‘Below 100,’ law officers reminded

The in basket: For reasons involving an incarcerated acquaintance, I found myself wandering around the Kitsap County Jail recently, trying to find the entrance to the reception area.

Far off course, I wandered on foot into a compound marked for sheriff’s vehicles only. As I left, I couldn’t help but notice a large arrow-shaped sign on the chain link fence reading “Below 100” at the top. In the center of the arrow were admonitions to “Wear your Vest,” “Wear Your Belt,” “Watch Your Speed,” and “WIN – What’s Important Now.”

It clearly was a reminder to be safe for deputies as they head out on patrol. “What’s Important Now” was a little hard to puzzle out, but presumably means to not be distracted by events not related to what you’re dealing with at the moment.   But “Below 100?” That stumped me completely. Don’t go over 100 mph if you get into a chase? I had to ask.

The out basket: Deputy Scott Wilson, spokesman for the sheriff’s office, said there is a campaign nationwide to keep line-of-duty deaths of police officers below 100 for the year.

The campaign’s Web site says, “By concentrating on the areas of loss that are most susceptible to change (e.g. use of safety equipment and enhanced situational awareness), Below 100 can serve as an instrument of cultural transformation and improved operational practices. Below 100 recognizes that awareness and training are key and targeted audience must be the change agents – the trainers and decision makers in organizations.”

Scott gave me one small example. If you are in your car writing a report, requiring you to look down for any length of time, have the car backed up against a wall or structure that allows no approach from the rear by someone on foot, he said.

They’ll have to try again next year. KCSO Sgt. John VanGesen noted while I was learning this at Sheriff Steve Boyer’s retirement event this week that the number for 2014 nationwide stands at 115 with the most dangerous period of the year ahead, he said.

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