It was Leo Tolstoy who wrote, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” That’s one reason why Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are two of the three deadliest days in law enforcement. The other is New Year’s Eve.
Too often, says Sean Smoot, a holiday celebration turns into an alcohol-fueled family feud. “That happens quite frequently,” says Smoot, executive director of the Illinois Police Benevolent and Protective Association. “We have child visitation issues, and often there’s an exchange between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and sometimes those circumstances result in law enforcement becoming involved as well.”
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Smoot, whose group represents about 10,000 officers from local to state police, says a domestic call can be ripe for violence, and being able to send an extra officer – or two or three – can help defuse the situation.