by Ian D Scofield
Employees (even police officers) tend to think that safety reporting can be a waste of time. That simply isn't true. There are a lot of different incidents that can be reported from accidents to near misses to safety issues in general. Reporting these incidents can help a department in a variety of ways.
Here is why all safety incidents should be reported and that every department needs a reporting platform.
A small incident can teach us why a larger incident didn't happen. In many cases this is because someone noticed the minor incident and was able to stop it from becoming something bigger. In other cases it is because an outside force intervened.
Incidents that happen can be used as learning experiences to prevent a similar incident from happening again. This is part of why we report safety incidents in the first place. There is a first time for everything but that first time doesn't have to mean there is a second time. Not if you learn from the first incident.
Safety incidents are much like mistakes, the road to improvement is guided by learning from your mistakes. The road to a safe department is guided by learning from safety incidents.
It is impossible for administration to know when there is a potential risk if they aren't on the streets every day like you are. You are the boots on the ground in the patrol car witnessing everything that is happening. Administration has given you a lot of autonomy and with that they expect help back. Help in the form of keeping them up to date on what they can do for you.
Most departments won't change their policies if there isn't a reason. Safety incident reporting helps to give departments are reason to modify policies, create new ones, or remove old ones. A trend shows that an incident isn't just a one time occurrence and that there is something faulty with the way that things are done.
One of the biggest reasons to report incidents is the fact that if we don't report an incident, no one knows it happened. By being aware of incidents that happens it keeps us on our toes and prevents us from becoming complacent.
Incidents should be shared with fellow officers but it is important that we share these incidents without blame. Blame will put a negative connotation on incident reporting and make it less likely for future incidents to be reported.
When you track incidents you can keep statistics on how many incidents and the types of said incidents happen every year. That allows you to know how safe your department is and how you can improve. It also is the only way to know if your safety is improving or going downhill.
With accidents in the field happening such as the recent spike in fentanyl exposure, it is more important than ever to keep safety in mind. Reporting any incident that happens can be helpful. You never know, you might be saving a life by making that report. Stay safe out there.
About The Author:
Ian is a staff writer at APTI and hospital security officer at a major medical center who has a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice with a Specialization in Administration of Justice. He has held multiple positions in the security industry from patrol supervisor to auxiliary public safety officer. At APTI he brings his writing skills to help further the careers of others and provide quality content. Feel free to visit his freelancing site or his creative writing site.
Did you just get a job as a law enforcement officer or are you trying to get one?
Law enforcement is a very rewarding career, one that can enhance your life and benefit you greatly. Preparing for a job in law enforcement shares some similarities to other careers. At the same time it has unique challenges to overcome.
Let’s take a moment to examine how you can prepare for a job as a law enforcement officer.