No simple answer for high number of police deaths

By Richard Yager….

From left: CAC chair James Blough congratulates life-saving missions by Hammocks District Police Officers Michael Mallon and Rolando Collada.

Tragic deaths of 10 Florida police officers to date in 2011 can only partially be explained by current economic stress, Police Services director Naim Erched told a Miami-Dade Police Hammocks District Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) audience on Mar. 30.

“You can search for reasons people are so on edge to explain the number of unprecedented police deaths this year but frankly there’s no single answer.

“To prevent such occurrences, safety for all concerned is the top police priority,” he stated. “The goal for response from emergency phone call to on-scene assistance is targeted for eight minutes or less, with a two to five minute arrival as our objective,” he said.

“But response time is only one factor since officers arriving on a dangerous scene must make immediate decisions, not only for those involved but for themselves.

“We train officers to value their lives equally with those who they seek to aid or safely disarm in these situations,”added Erched, who administrates the county’s police districts and specialized units, and serves as president of the Association of Chiefs of Police.

“Officers must make up their mind in a split second, based on how we train them to recognize potential life-threatening acts — something that may begin as a small arm movement when a individual begins reaching behind his back,” he continued.

“All officers put their lives on the line in these tense situations,” he said. “Ironically, at the very moment I sat in the church service memorializing two Miami-Dade officers [Roger Castillo and Amanda Haworth], I learned about the two other officers killed in the line of duty in St. Petersburg.”

A Hammocks resident, the police administrator was on hand to congratulate District Officers Michael Mallon and Rolando Collada cited for their life-saving mission in the early morning of Sunday, Feb. 6.

The two officers were the first on the scene to begin administering chest compression to save Susan Sanchez whose later recovery from a heart attack thanks to emergency police and fire-rescue aid was termed “a miracle” by Kendall Regional Medical Center medical staff.

“Their dedication and teamwork is nothing short of outstanding; their quick response and efforts helped save a life,” Maj. Alexander D. Casas said as CAC chair James Blough presented the officers with citations as Officers of the Month for March.

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