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Give yourself and your loved ones a gift this holiday

If you can’t be home on the holiday, do your best to carve out another day where your family gets 100% of you

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Give yourself the gift by prioritizing your safety in the New Year.

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This article was featured in Lexipol’s Xiphos newsletter, a monthly legal-focused law enforcement newsletter authored by Ken Wallentine. Subscriptions are free for public safety officers, educators and public attorneys. Subscribe here!

It has been a while since I pulled a patrol shift on Christmas. You’re more likely to find me serving meals to the cops who are patrolling in my city.

My nearly four decades of cop holiday memories include some pretty violent family fights and some deadly impaired driving crashes.

Last holiday season, I worked a night patrol shift and ended up in a short pursuit with a very impaired driver who had both a big knife (or small sword) and a handgun on top of an attitude. I was very amused at how many patrol officers, and two sergeants, showed up at the scene to help out (or to make sure the Chief didn’t blow the DUI arrest and get his butt kicked).

Give your family a gift

This holiday, please make a plan to mitigate the loss if you can’t be home with loved ones. If you work for my department and live in my city and are on duty, stay home and listen for calls. If you can reschedule the day off, reschedule the celebration. If you can’t be home on the holiday, do your best to carve out another day where your family gets 100% of you and where you get 100% of your loved ones.

Give yourself a gift

Give yourself the gift of spending a few minutes at Make your own personal commitment to help reduce line-of-duty deaths to fewer than 100 in 2021. We haven’t had fewer than 100 LOD deaths since 1943. Please, you matter to me. Every last one of you, whether or not I know you personally, you matter to me. And you matter to so many more. Give us all a gift by:

  • Wearing your seatbelt.
  • Wearing your vest.
  • Watching your speed.
  • Asking WIN—What’s Important Now?
  • Remembering: Complacency Kills!

As winter recedes in 2021 and the days get longer, I can’t wait to get on my Harley, hit America’s roads and meet a few more of you. Just don’t ask for my autograph by pressing hard for four copies, please!

A police officer and former prosecutor, Ken Wallentine is Chief of Law Enforcement for the Utah Attorney General. Traffic detentions and passenger issues are discussed in his new book, Street Legal: A Guide to Pre-trial Criminal Procedure for Police, Prosecutors, and Defenders, published by the American Bar Association Press.