By Scott Houston
A Texas Police Chiefs Association (TPCA) training program aims to reduce, if not eliminate, preventable line-of-duty deaths.
The title of the program – VINCIBLE – removes the “in” from “invincible” to remind officers that they are vulnerable. In fact, as many as 50% of officer deaths in some years are attributable to behaviors that are controllable. TPCA’s seven-minute video outlines the basics of this free program.
VINCIBLE uses five cornerstones to change deeply ingrained, risk-prone behaviors and ultimately reduce deaths and injuries:
- Wear your vest
- Wear your seatbelt
- Watch your speed
- Stay fit
The 540 concept comes from 360 degrees of protection, plus 180 degrees above or below an officer. The concept is one of holistic safety, as 540 captures both tactical competencies and resiliency factors related to an officer’s health and wellness.
TPCA distributes regular roll-call training as the primary means of promoting the cornerstones, hoping to change police culture and thereby reduce preventable injuries and deaths.
The TPCA Officer Safety Committee prepares programming to share in a short PowerPoint presentation, usually based on recent, real-world examples. The lead roll-call officer lays out the scenario and asks for a brief (10 minutes or less) discussion from officers. This simple exercise aims to keep the cornerstones, and safety in general, at the forefront of an officer’s mind throughout his or her shift.
Thus far, TPCA has prepared more than 300 roll-call presentations, and a new one is created each week. Two examples include:
The TPCA Officer Safety Committee wants this safety initiative to spread across the nation. To learn more about making your department VINCIBLE, or to be included in future weekly training presentations, email [email protected] or visit www.vincible.org. In addition, the TML Intergovernmental Risk Pool’s Stronger, Together Podcast Series includes a 14-minute podcast that further explains the program.
About the author
Scott Houston is the Intergovernmental Relations Manager for the Texas Municipal League Intergovernmental Risk Pool.