By Todd Duncan, Law Enforcement and Safety Specialist

In conjunction with National Police Week in May, this month’s installment of the law enforcement Safety Short focuses on the Below 100 initiative. Sometimes it’s helpful to go back to the basics, especially when it comes to officer safety. The tragic loss of Ceresco, Nebraska, Police Officer Ross Bartlett and the murders of four North Carolina officers in the last couple of weeks are a sobering reminder of the dangers law enforcement officers face every day.

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP), there have been 54 total line of duty deaths (LODD) so far in 2024, a 23% increase from the same time last year. Leading causes of LODDs this year are auto (21), gunfire (20), medical (7), and other causes (6).

LODD Graphic


The Below 100 initiative was born out of an idea that came up while a group of law enforcement officers were sitting around a dinner table at a conference in 2010. One of those present, Major Travis Yates of the Tulsa Police Department made a statement that got everyone’s attention: “If we would just slow down, wear our seatbelts, and clear intersections, we could get our line of duty deaths to Below 100 a year.” From that dinner table discussion, the Below 100 has evolved into a nationwide effort to reduce line of duty deaths to below 100, which has not occurred since 1943. Major Yates’ statement would later shape the Below 100 mission statement to “Reduce line-of-duty deaths to fewer than 100 per year.”

Key Tenants

There are five key tenants to the Below 100 initiative that have a major impact on increasing officer safety:

  1. Wear your belt.
  2. Wear your vest.
  3. Watch your speed.
  4. WIN- What’s Important Now?
  5. Remember: Complacency Kills!

With auto collisions and gunfire as the two main causes of LODDs year after year, it’s easy to see why the Below 100 founders chose these five tenants. These are the areas where we can make the biggest difference in saving lives. Furthermore, these tenants are straightforward, simple to train, and cost little to nothing to implement.

Leadership Buy-In

For initiatives like Below 100 to be taken seriously, safety needs to be a core principle of an agency’s culture, and culture starts at the top. Actions speak louder than words. Nothing sends a stronger message to line personnel than seeing the sheriff or sergeant wearing their body armor every day, practicing excellent officer safety, and setting a good example when driving.
A simple three-part formula leaders can use when promoting positive change within an organization’s culture is to focus on policy, training, and oversight. Does your agency have clear policies, i.e. “personnel shall drive with due regard for the safety of others when operating vehicles in routine and emergency situations”? Are all personnel adequately trained on the policies, including the “why,” i.e. we care about you, it’s the law, public safety, legal liability, etc. Are supervisors regularly reminded of the expectation that they oversee the day-to-day performance of their employees, i.e. occasionally showing up on calls, reviewing reports, holding shift meetings, actively monitoring pursuits, etc., and addressing policy or safety violations in a timely, constructive manner?


Is accountability modeled by leadership, promoted at all levels, and rewarded when it is demonstrated? Do leaders and line personnel have the courage to hold each other accountable when policies and safety rules are violated? These can be tough conversations. Using the A.I.R. method when approaching someone about performance or conduct issues, including safety concerns, can be an effective way to keep these conversations constructive.

A Action I noticed while reviewing video from last night’s pursuit that you violated the red light and drove through the intersection of Hwy. 6 and Main Street at 60 mph without slowing down, nearly colliding with an uninvolved motorist.
I Impact This violated the law and agency policy, and most importantly, put yourself and the public at risk of serious injury or death.
R Request In the future, I need you to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons at all times and slow down when violating stop signs or red lights at intersections as needed to avoid collisions with other vehicles.


As NIRMA’s Loss Prevention Manger Chad Engle always says, “Risk management is a verb, not a noun.” Hopefully this Safety Short will encourage you to start (or continue) conversations with your staff about the Below 100 initiative and agency policies that support the five key tenants. It could be as simple as:

  • Policy- Reviewing your policies related to critical tasks such as vehicle operations, body armor, and officer safety to ensure they are clear, concise, and reflect current laws and generally accepted best practices.
  • Training- Conducting training with staff on critical policies related to operation of motor vehicles in routine and emergency situations, traffic stops, officer safety, etc. Effective training can take many forms including traditional classroom instruction, brief team discussions led by a sergeant at the beginning of a shift, and one-on-one coaching.
  • Oversight- Ensuring that command staff are engaged in day-to-day operations and aware of what’s going on at all levels of the organization. Reminding supervisors of their responsibilities for developing their employees, monitoring performance, addressing performance issues, etc. Equally important is providing supervisors with the training, tools, and support needed to succeed in their role. They play a critical role in ensuring agency policies are followed consistently.

One final note on driving: Members are encouraged to take advantage of the National Safety Council’s defensive/distracted driving course provided by NIRMA’s Loss Prevention team at no cost. Distracted driving is a major risk factor for members, particularly law enforcement officers, and the consequences can be devastating as seen in the case of the 2007 high-speed, distracted-driving crash involving an Illinois state trooper that killed sisters Kelli and Jessica Uhl. For more information on scheduling defensive/distracted driving training at your agency, contact the NIRMA Loss Prevention Team at (402) 742-9220.