7 Texas Officers Killed in the Line of Duty in 2016

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blue line on black background

According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, at least 64 law enforcement officers were killed across the country this year. This year’s total is higher than the number of firearm-related law enforcement deaths in 2015. It also surpasses the annual average of police deaths by shooting over the last 10 years, which is 53. Still, the highest total came in 2011, when a total of 73 officers were killed.

In Texas, a total of seven police officers were shot and killed in the line of duty.

Detective Benjamin Marconi, EOW: November 20. Marconi was shot in his patrol car at a traffic stop just outside of San Antonio Police Headquarters.

Officer David Hofer, EOW: March 1. Officer Hofer was fatally shot in a park in Euless while responding to a call of a suspicious person.

Five law enforcement officers of the Dallas Police Department were shot and killed during a protest on July 7, 2016.

Senior Corporal Lorne Ahrens

Officer Michael Krol

Sergeant Michael Smith

Officer Brent Thompson

Officer Patrick Zamarripa

Our hearts go out to the families of these fallen officers, the San Antonio Police Department, and everyone else affected by this year’s tragic deaths.

8 Ways to Prevent Home Burglary during Christmas

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Cracked windshield

According to a report created by CNN, home burglaries increase across the nation during the holiday season. They illustrated that nationally, burglaries peak in the summer but also trend high in December. They also discovered that some cities experienced their greatest number of burglaries in the two weeks following Christmas. This is a time when more people go on vacation than normal. More items come into the house and burglars target your homes for the holidays as a profitable time of the year.

Here are eight ways to keep your house secure during the holidays:

  1. Make sure gifts aren’t visible from the outside. Refrain from placing your Christmas tree by the window where your gifts are right below.
  2. Watch what you post on social media about the gifts you just purchased or when you plan to leave your home.
  3. Be careful about disposing of packaging, allowing it to pile up in your garbage can for your neighbors to see that you’ve just received something new and possibly valuable.
  4. Don’t run external lights through a window leaving a wedge that can be easily pried open.
  5. Put lights on timers so they can go on and off during the day and evening, but always be sure your home is well-lit and motion sensors trip when detecting movement.
  6. Be wary of door salesman or donation seekers. Do not give out personal information or give out money without double-checking their credentials.
  7. Secure your home by keeping your doors and windows locked and investing in a home security system.
  8. Have someone look after your home while you are out of town. This should include checking your mailbox.

Christmas time is a happy and busy time for us all. It’s also a busy time for burglars who try to spoil everyone else’s fun. Take the right steps in ensuring your home is safe. Even if your neighborhood has been safe lately, that could change this year. Be safe and have a happy holiday!

Don’t Drink and Drive!

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man being arrested by 2 SAPD

Holiday parties become more frequent in December. You have family planning Christmas and New Year’s get-togethers, as well as your friends and coworkers. It may become simple to ignore all safety precautions when it comes to drinking and driving after the first party you attend. Just because you had one drink, you will think you haven’t been affected by the alcohol you consumed. Still, you must remain knowledgeable on the effects alcohol has on you and the negative implications it will have on others if you choose to drive after a few drinks.

Alcohol is a depressant drug that slows down the activity of the central nervous system, which includes the brain. The effects alcohol has on your driving ability are many. It impairs your vision, reduces your reaction time and concentration, boosts confidence which may lead to risk-taking and disobeying road rules, and may cause the driver to fall asleep behind the wheel. Alcohol also affects a person’s personality causing them to act and respond differently than one normally would.

If you’d like to know how to stay safe behind the wheel, the safest option is to not drink. If you decide to drink, you can monitor the number of drinks you have each hour. This may be difficult to monitor if you change drinks frequently. Different drinks have different amounts of alcohol. You may have to drink less to keep your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) under .05%. Even though the legal limit is .08%, you don’t want to match it since your BAC can continue to rise three hours after your last drink.

Other options you have to limit your drinking include drinking non-alcoholic beers, avoid topping off your glass as it difficult to track your drinks accurately, avoid mixed drinks and drink low-alcohol drinks, and sip on your drinks instead of “chugging” or taking shots.

You should wait at least an hour for each drink you’ve had before driving. Waiting is the only way to remove alcohol from your system no matter how much coffee and water you have after. If you have had too much to drink, make other arrangements so you don’t have to drive to get home. Be safe and Happy Holidays!

Be Courteous to First Responders this Holiday Season

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San Antonio police officers standing by her car

Imagine working on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, or New Year’s Eve, and your job duties include protecting the citizens of your community and reducing crime, all at the risk of your own life. Those are the duties of first responders, including police officers who, during the holidays, must respond to an increase of calls concerning domestic disputes, burglaries, suicide attempts, and more. So, as the holidays fast approach, we hope that all citizens appreciate the challenging job all first responders face, and show your support for San Antonio Police Officers.

Throughout their career, the majority of an officer’s time on duty is spent dealing with society’s bad side, and this only increases during the holidays. Holidays heighten anxieties in households, which then ignite family battles. Add alcohol to the mix and police officers have their work intensified. The increase in crime and other incidents, including those related to drinking and drug abuse, adds to the difficulty of the job, which can lead to stress and depression for all first responders. The holidays should be a happy time for everyone, including police officers who, like you, want to spend quality time and make memories with friends and family. Nonetheless, police officers know that they have dedicated their lives to preventing crime and protecting the community and that the holidays are no exception.

For some officers, getting through the season means putting on some defensive emotional armor. Luckily, the San Antonio Police Department offers counseling programs and psychiatry services to officers who feel the stress of the season. However, the true stress reliever for an officer would be making it throughout the work day unharmed and return to their families.

Remember, first responders have the duty to protect you and your family, especially during the holiday season when crime is increased, so as they do their job, we hope that everyone in our community can show support for police officers and other first responders. Have a great holiday season!

5 Safety Tips for the Holidays

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Broken glass in a car front seat

Are you ready for the holidays? Whether you travel for Thanksgiving or stay home to watch a football game on TV after your turkey dinner, you and your family’s safety should always be your top priority. More than any other season of the year, your personal safety and threats to your property may be at increased risk during the holiday season. To stay safe this holiday season, here are five holiday safety tips to keep in mind.

Gift Robbers. When purchasing gifts online, you’ll want to be aware of having them stolen from your porch once they arrive. Request that the gift get left in the backyard or have the package require a signature upon being dropped off. Take advantage of delivery tracking and insurance if applicable.

Parking Lot Thieves. Be aware of your surroundings when exiting the mall and other stores. When carrying a lot of bags, always make sure that your keys, phone, and pepper spray (if you have it) are easily accessible. Watch out for loiters who roam the parking lots. They may be looking for unlocked cars with visible valuables. Make sure your car is locked and that your wallet, purse, and gifts are locked in the trunk of the car.

Identity Theft. If your wallet or purse was stolen, think of how much information that thief would have on you. Leave important documents like your Social Security card, birth certificate, and passport at home unless it’s absolutely necessary to carry them. Use secure websites when shopping online and log off from those sites after you’ve completed your purchase. Monitor your bank account activity regularly throughout the holidays for suspicious activity.

Traveling. When driving, do not drive under the influence of alcohol and be aware of your surroundings. By planning extra driving time and eliminating distractions, you can help ensure safe travels during the wet road conditions of the holidays.

Home Fires. Fires can be caused by any number of unsupervised things around the house, including candles and Christmas lights. Don’t leave any open flames unsupervised and turn off all of your Christmas lights before going to bed.

The men and women of SAPOA wish you a very safe and enjoyable holiday season! Keep following our blogs for other safety tips throughout the year.