FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 7, 2010) – No sworn law enforcement officer in Kentucky died in the line of duty in 2009, Governor Steve Beshear announced today, marking the first time in more than a century that the Commonwealth ended the year without a fallen officer.
According to documentation from the Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation, at least one officer has fallen every year since 1906.
“A year without casualties is a remarkable achievement that underscores the quality of Kentucky’s law enforcement officers and their dedication to continual training,” Gov. Beshear said during a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the Peace Officers Professional Standards (POPS) Act. “It also speaks to the progress police executives have made in implementing practices and policies to better assure the safety of our officers.”
Kentucky law enforcement’s extraordinary year contrasts vividly with national trends in2009, when the number of officers killed in the line of duty by gunfire increased 24 percent from 2008, according to preliminary statistics from the National Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation.
Speaking at the Law Enforcement Memorial in Richmond, Gov. Beshear credited specialized training created by the POPS Act that all officers receive. The POPS training requires recruits to pass physical fitness criteria; submit to fingerprint, medical, drug-screening and polygraph examinations; and meet or exceed several other requirements for admission. After 18-weeks of basic training, officers still must attend one week of mandatory in-service training at Department of Criminal Justice Training annually.
“Kentucky’s success in protecting the lives of its officers is not just happenstance,” Gov. Beshear said. “Ten years ago, the POPS Act propelled the Commonwealth to the top tier of states by requiring standardized, detailed and ongoing training for its officers.”
“Most Kentucky law enforcement executives agree that the POPS-instigated hiring procedures and highly specialized training have combined to make not only Kentucky communities safer, but also the officers themselves,” said Commissioner John W. Bizzack, of the Department of Criminal Justice Training.
“Our communities are safer, our officers are smarter and our agencies are stronger because of the standardization and professionalism brought about by the POPS Act,” said J. Michael Brown, Secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet. “Kentuckians deserve the very best in trained, professional law enforcement, and this remarkable statistic is just one example of how Kentuckians are receiving just that.”