“Below 100” initiative aims to prevent officer fatalities

Police lights
(WISH Photo/file)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Below 100 is a nationwide campaign designed to keep the number of police fatalities in the US to under 100 each year. When IMPD tweeted the news that a bulletproof vest had saved Officer Gregory Milburn in a deadly shooting Friday morning, the department used the hashtag “Below 100.”

IMPD joined the Below 100 initiative this year and started implementing its training. So far, Below 100 has trained eight people at the police academy in Indianapolis. Those instructors are now able to train other officers going through the academy. 

The United States has already had 48 line-of-duty deaths in 2014, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. On Friday, Officer Milburn’s bulletproof vest kept that number from getting any closer to 100.

The Below 100 campaign emphasizes simple steps officers can take to avoid tragedy in dangerous situations like Friday’s shooting.

The five main principles are:

  • Wear a seat belt
  • Wear a vest
  • Watch your speed
  • WIN — What’s important now?
  • Remember complacency kills

While the steps may seem basic, trainers say they are vital.

“Unfortunately we begin to pre-program that into our mind, that nothing bad is going to happen, because I’ve done it once, twice, a hundred times and it’s gone well for me every single time, so when the boogie man comes to get us, we’re not prepared,” said Kevin Butker, who has gone through the training program in South Carolina.

Law enforcement trainers in Oklahoma started the program in 2010. Now, Below 100 courses are used in at least 25 states. Since the launch, law enforcement deaths have decreased every year.

In 2011, there were 179 law enforcement deaths. The following year, the number dropped to 125.

Last year, the US was close to the goal, but 105 officers lost their lives. This year, IMPD, along with departments all across the nation, hope the five principles will make a difference and continue saving lives, like Officer Milburn’s.

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