Police Professional Liability: The Dangers of Complacency
Daily duties and specific routines can make us complacent in our work. It is easier to simply go through the motions, especially if nothing changes. In law enforcement however, complacency can have deadly costs.
In his article for Law Officer, “Complacency Kills,” author Weston Brown describes police work as “defined by hours of boredom and compiled by moments of terror.” The danger he argues, is those hours of boredom, all those routine traffic stops, patrols and civilian encounters create a sense of complacency that can dull our senses so we aren’t as quick to recognize a threat when it is there.
A book, Predictable Surprises, examines warning signals that leaders ignore, miss or fail to take action on. Here is the thought process that results in complacency, even when the warning signs are there:
It will not happen again.
If it does happen, it won’t happen here.
If it happens here, it won’t be a big deal.
If it ends up being a big deal, it won’t negatively impact me.
If it ends up being a big deal that negatively impact me, there’s nothing I could have done to prevent it.
These thought processes are the brooding grounds of complacency. And in police work, complacency means making assumptions and expecting each and every call to be the same routine, usual process can have deadly consequences.
We want to hear from you. How can officers break through complacency? Are there certain strategies, training opportunities or behaviors that can help? We’d love to hear from you.
At Professional Governmental Underwriters, our Police Professional liability program is uniquely designed for law enforcement officers. Our program is designed for city, borough, village, township and county police and sheriff departments serving populations less than 100,000. For more information, please contact us today about our Police Professional Liability programs – 804-272-6557