Three Police Safety Tips To Keep Officers Alive This Halloween

image of girl holding a trick-or-treating bucket Halloween can be a time of fun and excitement for young trick-or-treaters — for a few hours, children have the chance to exercise their imaginations, becoming someone or something they could never otherwise be in the real world. However, for police officers, both on and off duty, Halloween poses a unique set of threats that are not applicable during the remaining 364 days of the year. As a result, vigilance, nerves and the possibility of making a critical mistake are at an all-time high. We want to ensure that every police officer goes home to his or her family on November 1st. Here are three police safety tips that may keep you alive this Halloween.

1. Employ the help of your senses.

Halloween isn’t just for kids anymore; many teens and adults often participate in the event, as well. So how do you decipher a criminal from a normal civilian when everyone is wearing masks? Start by analyzing other visual cues. Whether you are conducting a routine traffic stop or confronting a citizen on the street, make sure you are conscious of how the individual in question is moving. What does his/her body language say? Is he/she holding anything in his/her hand that could be perceived as a weapon? Be acutely aware of your surroundings and how this individual engages with those surroundings.

2. Assume that all weapons are weapons.

Many costumes will come equipped with faux firearms; however, from a distance, a gun looks like a gun. For your own safety, treat every item resembling a weapon as if it is that weapon until confirmed otherwise. That said, if you find yourself locked in an altercation of some sort with an individual carrying such a weapon, remember that your job is to disarm the individual, first and foremost. Lethal force is the last option an officer should use in a threatening situation.

3. Use your resources.

There is no greater tip than being conscious of the resources that are available to you: Avoid patrolling on Halloween night without a partner, when possible. If you must patrol alone, keep dispatch nearby at all times; you need to be able to quickly call for backup if and when necessary. Finally, download the Hero911 app, the situational awareness smartphone necessity for all on-duty and off-duty officers. By signing up to use our mobile application, you will be given the power to know when and where other participating officers are in danger. You also have the power to signal if you are in danger, alerting nearby officers to immediately come to your aid. When it comes to staying alive, every second counts. Use your best judgement in each situation; your number one priority is to make sure you go home to your family.
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