Morgan County deputies complete training in hopes to reduce number of officer deaths

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MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. – Below 100 is a national training initiative that focuses on how officers can take steps to save their own lives, even before they face a threat.

“The whole initiative is to get line of duty deaths for law enforcement below 100,” said Mike Swafford of the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office. “The last time that happened was 1944.”

Dozens of Morgan County deputies take to the streets every day.

Fifty deputies, 25 jail staff and 20 administrative personnel sat through two days of Below 100 training on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“Not only our patrol division but everyone who operates a vehicle in the sheriff’s office went through that training the past two days,” Swafford added.

Unlike other law enforcement training, Below 100 training one focuses on the simple things like putting on your seatbelt before you go on a call and watching your speed on the road.

The sheriff’s office has noticed a spike in the number of car chases.

“They seem to be increasing, peopling choose to run from law enforcement, which puts others at risk,” said Swafford. “So what we constantly do is reevaluate our policies on when to pursue and when not to pursue.”

Deputies said a general rule of thumb is to ask ‘is it riskier to let them go or is it riskier to pursue them?’

“Everybody knows the risk of being in a gun battle, responding to an active shooter situation,” said Swafford. “However, a large majority of line of duty deaths across the country are vehicle-related.”

With the information from the refresher course, Sheriff Ron Puckett said he hopes his deputies can do their part in keeping the number of law enforcement deaths down.

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