there must be meaningful and frank discussions about crime in america. we can all agree that past
inequality societal disadvantages contribute to crime and disorder. law enforcement did not create these situations but we can be an important part of the solution. we must all be willing to work together to make the necessary improvements which will lead to safer communities and a safer working environment for our officers. it is my hope that the door director comey craft is not slam shut but open wide as everyone can be seen and heard. thank you. >> thank you so much chief castor. our next witness is jerry deming suis the sheriff in orange county florida. it's nice to have some florida representation here with such bad weather in washington. >> let me begin by saying good morning to mr. ramsey professor robinson and members of the task force. it is indeed a privilege for me to be here and provide testimony in the area of officer safety.
as i provide testimony today i believe it's necessary to establish the perspective from which i speak. this is my 34th year as a law enforcement officer working in metropolitan orlando. as a chief executive i have experienced line of duty deaths by my officers and deputies nine times. in fact this past february 11 marked the one-year anniversary of the death of one of my deputies jonathan scott pyne who was shot and killed by a burglary suspect one year ago. he left behind a wife and three children under the age of seven. in may of this year deputy pyne's name will be added to the list of more than 20,000 names on the national law enforcement memorial. the first step in improving officer safety and wellness is to understand the range and scope and hazards that police pay someone to duty. according to the officer down
memorial page as if every 18th line of duty deaths are down 7% in 2015. with auto related deaths remaining about the same as last year. thus far in 2015 officer deaths by gun fire are also trending downward. that is good news considering the trend from last year. preliminary data indicates 126 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty in 2014 a 24% increase from 2013 when 102 officers were killed. in 2014 50 officers died by gunfire. this was a 56% increase over the 32 firearms related deaths in 2013. on average over the last decade there've been approximately 59,000 assaults against law enforcement officers each year resulting in approximately 15,000 injuries. i share these numbers because
the conversation should not only be about those who have died but it must also focus on those who live in what can be done. i subscribe to a professional edict that there is no substitute for training and experience and striving for optimum officer safety through the use of this simulation technology should be considered modern-day police training. we should immerse our officers in training that realistically depicts what they are likely going to experience the world world situations. my agents at the orange county sheriffs orange county sheriff's office in partnership with palencia college recently implemented ace simulation training program. officers use simulated firearms and scenarios that require them to make split-second decisions. it's recommended that agencies conduct high reliability training several times each year for all officers and invite representatives from the media
to experience simulation training. perhaps this would give the media and members of the public a better perspective on the complexity of the split-second decision-making by law enforcement officers. the number of officers who die in the line of duty has not been below 100 since 1944. police related accidents are a major cause. the campaign is being embraced by a law enforcement agencies around the nation based on the principles of wearing a seatbelt and a a ballistic vest watching your speed focusing on what's important and remembering complacency kills. in addition to driver training is recommended as agencies replace their fleet of vehicles serious consideration should be given to the purchase of vehicles with coalition avoidance technologies such as cameras and indicators.
since the events of september 11 or nation has remained under the threat of domestic terrorism. according to the fbi sovereign citizens holds a growing domestic threat to law enforcement. the core belief of sovereigntist the u.s. government has no authority over them. this movement is alive and flourishing throughout our nation. in fact two weeks ago several of my deputies -- shot at them without provocation i might add. he was subsequently mortally wounded when the deputies turned -- return gunfire. research done by the university of maryland determined sovereign citizens to also be a threat to police. for these reasons it's recommended that more first response training be provided on the topic of domestic terrorism and in particular the sovereign citizen movement. in summary the recommendations are developed training that is
realistic to include simulation technology developed high reliability training several times each year for all officers. to build trust invite me to participation in the training. conduct training, invest in new vehicle collision avoidance technology and increase perjure sponsoring on domestic terror specifically the sovereign system movement. thank you. >> thank you share. our final witness for this panel is craig floyd he was chairman and ceo of the national law enforcement memorial foundation. welcome. >> thank you and let me say that in more than 30 years as ceo of the national law enforcement officers memorial fund i have never witnessed more focus attention and concern about the issue of offender -- officer safety and i want to applaud this task force president
obama, attorney general holder and so many others. i looked down this road here and good friend darryl stevens, you have been concerned about this issue for a long time and i thank you for featuring the attention on it today. i want to put this issue in some perspective. the distinguished panel is before me have done some of that. we have 20,000267 names inscribed on the national law enforcement officers memorial. about 55% of those officers died by gunfire, the majority. in recent years, the last 15 traffic related incidents have been the number one cause of office brutalities in the country. 29% of the names on the memorial or traffic related deaths. finally 16% of those officers on the memorial died from other causes, 840 of them by the way from heart attacks, job related
heart attacks. over the last decade we have averaged 146 officer fatalities per year. that is a shocking number. there is one officer killed somewhere in america every 60 hours. the good news is that those numbers are going down. if you go back to the 1970s we were averaging 231 officers killed in the line of duty each and every year. that means the 146 number i cited is 37% lower than it was 40 years ago and that's at a time when we have double the number of officer serving in putting themselves at risk. you would expect perhaps that number would have gone up, not down. there are a number of factors that are responsible for that and i have enumerated some of them in my written testimony. ..
censors in vehicles. the officers know that they're being watched for safety compliance, and it makes a difference. aggressive education campaigns showing officers what happens in a crash when you wear a seatbelt and do not. it's impressive and makes a difference. an officer safety committee that meets once a month looking at injuries accidents, and fatilities and figuring out what we can do to prevent them in the future. and then finally, an aggressive promotion of their move over and slow down laws, something that thankfully with us and many other groups we are focusing more on getting the driving public aware of the move over and slow down laws. we need to learn from our neighbor to the north.
consider these troubling statistics. last year we know that 24% of the officers killed in the line of duty were not wearing body armor. 32% of the officers killed in auto crashes were not wearing seatbelts 5. 5% of the officers who died in auto crashes were killed in single vehicle crashes. and 15 officers were shot and killed in ambush-style attacks last year, that's triple the number from 2013. the other problems we have identified thanks to a cops office grant officers failing to wait for a backup and entering dangerous situations alone. many officers crashing vehicles while rushing to assist a fellow officer. officers being killed with their own. we weapon retention is still a concern and an issue we need to address. here are the recommendations, some of them that we talked about with the national officer safety and wellness group. we must have a unified safety
message with involvement and buy insure from both management and the unions. you have heard that said and i'm sure you'll hear it again later today. hire a safety officer like they do in fairfax county virginia, and create a safety committee. establish a national clearing house for best practices. doing -- we are doing this now in conjunction with the bureau of justice assistance, we call it destination zero get the number of injuries and deaths down to zero. that shouldber our big hairy goal we-rally around. reduce distractions for officers in their vehicles. take a data driven approach to safety. if it matters measure it. officers and elect officials will be much more easily influenced if you give them the data to support the safety policies. bring families into the safety messaging. create an environment that reward officers for safe behavior and, most importantly perhaps of all change the culture.
do not accept injuries and fatilities as just part of the job, and thankfully, i think the best news of all is that the culture change has started to occur, and with your leadership this task force and your recommendations that i'm sure will come out of this we're going to do a lot better as we move forward. so thank you very much for this opportunity. >> thank you. thank you so much. i'm going to start out the questioning with brittany packnett followed by sean smoot. >> thank you all very much for your testimony. my question is actually for lieutenant -- can you hear me? >> yes ma'am can. >> thanks so much. so i really appreciate your testimony and some others regarding training for hemorrhage control and other trauma instances. my question is really about the policy surrounding that. so, if the training is available, i'm wondering how we can help to mandate and reasonably expect that officers
use it even if the force is the officer's cause? we saw there was failure to provide that kind of support for tamir rice in cleveland and for antonio martin in missouri where i'm from. so i'm wondering once that training provided, as it should to your excellent point, how do we create policy around ensuring that is provided even though victim of officer's lethal use of force. >> that's a great question. i think the answer is that when you train people to do this we haven't seen them withhold that therapy in an agency that has had that training. in my own experience i have been part of unfortunately several use's of deadly force as part of a s.w.a.t. team where even members of the team before i could move the 20 for feet to get to the victim were already deploying these skillsle we have seen i'ves use force in the field and subsequently holster their weapons, move to the
suspect, ensure they're safe and then begin treating them immediately. the answer is if you build the capabilities the officers will do the right thing. it's important to build in policy and procedural expectations to give them the legal protections they need if that happens, but again don't think you're going do -- i think you're going to be impressed with the dead caution of law enforcement officerses look at the boston marathon bombing. those officers had no official hemorrhage control program in boston. several took it upon themselves and when they were faced with one of their biggest challenges they acted and treated everyone no matter what. so if you -- not to use a punishing but if you build it, they will come, and these officers will use this stuff appropriately. >> thank you very much. sean smoot, nold by tracy mears.
>> i have two questions. one for you, dr. eastman. thank you for interrupting your vacation to testify before the task force. >> you're welcome. i hope my wife is watching that. >> thank you. thank you mrs. eastman. doctorrers, if you know what the coast on a per-officer basis to equip them with a downed officer kit as you described in your testimony and the requisite training to use that kit? >> yes. costs -- depends on scale. if you go large scale, you're going to talk about less than 50 -- way less than $50 an officer. i think it would be up to the manufacturers of that equipment and those companies to deal with us on a scale pricing. if we're talking about a nationwide program, i think that price would follow significantly. we're looking at near lay million law enforcement officers in the united states. in terms of training, we don't exactly know how long to train
people for. it's my belief we can do this in a couple of hours. in the dallas police department we have a multimodallity training program where we start the officers with some online video viewing. they do some very short hands on training and then we incorporate the downed officer kit use into other scenarios over the course to the training cycle. so the officers get not only didactic training and get some hands on and they incorporated in other things. so i think you're looking at realistically a couple of hours, and significantly less than $50 an officer. >> thank you very much doctor. if i could switch to chief caster for a moment and thank all of you for your testimony. it was very good. chief, you talked about the safe haven house you set up, and your citizens police academy program and you always talked about your
front porch roll call which you mentioned in your testimony. with regard to the safe haven house and your citizens police academy, are those things that you budget for out of your operational budget for the department or does the city support those programs by giving you additional appropriations to do them? that's number one. and number two could you elaborate a little bit more how your front porch role calls work. >> actually, the save haven we have for the kids is the second one we have opened up. we have had one in another high-crime area for 12 years, and we just opened up a recent one in one of my assistant chiefs went to leadership tampa, doing the program, and they took an old parks parks and recreation building and rehabbed that as a class project. i assigned police officers to both of those safe havens and
the officers that i assign have a background in education, and so they're very well-received and accepted in the neighborhoods. as far as the operational budgeting for it, i'll say this, hopefully my mayor is not watching. the city takes care of the operational costs for that safe haven. as far as the front porch roll call, those have been a great way to connect with the community. citizens can call in and request those role calls calls and it's been very very successful, and the squad just shows up at someone's frontyard and they usually feed them which seems to attract police officers very well and then they get to meet the police officer that literally is patrolling their neighborhood, and they create those relationships and those bonds. >> is that role call similar to what they do in the station --
>> exactly what they do in the station. a lot of us -- we had the role call board they read off. now they get that through their mdt, but they do read out bull bulletins, who is wanted, what to look for in the community. then the community gets to feel a part of the police department. >> thank you chief. >> uh-huh. >> tracy meares, followed by sue rahr. >> this is really interesting. really illuminating. my question for you mr. floyd. i was going through the data that you listed in your written testimony pretty carefully. and as i understand it, there was some very welcome news that fatilities are down, except that up toes like in recent years the greatest contributor is accidents, maybe vehicular accidents, if i'm getting that correctly. i want to focus on the number of injuries in your written testimony you said something about the fbi saying there was
100,000 injuries officers injured in the line of duty? i'm wondering about the relationship between that 100,000 number and the vehicular accident point that you brought up and it seems to me that we could not only save a lot of officer deaths but injuries if we could simply convince people to wear their seatbelts. so i'm wondering what the -- in your view, is the hurdle? is it just culture? is it something else? is there -- there's no union representative on this panel, it union resistance in if you have insight that would be helpful. do we need to put a nine-year-old in the backseat? i know when i'm driving my car my son says to me mommy put on your seatbelt. what can we do here? >> well, a couple things.
one, the number of more than 100,000 injuries actually is coming from the bureau or labor statistics, and one of the problems we have i think it's been talked about in some earlier testimony and will be emphasized later, we need better data on injuries. i'm working with a group called the police foundation, one of our board member organizations. they're doing study on near misses. what we are doing here is we're collecting a lot more data or need to collect a lot more data on injuries and near misses because those numbers are going to be so much greater than fatilities. we can tell you everything you want to know about fatilities, especially with the deeper dive we're doing with the cops grant. i tell you that it's a cultural issue. seemingly. i'm not a practitioner. i defer to my distinguished panelists here. but clearly in canada, as i emphasized, they have this program that they emphasize from day one in the academy, and every day after and that is
guaranteed arrival. when you get that call for service, whether it's too back up another officer or respond to an emergency don't put yourself in the peril that so many officers here in the united states do. it's a wonderful thing that our officers are willing to put their lives at risk for other people but it is foolish when you drive so fast that you wreck your vehicle before you ever get to back up that officer or help somebody in need. and that's -- i think what we talk about when we talk about a culture change. we're starting to imbed that message into the minds of officers at an early stage in their careers, at the academy, and we're professing that over and over again during their careers. so we have seen it in a lot of agencies now that do have mandatory seatbelt wear policies. the unions have bought into and it they're working with management to impress that message upon the officers and as a result, i think we're going to see these numbers of injuries and death goes down dramatically
because without question traffic-related deaths and injuries are the most preventible of all. >> in recent years i had two officers died in crashes. i have a fleet of 1800 vehicles and we drive a combined 25 million miles on an annual basis. when we look at our traffic crash data what i see sometimes is a disproportionate number related to distracted driving. my deputies are on cellular phone and have mobile data terminals in their cars so we have embarked on a campaign of training education cal campaign, how not to do that. we're taking advantage of blue tooth technology in our vehicles now so we're not predisposed to
looking away from what we should be down the roadway. we are going to biannual training now. all deputies are required to have vehicle driver training every two years, and our ultimate goal is to reduce the number of traffic crashes. we do have a mandatory body armor policy within our agency as well. >> could i just chime in on this? i'm sorry i can't give you any verbal cues to tell you i want to answer. >> you can wave your hands or something. >> i was going to hold up a sign. i tell you the point that craig made bat culture shift is a really important one. let me add to that discussion. you described in your question the vehicle accidents, and i will tell you that as trauma surgeons we don't ever use the word accident. an accident is an act by god that is just -- you throw your
hands in the air and have no idea how to prevent this. these are law enforcement vehicle crashes and law enforcement officers injured in crashes, and crashes are preventible. and if you -- again, just go back to the point of building a database. we don't really know if it's speed, seatbelt, vehicle design our equipment we wear, but building a database to capture some of these pieces of information, and allow us to study it scientifically will help you design programs to prevent crashes. that's the whole idea behind seatbelts and airbags and all that because people studied vehicle crashes to learn how to make vehicles more safe. we need to study law enforcement and learn how to make that job more safe as well. >> chief, do you want to weigh in on this too? do you have a policy and what has been your experience in your department? >> actually i always talk about the seatbelt rule. i think that's something you have to -- i use that as an
analogy for everything else. the seatbelt rule you have to constantly remind everybody because it's a habit they get into and we do have policy mandated wear, and we have not had any accidents where officers have lost their lives. i can't tell you unequivocally that all of my officers wear them, but we definitely have a policy for that. and another that alex hit on very lightly that i believe is an outstanding program as far as the vehicle crashes would be concerned, and officer safety in general, that was touched on very lightly, the near miss program that jim and the police foundation put together, and we mirrored that after the firefighters near miss program and i think that's going to pay great dividends in the years to come if officers put information in it. if we don't get any data into it it's not going to be of benefit. i see that as saving lives going forward. >> thank you. we now turn to sue rahr
followed by jose lopez. >> thank you. dr. eastman, i want to do a little deeper dive from what sean smoot asked you on the downed officer kits. i think that's one of the smartest things we can do. i'm trying to put that together and i'm wondering, does it have to be a doctor or firefighter that teach that or can that be talk by somebody as in train the trainer. >> it can be taught by someone after a train the trainer. you just have to have the credible instructors and they have to understand the prims. i have 3700 officers in dallas and i don't teach every single one of these classes. i have built a cadre of instructors, but this had to be delivered in a train the trainer model because we got a million people to train. so if you don't deliver in a train the trainer model we'll never get this done. >> one more question? >> yes. >> i was really appreciative
dr. eastman, your comment about the peer review and liability protection for doing the review. i know any experience people are very very reluctant to do those because there's always a pending lawsuit. are you you aware anywhere in the country where those protections have been implemented successfully? >> not in law enforcement but they're implemented successfully in all 50 states. if we have an error in the operating room the physicians responsible for the error are still held responsible in a court of law but we're able to discuss that in real time usually the same week to make sure that error never occurs again from another physician. that's the whole idea of peer review. doctors reviewing the care that we provide. just for an -- to bring this example home we have an officer who was killed in the line of duty when he approached a vehicle that contained a murder
suspect and set his weapon on the ground to break out a window to try to get the guy out of the car. the dash cam video is out there right now. we use it in our own academy. but every police officer in america should see that video to make sure that they don't ever do the same thing. we lost one life that way. why should we ever lose another? because with -- simply because we haven't gotten the legal protections in place to allow us to have a frank discussion about what happens on a nationwide level and that's a lot about what the near-miss project is about, trying to bring those lessons to the forefront in a way that people feel comfortable putting the lesson out there. but with some legal protection you can really improve the way that law enforcement officers learn from each other. >> thank you. let's turn now to jose lopez followed by roberto villa
villasenor. >> i want to hear more about the first responders retreat. a little bit about the focus or curriculum, the areas you cover during the week-long retreat. >> i have had -- >> information around scale, how many officers are taskerred through the retreat annually and information about the evaluation process and how you're able to evaluate the impact of the program from the officers who use it. >> we lost two officers on traffic stop in 2010 were shot and killed, and i had a conversation with one of our employs chaplains, sister an daughter particulars about how i felt that we didn't do enough -- i couldn't do enough for our officers to deal with the trauma that they are exposed to on a daily basis. and she was able to go out to another state that had a type of a first responders retreat and brought it back to tampa.
she heads the francisan center in tampa and the officers go there for a week inhouse, and they have to probably most traumatic portion is they give up their cell phones when they walk into the retreat. but it is -- one of the downsides is each group, each week is only six to eight officers that can go through it. and they have a series of group sessions where they get to talk about a traumatic experience that have followed them throughout their careers. one of the things they find is they're not alone. that everybody has the same feelings and issues they have regarding trauma they have experienced. and then there are a series of psychiatrists who have volunteered their time to do the emdr that was developed for service members. and that i actually went through the retreat myself and the emdr
was described to you, you would say there's no way that works but if you actually go through it you would find that it truly does work. so that -- then we have a series of presentations on the physiological effects of trauma and how to deal with that. i personally since it was confidential personally would choose the officers to go through it and you can imagine how excited they were at that possibility. the first question is, what's wrong with me? how come me? but i ask them all to come and meet with me afterwards, and almost to the person they have said it's the best experience they've ever had in their career. they wish they had it earlier and would like to see all officers go through it. unfortunately it's very expensive. we have been able to put it on through donations. so far there's a lot of in-kind time donations from the practitioners, and we have --
it's been in effect for a little bit over a year, and we have put 68 people through it so far. and i have all of the information. i can share with anybody who would like more information on it. and usf -- i left out the one part -- university of south florida is following the process to look at how successful it is, and they have been keeping data and statistics on it to date. >> thank you. our last questioner will be roberta villasenor. >> actually because of such excellent questioned by my fellow panel members both of my questions were answered so i developed another one so i don't look like i'm not involved. this is for dr. eastman. you talked about that -- does not give us the granular detail
we're looking for. i just want you to expand on that a little bit. as a law enforcement manager we look at usually the tactical issues and how does it happen and what was the situation but i gather -- you kind of touch on it a little bit win you're talking about accidents or crashes and speed and so forth. if you could expand on what type of granular detail you look for. >> absolutely. you think about the detail collected right now, and i mentioned a bit of this. how far am i from my assailant? is it light dark? was i wearing my body armor. what was the assailant armed with. but if i want to know as a trauma surgeon did this officer debuts he bled to death from an arm wound that needed a tourniquet or does the body armor not cover a piece of our body that leaves us vulnerable for injuries and death? does the car crash that killed this police officer -- again the crashes wouldn't be included in the data -- not assault type
situation, but if we have officers getting stabbed, or injured seriously, are those wounds the result of bad tactics? are the wounds treatable? all those things are an sent from the data set. so, a number of people are trying to work to employ some work-arounds for this problem, and we're actually talking with lioca now about updating the questionnaire for the next -- the timetable is -- look i'm a trauma surgeon and a cop. i'm impatient as can be. i don't do things on a five-year turn-around where i would run for congress. [laughter] >> so, i'm not ready to wait another four years until the data is updated again. we have to do there is now and take the impetus that you have put forthand generate legitimate data that can help us answer some of these questions.
>> thank you. >> thank you so much. please join me in giving our thanks to this crick panel. [applause] we really appreciate alloff you coming particularly with the weather problems and doctor we're going to be jealous of your being on vacation and enjoying your time out there. >> i'll be skiing. thank you very much. >> let me turn things back over to our director now. >> at this stage we'll be breaking for lunch and the next panel three will bet at 1:00. i want to remind the audience that during the break the task force will not deliberate on items discussed today. let us enjoy a good lurch. and for the tech people this one worked better so thank you for making it work and we look forward to the same this afternoon. see everybody at 1:00. great panel. thank you guys.
[inaudible conversations] >> more now from them to white house task force on policing, coming up we hear from the president of the fraternal order of police. this panel is an hour. >> thank you sir, and welcome back everyone. panel three will focus envoyses -- focus on voiced from the field. we'll begin with a distinguish panel. we have one on skype again. this is -- we'll start with chief zachary, the public safety director of woodway texas and immediate past president of the international association of chiefs of police. yost, good to have you. >> pleasure, sir.
>> thank you for allowing me to testify today. i'm the director of the woodway texas police academy and immediate past present of the iacp. i intended to join you bit new flights were cancelled. i began my career at dispatcher in 1979. i am still there and currently serve as the chief and the director of the public safety department. one of my main duties as chief toyings ensure the safety and well-being of my officers is there. this means make sure that they have the proper training and equipment they need to do their job safely so they can return home each and every day to their loved ones. during my time as president of the iacp last you're officer safety and wellness was one of my top priorities and it's always been a top priority of the iacp. it is a position of that organization that no injury or death to a law enforcement professional is acceptable. being a law enforcement officer is always been a stressful and
dangerous job, but currently the law enforcement community is up against even greater pressures challenges and violence. police officers face and witness profound danger on a daily basis. each year there are more than 50,000 assaults on law enforcement officers, which result in more than 14,000 officers being injured this past year. this past year, 126 were also killed in at the line of duty. while ambush attacks on law enforcement officers also increased in 2014. 15 officers nationwide were killed in ambush assaults, matching 2012, the highest total since 1995. it is imperative we provide the training and equipment for officers to help prevent more fatilities and injuries from firearms and ambush attacks. officer safety is an all hands on tax. some programs ol' the bulletproof vest partnership program, are critical resources to enable state and local law enforcement jurisdictions to purchase their life saving
vests. its imperative the program be funded and reauthorized with adequate funding. physical wellness is a huge part of an officer's safety. a fit officer will be able to serve his or her community better as well as provide better support to his or her fellow officers. it's imperative that chiefs encourage their officers to get regular physical checkups and exercise frequently. the center for officer safety and wellness can be a resource for departments the center promotes health and wellness as part of reducing officer injuries initiative. they released the impact of fitness on weight and injuries fact sheet to reducing officer injury's final report which highlights the importance of physical wellness. recently we released two resources examining the importance of officer nutrition. a pocket guide for patrol officers providing healthy on the go meal options and a fact sheet written for law enforcement leaders to ebb
courage nutritional guidance and education as part of formal and informal train. we do know thing such as bmi do matter on police officersful officers must be able to run, defends, and shoot and a physically fit officer can do that much better. in a profession where strength brave and i resilience are revered. mental health issued and the threat of officer suicide are often topics few are willing to discuss openly and candidly. that's why we held an annual symposium on law enforcement officer suicide and enemy health. the result was the report, breaking the silence on law enforcement suicide. this is intended to create a culture of change to normalize mental health issues for law enforcement officers seeking a mental evaluation is command and routine as that of a physical ailment. lastly appointor that all departments provide guidance their officers are especially the new recruits. not only do they need to provide
them with proper equipment and training but they also need to give. the guidance in the areas of both physical and mental health. in addition, each department should be sure to clearly demonstrate that it has certain rules and procedures in place and that in no way does that mean that a department will defend misconduct. all officers should be held accountable for their actions. every department must establish internal affairs policies to deal with potential misconduct. if misconduct occurs the agency should already have measures in place to investigate and address such behavior. the intake process for taking these complaints must be accommodating for the individual registering the complaint so they feel comfortable and they're kept abreast of the happenings. this will send a strong ethical and professional message could staff, both sworn and civilian. the recent report on building trust between the police and citizens they serve an internal affairs promising guide which was funded by the cops office, stresses such that and helps build relationships within the
community. again, i want to thank you for convening this very important listening session and for the opportunity to express my views on officer safety and wellness. it is imperative we provide the proper support for law enforcement officers. they've put their lives on the line every day to protect our communes and ensuring we have the proper equipment, training and support we can both have and give them mentally and physically and keep them fit will make us better at our jobs. i welcome any questions and again i thank you for this opportunity, and i apologize i was not able to make it there in person. >> thank you for your testimony, chief. next we'll hear from dianne burnhard the executive director of concern for police survivors. [inaudible conversations] >> hold on. i don't think your mic is working here. we need to get her mic up. >> okay. test?
>> you got it. >> on behalf of concerns of police survivors, known as c.o.p.s. i want to thank you for asking me to speak on this topic. this is a 30-year-old organization with the mission've rebuilding the shattered lives of survivors and coworker affected by line of duty deaths. cops represent 32,000 family members and coworkers and we provide peer support and assistance in navigating ben e benefits. we also provide long-term services to families and officers for as long as they need them. cops also provides training to law enforcement through our signature traumas and law enforcement training. where we train officers on the handling of a line of duty death but also spend a great teal of time training officers of strategies to pro-actively maintain mental health and wellness throughout their career and provide strategies to avoid what we see too often, an officer taking their own life. the voices we hear from the field of law enforcement survivors constantly repeat the
same thing. the effects of each officer loves are felt forever. last year we saw a rise the number of officers killed by gunfire, and even one officer lost in the line of duty results in a rippling effect of grief through family and agency and a community. on behalf of law enforcement survivor wed have four recommendations for this task force. first we recommend a nationwide effort to focus on the mental health needs of current law enforcement officers. we ask our officers to witness and intervene in the most unspeakable acts of violence and dysfunction in our society. the cumulative stress associated with this can be devastating to the officers. through training such as the cops trauma and law enforcement training, peer support program, employee assistance programs progress can be made and officers can get the help they need. second we recommend strong policies and police agencies. a bullet resistant vest should be provided to every law enforcement officer and there should be strong language and policies requiring that vests be worn.
during my experience as a police officer my coworker was shot in the chest from point blank range with a shot gun and our vest saved her life. this is not the case with every agency. lack of funds should never be a reason an officer doesn't have basic protection. there should also be strong policies governing officers driving and driver training. we lose too many officers behind he wheel of their patrol cars. we recognize officers have to respond quickly and accidents are sometimes unavoidable but this officers should be making decisions through an educated permanent lens with their own safety factor to be considered. third, we recommend stiff penalties for those who assault or kill law enforcement officers. in a time when there's much attention to be gained by those who commit crimes shocking the conscious there's an almost perfect environment for a cop killer to use the media to gain attention. to combat this there should be little consideration of parole when an officer is killed and
heightened penalties for assault on police. while many in our society see being assaulted as part oft the law. job, as country we shouldn't stand for this. we have to combat this belief by sending a strong message to those who make this choice. fourth, we recommend a nationwide effort to re-establish law enforcement as the noble profession that we all know that it is. over the past six months our members have watched as law enforcement officers have been stereo typed the the media and communities. miss memorials have been vandalized, even as recent as this past week in colorado. all of law enforcement, even our nation's best and bravess officers have been called brutal and unprofessional and the vast majorie of officers would never consider being anything but professionals. officers have been second-guessed and scrutinized by those who have months to consider all the possible axe answer officer could have taken while an officer had seconds. the constant negative attention consequences are far reaching,
besides the demoralizing fight o-under nation lazy future police officers are watchingful during a time when the recruitment of quality officers is already an increasing challenge we can expect even more challenges. we should see communities focus -- we could see communities forced to hire those looking for a job rather than those seeking a professional law enforcement career and the results of that could just be devastating. law enforcement is a noble profession and there is honor in the fact that these families loved ones died in protection of us all. when the law enforcement profession is against a position of honor and integrity by society there will be less acceptance of harm being done to our officers. thank you for asking me of the input' the corns of police suv yours. in closing we would like all to remember that each officer we talk about during this very important work is much more than a stack but is part of family and each life is important to us all. thank you. >> thank you for your testimony. next we will hear from robert
bryant penobscot nation. >> good afternoon members of the president's task for i am robert bryant, chairman of the southeastern tribes law enforcement committee. i have lived my entire career as a law enforcement officer on tribal land which has provided me with a strong understanding of the uniqueness and challenges as an officer working in the indian country. the men and women serving as police officers across indian country are often asked to perform duties and responsibilities outside the norm of the profession due to inadequate resources. as police officers, we perform these additional duties with limited resources and training coming at the expense of the overall wellness, safety and family needs of the officer. when looking at tribal law enforcement agencies across the nation it is typical to have only one officer per shift with a ratio of not more than two
officers per one thousand residents. we violent crime across indian country double and sometimes triple the national average, tribal officers safety is a big concern to happen address our issues of low staffing and inadequate resources we continue to work to establish mule aid compact width local county and state agencies to assist our officers. our, these efforts often fall short. this was never more apparent than during the incident in january of 2013 in which a tribal officer was shot and killed by a suspect after nontribal officers who initially responded as backup left the scene, leaving the tribal officer to defend himself. officers are expected to be the ones to respond to traumatic scenes of death and tragedies. however, due to low staffing we're asked to return to patrol without adequate personal support to work through the trauma. tribal officers often suffer
from undiagnosed post traumatic stress, alcohol abuse, and failing physical and mental health. i as a young patrol over experiencees this perjury when responding to two suicides of hangings of people i knew in my commune. any ever received any type of debriefing or counseling. this not because of a lack of willingness or desire by the tribe officer such support but due to inadequate funding and resources. officer training remains insufficient through indian country. we are unable to send officers to offsite locations because of lack of replacement coverage for shifts and we're unable to afford the high cost of bringing the training to the reservations. thursday adequate training greatly impact or quality of work and creates dissatisfaction and mistrust from the people we serve. in addition, the problems over inadequate funding and low staff ratios the bureau of neighbor affairs is stretch too then with
a limited number of drug eights. with the current state of drug addiction and illegal drug trafficking in tribal communities this i troubling the southeast region of the program currently has seven drug agents that cover an area from maine to florida to new mexico. this created a safe haven for drug dealers, leaving officers frustrated and being blamed for being ineffective in combating the drug epidemics in our communes. another issue is higher officer turnover. nowhere is the turnover rate higher than in tribal law enforcement. this turnover is the direct result of the many issues have outlined in this testimony. i off ever the following recommendations to the task force. one, tribal law enforcement officers salaries must be competitive with neighboring municipal, county and state agencies. two, the authority in tribal community knowledge of tribal law enforcement ofs must be respected by officers from local, county and state agencies. there are many instances in which tribal officers are
accused of impersonating officeres when they're off the recess vairs. three, resources must be dedicated to programs to adequately staff and resource strong tribal law enforcement departments. four. a training program must be design for the unique circumstances and realities of bag tribal police officer in indian country. five. police academies across the country need to incorporate a mandatory tribal cultural sensitivity training component for all cadets. law enforcement executives must receive training on the importance of mutual aid compacts for tribal law enforcement, including grant incentives and additional dollars awarded to those who partner with tribal law enforcement. tribal law enforcement agencies must have financial resources to provide counseling and debriefing to officers who respond to serious traumatic incidents. finally, the bureau of indian affairs needs additional appropriations to fulfill it
fiduciary truster obligations by ensugar adequate funding of tribal law enforcement programs and to hire enough drug agents to truly address drug enforcement need inside indian country. on behalf of the indian nation the unite it south and eastern tribes i thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts views and recommendations with you. >> thank you police officer your testimony. innext we hear from chuck canterbury. >> good afternoon. thank you for allow ming to come back a second time to testify before this committee. soon the members the task force will begin to write the final report and we expect it's going to contain recommendations for improving policing at all levels of government. i want to take this opportunity to offer some safety priorities of the fop that we would thereof ask this task force take into consideration in the report.
first, i spoke about the need for federal hate crime legislation to include law enforcement officers at the inaugural session of this committee. i'm notice going into detail but of the 47 firearm deaths in 2014, 19% were officers killed by ambush, by an individual or pair of individuals that were looking to kill a law enforcement officer. i have paned are appended a brief description of these attacks in my written tim. if their objective had been to cull a muslim asian blackman transgender woman could they by charged under hate crime legs and we don't see any reason they should not be held accountable when they target a police officer. i hope that this task force will recommend that the bulletproof vest partnership program be reauthorized by congress. this program has one simple goal. it proposes to increase the number of officers wearing soft body armor by providing matching federal funds to purchase body
armor. the one issue with body armor is it does not live forever and must be renewed every five years. there's no legislation, no government program no grant, that can erase the sad fact that law enforcement officers will die in the to line of duty and now more than ever we see our officers in the crosshairs of these criminals. but this program can document more than 3100 officer whose lives were saved because they were wearing soft body armor. how many other government programsening document their success so starkly? the house has twice passed the legislation bit a nearly unanimous margin and we hope this committee will recommend the passage in this congress. we also hope that the national blue alert bill, a system for local, regional and national dissemination of time sensitive information to help identify a suspect in the event that a law enforcement is killed in the line of duty will pass in this congress as way. both times this bill has been
blocked bay single senator whose recent retirement i welcome. the legislation would leverage the current amber alert system by using existing communication infrastructure to disseminate immediate sensitive information to enlist the public's help in identifying the whereabouts of dangerous suspects. while more than 20 states adopted some form of blue alert there are large gaps in the system. had the assassin who executed officers ramos and lee liu had not taken his life and took flight a blue alert could have been issued to put the public on notice and enlist their help. the fop worked closely with congress to change the bill so that a blue alert could be issued in the event of a clear and imminent threat to law enforcement officers. i expect this legislation now named in honor of ramos and liu to be introduced is in congress this week and i hope this task
force will recommend the passage of that bill. the last -- for the last 20 years, community oriented policing has been at the very core of policing and crime-fighting strategy. but when crime rates are down and budgets shrink there are less officers on the street and those who are on patrol are answering calls for service and unable to engage in community-orb e oriented policing. that's a labor intensive undertaking and cannot be done effectively with reduce outside number of officers on the street. since 2009, federal, state and local law enforcement assistance programs funded by cops and another administration by the bja have been drastically reduced. this administration and the law enforcement community has a lot of faith in the cops office and its mission. we also know that community policing works. and i urge the task force to re-affirm a national commitment to community policing strategy
and we call for the full funding of the cops office. in 1988 the brute intentional of edward burn in new york was like too many of the attacks we're seeing now the ambushes of police officers. but that killing commissioned by an incarcerated drug dealer who wanted to enhance his own reputation by killing a cop, led to the realization that our local and state officers and their agendas needed more resources. with that, the edward burn memorial justice grant program was established. and quickly became a cornerstone for federal crime prevention and crime fight programs enabling communes to target resources to the most pressing needs the phleb are flexibility of the program allowed state and local communities to address the needs and fill the gaps created in the criminal justice system. but since fiscal year 10 the practice program has been reduce bade third, causing a serious construction in the reach of the
funded programs across the states and territories. if additional reductions are made successful programs will be pulled from the field and partnership with the federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement will be further weakened. hundreds of communities will lose a range of critical grant funding and the public safety will by compromised. i hope the task force will endorse are doors this program and keep the funding at a fully funded level. finally i'd like teen doors the testimony that will be given later today by chuck wake with respect to the importance of open communication and mutual respect between labor and management. ongoing dialogue with the shared public safety goal is a must. even in the absence of collective bargaining that said dialogue between the rank-and-file should compliment not supplant, the collective bargaining process. in closing i'd like to thank you for allowing to us be here today. we are very encouraged about the response that this committee has
received from the law enforcement community, and we look forward to working with this group to enhance public safety and public service in the law enforcement community. thank you. >> thank you very much for your testimony. next we'll hear from william j.j. son executive director national association of police organizations, napo. >> thank you commissioner ramsey, professor robinson members of the task force. i appreciate this opportunity to provide information to you on the topic of officer safety and wellness today. i will focus my remarks on workplace due process labor management relations, safety equipment and officer stress. na poe continues to fight for nationwide officer bill of rights to ensure proceed ural due process for law enforcement officers due to the enormous responsibilities to examiner, so i warren law enforcement officers are held to an extremely holiday standard of personal and professional conduct. however many officers are denied in the pace jibbing due process right rights that other? is enjoan.
states lack procedures for departments to follow to protect law. officer rights when they're under investigation. in fact in only half of the states do officers enjoy legal protections against falls accusations and abuse of conduct. this leads huh hundreds off officers with limit ordinary no due process rights in the workplace. officers can be expected to treat others the way they're trited themselves. if officers are consistently exposed to could crosssive climate of suspicion, mistrust second-guessing and heavy handed or arbitrary discipline we cannot feign surprise when they create a similar world view of the social environment outside the department. on the other hand everyone benefits when a sense of fairness, mutual respect and benefit of the doubt is recognized as being not expected from officers but owed to them as well. a law enforcement bill of right wood require departments to investigation of complaints against officers. if disciplinary action is foreseeable officers would be notified of the investigation
the nature of the complaint and the recommendations of the investigators. officers would be guaranteed the right to reasonable limits on time duration and location of interrogations. the imposition self-discipline would be reviewable by a neutral third party and the officer would enjoy the same right to counsel that other? is in the nation expect and enjoy. in addition implementing a law enforcement officer bill of rights with its intended processes for the receiving and handle offering complaints would assure individuals that management takes community concerns seriously and conducts fair inquiries. this would bring transparency to the process and assist in development of trust between police officers their employing agencies and the communities they serve. recommendation, establish a national law enforcement officer bill of rights. additional live critical for management to effective live communicate goals and initiatives and understand the rank-and-file perspective of the mutual communication of these goals and perspectives can be most effect thrill and eforward live achieved through -- itself
its giving to build trust when unions and associations are demonize expect belittled if the union lead shore inship were not accurately conveying the views of officers they we be oust of the. it's therefore boast wise and practical for agency manage tom recognize and work with the represents of the rank-and-file officers who are actually carrying out the policies of the agency. recommendation? encourage agency leader in the public to recognize and take advantage of the benefits of police unions and associations. as our officers work to build relationships with their communes they must be provided every protection necessary to ensure their safety. napo as worked tirely to reauthorize and fully fund the bulletproof vest partnership grandprogram. as members of the panel are aware the program helps state and local agencies purchase bullet resistant body armor for officers. while many officers are protected by body arm 'er an alarming number of officers, many in small departments, are not a forded the same protection
due to local budget constraints. this program must be fully fund understand ordinary to ensure officers are equipped and protects as they perform duties in very dangerous environments where individuals are increasingly willing to attack officers. recommendation ensure every officer is equipment with a properly fitted and current body armor. na poe recognizes the department of justice in funding the purchase of body armor requires receiving agencies to have a hand tear wear policy. similarly most if not all agencies have in effect requirement to use seatbelts. viewsly we support the greaterroroo of body armar and seat belt e belts but a mandatory policy does not and should not be equated with a zero tolerance enforment policy. no one is smart enough to conceive over every possible circumstance in which after officer final herself. it's reasonable for an on-duty officer to remove her seat e seatbelt over body armar cases which come to mind include the
situation where a wounds officer cannot survive the wait for other an ambulance and other officers driver them to an emergency room providing direct pressure on a gush wind the whole way. the officers providing first aid could not physically do so if they were con fined with the normal wearing of seat belts. the policy is technically violate it but enunfair to enforce. if an officer removes a body armor and dives into the water to save 0 woman. tech neck click the policy is try lated brut justice would require recognition that a higher gold is served. ...
>> recommendation, officers families should not be penalized at an appropriate operation of these policies. we are also working to expand this with coverage if an officer's death results from posttraumatic stress and officers are forced to deal with human misery and weakness and sorrow. and that includes the mother killed by a drunk driver, the grandmother beaten half to