Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Technically Speaking in a Technical Time

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Nico, Mrs. Fusaro and Christopher enjoying the Gold Coast Train Museum. Sept. 26, 2020

September 30, 2020

I decided to write this after the attempted murder of the 2 L.A. Sheriff’s deputies in California. We owe it to ourselves, and our families, to remain safe, by not compromising are situational awareness during our down time. Although an ambush is an ambush and it may be impossible to see it coming. We can prevent being taken by surprise by not focusing on our technology and not compromising our hyper vigilance.

Information technology has infiltrated our police cars by way of computers and cell phones. Both have become a way of life for us in the law enforcement profession. Back in the day when tickets were written, most of us officers, would stand off to the side of the road, in a swale or on a sidewalk, and stroke out a citation. All the while keeping our eyes on the occupants inside the car. This method also gave us situational awareness by allowing us to see nearly 360 degrees around us.

Boy, times sure have changed.

These days, officers are glued to their computer and rely on this technology to perform our basic patrol functions from our CAD system, traffic crashes and ticket writing. Our cell phones have become a file cabinet of information that inundates us with unlimited information that most of us consume during our downtime while on duty. There is no question that social media has become a daily way of life. These distractions are making us technically unsafe.

Electronic distractions are new additions to our daily onslaught of radio traffic, situational awareness, and response to calls. There is no way to combat this deluge of constant information, other than minimizing our use of it during moments that we think we are safe but forgetting we are vulnerable.

If you have, or are currently, sitting in a parked police car in front of Walmart, Home Depot, or another business, in order to be visible to deter crime from occurring, well this is no longer an efficient method. Marked police cars are magnets for all sorts of questions from people or well wishes from citizens for our safety, and opportunities for criminals to make statements by attempting to hurt us. We must constantly be aware of what is happening around us, rather than burying our faces in our laptop. At least dayshift officers, who are paying attention around them, have the tactical advantage with the benefit of daylight.

Ambushes, like the one we saw over the weekend in Los Angeles, are not new to law enforcement. On November 13, 1990, Broward Sheriff Deputy Patrick Behan was shot and killed by 2 juveniles who were out riding bikes on a dare while, Deputy Behan wrote a police report in the parking lot of a Circle K regarding a retail theft.

Although ambushes are nothing new, they seem to be happening more frequently over the past several years. In a USA Today newspaper article titled Ambush -style killings of police were up 167% in 2016. (Hjelmgaard, 2016). “On average, one law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty in the U.S. every 61 hours and more than 20,000 police officers have lost their lives in the line of duty since the first known line-of-duty death in 1791, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.”

People have free will to do what they want. Opportunities for an ambush can occur when an officer has his or her car parked in front of a business to deter crime. These moments are where we can be most vulnerable (also car to car conversations.) Most of the time we are utilizing our technology by way of our smart phone, computer, or other technical means. Remember that you should not compromise your situation awareness by focusing on what is on your social media timeline while ignoring the real life occurring around you.

The attempted murder of the 2 L.A. Sheriff’s Deputies and the murder of BSO Deputy Behan, should be wake up calls for us to heighten our awareness of who, and what, is going on around us. You can do this by being technically safe in a technical time. You may very well save your own life.

Captain Imperfecto and newborn son, Max and Christophe at home. September 20,  2020.


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