Communication Key to Keeping Cops Safe - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Communication Key to Keeping Cops Safe

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Those who promise to serve and protect us ... need protection themselves.

And while they have vests, cameras and guns...

Often, their best protection, is using their head.

(Sgt. Kylan Klauzer/ Dickinson Police Department) "We have a noticeable increase in high risk incidents; weapons being involved, firearms being involved. Things similar to that."

That's one reason why the Dickinson police department bought this armored vehicle about a year ago.

Its officers have used it nearly a dozen times since.

Bismarck police get theirs out a little more often...

(Sgt. Steve Scheuer/ Bismarck Police Department) "I can think of a call a few years ago where you have an individual armed with a hunting rifle. That's the kind of protection you need to get up close for people to adequately deal with the situation."

Most calls, however, don't require this much protection and fire power.

Most calls don't even require officers to use the weapons on their belts.

(Klauzer) "Often times it's as simple as an officer being attentive, having his alertness and awareness up. Not being caught off guard. That in itself can be a lifesaving element"

Sergeants Scheuer and Klauzer both say the best way for officers to stay safe...is to communicate.

(Scheuer) "Really it comes down to talking to people, dealing with people."

Departments invest time and money training their officers on how to deal with people.

(Scheuer) "The mindset and intellectual aspect of a police officer is considerably more important than the tools you have."

It can take up to eight months to get a new officer ready for duty.

But learning can't stop there.

Once in the field, officers study themselves,

They study other officers.

They evaluate, and reevaluate their performance in the field.

(Scheuer) "Learn from your own mistakes and capitalize on what you did well."

Because they know there's no such thing as a routine situation anymore.

(Klauzer) "Ultimately, going home at the end of the day is one of their top priorities."

Earlier this week Grand Forks announced it's police will wear body cameras.

Dickinson police officers also use them.

Bismarck police do not have body cameras, and Scheuerr says they're not a priority yet.

Other gadgets on the way for police in the area include infrared and night vision equipment.

Klauzer says that technology is becoming more affordable.

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