2 / FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin
raditionally, most peopleconsider officer safety interms of an individualimportance of incident-specifictactical defenses, which remaincritical parts of police training.Rather, as futurists, we profferthat the potential for terroristactivity on American soildemands new conceptualunderstandings and practicalapplications of officer safety.The elements of safety expandacross time and space, broaden-ing the threshold beyond thepotential for incident-basedcontacts. Our offerings here addto the existing canon of safetyconcerns, building upon it insome instances and supplement-ing it in others.
If a terrorist incident occursas a large-scale public event—an attack with conventional,chemical, biological, or nuclearweapons against symbolic ordensely populated targets—officer safety concerns change.Individual safety will be
officer, in extreme circum-stances, facing a “bad guy”intent upon doing harm to thatofficer. The armed encounter—and the possibility of death—puts into high relief the entirerange of tactical defenses thathave constant application:awareness of the environment,including reading “cues” fromsubjects; threat assessment; andapproach and contact tech-niques, such as handcuffing,weapons retention, and firearmshandling and use. The elementsthat officers must focus onare concentrated in time and,usually, space, with the majorityof violent encounters occurringwithin a 10- to 20-foot radius.
We do not intend to deni-grate or underestimate the
The Future of Officer Safety in an Age of Terrorism
By: MICHAEL E. BUERGER, Ph.D.,and BERNARD H. LEVIN, Ed.D.