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Are You Ready for Duty? (Poster)

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2014
1 page

Eight aspects of a law enforcement officer's preparedness for duty are briefly presented, together with statistics and information that show the importance of each area of preparedness in reducing officer safety risks.


The eight areas of officer preparedness are vest-wearing, proper vest fit, physical readiness, mental readiness, off-duty vigilance, situational awareness, and knowledge of the community served. Statistics related to vest-wearing show that since 1987, over 3,100 officers have avoided death or serious injury by wearing vests. Statistics related to proper vest fit indicate that of the 101 officers who died from gunshots to their upper torso between 1990 and 1999, most were penetrated between vest panels or through arm openings. Vests must fit in order to provide maximum coverage to an officer's upper torso. Data on safety risk related to an officer's physical fitness indicate that overweight officers are more likely to be physically challenged by offenders and also receive more serious injuries compared with officers who are physically fit. Data related to mental readiness indicate that officers impaired by fatigue are involved in more on-the-job accidents and injuries than officers who are well-rested and mentally prepared for duty. Since officers may be known in their communities even when they are off-duty, it is important to be vigilant, particularly when confronted with occasions that require actions in an official capacity. Situational awareness is important because of data that show officers are frequently killed in ambushes. Being alert to various factors associated with officer ambushes can be critical. Being familiar with the demographics and crime patterns of the community served and the development of relationships with community leaders and organizations can increase familiarity with danger areas and assistance resources.