Las Vegas Cops To Slow The Bleep Down

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

The Las Vegas Review Journal reports that “Last year, more police in America died in traffic crashes, 44, than from gunshots, 39, according to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, which tracks officer deaths. That trend has continued through the first half of this year, with traffic deaths outpacing shooting deaths 35 to 22. For the 12th year in a row, traffic-related incidents remain the leading cause of death for law enforcement officers.” The obvious if highly ironic answer: slow down. “In the past year, the Dallas Police Department and the Illinois State Police revamped their driving policies to include limits on how fast their officers can drive. Both moves were prompted by officer-caused crashes that killed civilians. The Metropolitan Police Department could soon follow suit once it completes a review of its driving policies that was ordered by Sheriff Doug Gillespie when officer James Manor, 28, died in a crash in May. Manor, who was responding to a domestic dispute call, was driving at a speed of 109 mph without lights and sirens on Flamingo Road when a pickup turned into his path. He was not wearing a seat belt and died a short time after the crash. Police have not released details of Wednesday’s deadly crash as they continue their investigation, but it appears that speed was a factor.”

It’s odd not to say a disgrace that officer safety has created this sea change in police pursuit policy, when high-speed police chases have killed hundreds of innocent civilians. Not to mention the felons themselves, of course.

The Illinois State Police changed its policy in November, one year after one of its troopers crossed the median on an interstate and crashed into an oncoming car, killing two teenage sisters.

The trooper was traveling 126 mph in his police cruiser on the way to an accident scene that had already been resolved. He was reportedly multitasking, talking on a cell phone and a shoulder radio at the same time.

The state police’s new policy created a four-tier system for how officers can respond to calls, including how fast they can drive and when they can use lights and sirens. Under the policy, troopers must notify supervisors if they intend to drive more than 20 mph over the speed limit, and supervisors must monitor the incident and intervene if necessary.

Studies out of England have show that such “supervision” does little to reduce the risks during police pursuits. But I bet the insurance industry likes the idea, plenty.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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