But what about the safety check for PPE before an officer shoots an injured animal such as a deer that has been hit by car? Often those same officers forget or don’t think about using their safety equipment when they are not at the range. Why? Are they in a hurry, or do they not have the equipment with them in the squad car?
The League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT) officer injury statistics don’t tell us why, but they do tell us that many officers report hearing injures on these calls when hearing protection was not used. In addition to the officer shooting, it is sometimes an officer standing nearby that reports being injured.
- Make sure every officer has quick access to hearing and eye protection. Whether it is part of the squad car’s standard equipment or individually issued to the officer, this safety equipment has uses beyond the firearms range.
- Follow the same procedures and use the exact same words used at the shooting range when shooting an animal. “Final check for ears and eyes” should be loudly announced so all officers can get their safety equipment on and prepare for the shot.
- Designate an officer to be the safety officer to verify everyone has their PPE in place and to watch over the entire scene. It is very easy to be focusing on the animal with no one watching the big picture, including the perimeter or traffic.
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In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.