In the 1980s, two California police officers were deeply concerned with the safety and welfare of law enforcement personnel. Nationwide, more and more peace officers were being assaulted, and far too many were losing their lives on and off-duty. Individually, they recognized that police work was becoming more demanding, difficult and extremely dangerous. Although initially unknown to each other, their passion for preparing officers to face that “Moment in Time” was a common theme that would eventually unite them.
In 2007, Ed Deuel and Rich Wemmer decided to unify their efforts and law enforcement knowledge to form the Peace Officer Safety Institute. Combining over 70 years of practical law enforcement experience, including their numerous examinations of peace officer accidental deaths, assaults and murders, they developed a Center to research, and to train peace officers at all ranks to make accurate assessments and timely decisions in tactical situations.
Today, the communities we protect and serve demand that officers possess specialized law enforcement knowledge and skills and perform without error or impropriety. While there are many who use their skills effectively and safely in predictable and stable situations, far fewer peace officers can immediately and properly adapt to chaotic, rapidly changing, and unanticipated conditions without performance errors. Furthermore, such lapses in police performance can endanger public safety.
Whenever an officer is confronted with an unexpected threat, there are crucial tasks that must be performed without delay or error. The officer must immediately recognize the new threat, appraise the threat’s imminence and severity, select a different tactical option, and respond in a legal, proper and safe manner within “real-time”.
Historically, post critical incident liability reviews determined if a peace officer correctly performed these tasks. When the officer’s actions were found to be improper, consequences for the municipality, agency and officer occurred. These included officer discipline, civil and criminal liability, and often resulted in damage to the officer’s personal health and welfare.
The Center offers a wide variety of activities and services to make peace officers safer and to achieve our goal of preventing peace officer accidental deaths, assaults and murders. We strongly believe these services will significantly reduce the catastrophic financial and personal impact of critical events on the community, the law enforcement agency, and the officer’s personal and professional lives.