Course Aims to Keep Law Enforcement Deaths "Below 100"

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By Brittany Bivins

Last year, four Alabama law enforcement officers died in the line of duty. One new initiative is aiming to change that. It's called "Below 100," and it's an education course for officers, dedicated to bringing the number of active-duty deaths in the U.S. to under 100 a year.

On Wednesday, dozens of law enforcement officers from all over the state gathered in Alexander City with that goal in mind.

"Over the past 113 years in the state of alabama, we've had at least one death, active-duty related, every year, with the exception of 1940," said Lt. Bill Hough with the Tallapoosa County Sheriff's Office.

This year, law enforcement agencies want that number to be zero. This course focuses on safety, especially on the roadways, where up to 40 percent of officer deaths happen. There have been 515 active-duty deaths in Alabama, and a majority of those are crashes, making an officer's patrol car a very dangerous workplace.

"Line of duty accidents with line of duty officers, you know, over my career, we've seen that and that's the most tragic thing," said Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett.

"It's tragic when any officer that gets killed in the line of duty. you know, they're actually out there, trying to protect us," said Abbett.

Kim Cotney, a Tallapoosa County communications officer, attended the course. She says it puts everything in perspective. "It's just like losing one of your family members. You know, when you're there-we're all like family," she said.

Kim Cobb, another communications officer, agreed. "You know, it hits home for me, because i've known most of these officers my entire life, so it just-it makes a big difference to me," she said.

There are some laws in effect to protect law enforcement officers on the roadways. That includes Alabama's "Move Over" law, which requires you to move to at least one lane over any time an officer or emergency vehicle is stopped on the side of the road.
 

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