RED BLUFF, Calif. - Red Bluff CHP held their "Below 100" campaign. The goal of the campaign is to help reduce the number of officers killed in the line of duty nationwide each year.
The last time less than 100 officers lost their lives in a year was 1944.
The campaign started with a captain at the Tulsa, Oklahoma Police Department who first helped launch it. And the California Highway Patrol adopted the program in 2012 to reduce and eliminate what they consider preventable deaths among their ranks.
Red Bluff CHP Sergeant Michael Arpaia knows the dangers of the job. In 2003 he and his partner were involved in a near-fatal collision. Sgt. Arpaia said a big rig made a u-turn right in front of their cruiser causing them to crash and become lodged underneath the trailer.
"That entire time I was in that car I just kept thinking about my family, my wife, how I wanted to live, how I wanted to go home and how I never gave up," said Sgt. Arpaia. "That night in the car it took them several hours to cut us out of that car, we were entombed in that car."
And while Sgt. Arpaia and his partner were lucky, others are not. In 2012: 124 officers lost their lives nationwide. In 2013, 105 lost their lives. And this year, 53 have already been killed.
Which is why Sgt. Arpaia instructs his Red Bluff CHP officers about the five tenets of safety in the Below 100 campaign. Those tenets are wearing their seat belt, wearing their vest, watching their speed, knowing what's important now and also reminding them that complacency kills.
Of the 124 officers who lost their lives last year, seven were in California. Last year CHP trainers instructed 5,146 officers in hopes of bringing that number down.