“Britt’s phenomenal. She’s an absolute warrior,” says Ed Hinchey, Safariland SAVES Club® Manager. Officer Britt Sweeney, of the Seattle PD, is SAVE #1704.
Officer Sweeney was only on her second day with her training officer when she was involved in a critical incident. She had just completed a traffic stop. Her training officer, Tim Brenton, asked her to pull over on a quiet street so they could debrief.
A vehicle pulled alongside. Officer Sweeney recounts the event in this video.
Hinchey describes Sweeney as the embodiment of a law enforcement professional.
“It’s her dedication, what she went through, so fresh out of the academy and the fact that she is still out there every day serving in the community, doing such an ultra-professional job, in every aspect. It’s an honor to know officers like Britt Sweeney.”
Hinchey has worked with over 800 officers who have been through critical, life-threatening incidents in the line of duty, in which their Safariland armor or gear contributed to saving their lives.
The Safariland SAVES Club honors officers by holding a recognition ceremony. Some are small, private events, perhaps held in a restaurant with close family, and others are much bigger, involving many news stations. “It’s always up to the agency and the officer as to how they want the presentation done,” says Hinchey. “But it allows us to recognize the officers, their commitment to duty.”
After a critical incident, Hinchey reaches out and meets with the officers. He understands what they’re going through. He’s a SAVE Club member himself, having been involved “in a pretty nasty gunfight.”
“I go out, physically work with the officers, make sure their heads in the right place,” says Hinchey. “We immediately replace their gear. Our goal is always three days from the time that we get an order, that officer has his replacement armor.””
The Safariland distribution network measures the officers to ensure armor is built specifically for the individual. “The measurements have to be perfect,” says Hinchey, “and we have to build to those measurements, and they have to be delivered and put on the officer and the officer has to be wearing them correctly.”
Hinchey reflects on the extraordinary circumstances of Officer Sweeney’s critical incident. “I had 24 years of experience,” he says. “I had been involved in other shootings. I had a lot to fall back on. She had nothing. Luckily she had an incredible support team around her. And she’s just the right person. She’s got the right physical and mental makeup to get through a critical incident like this, and not just get through, but to just become the ultra-professional law enforcement officer.”