Police officers are expected to enforce distracted driving laws — but how often are officers distracted?
Incident reports from across Minnesota show dozens of crashes in the last four years involving police officers distracted behind the wheel. While those numbers are small compared to the 17,000-plus distracted driving crashes each year in Minnesota, there’s growing concern the technology packed into squad cars is creating its own hazard.
“Every gadget that we’re stuffing in the car puts demands on the human being that human beings can’t do,” said Bryan Vila, a former Los Angeles County deputy who’s now a professor at Washington State University in Spokane working on a first-of-its-kind national study on distracted police officers.
After examining hundreds of crash reports since 2010 and reviewing several hours of police squad car videos, MPR News and KARE 11 found 61 crashes in four years where crash investigators said distracted driving by the officer was a factor. More than half the time, the officer was distracted by something inside the squad car, such as a cell phone or computer.
Outside distractions — officers taking their eyes off the road to do their job, identifying a driver not wearing a seatbelt or looking at a suspect vehicle — were noted in many other crashes.
The average police officer drives thousands of miles more than the average driver and the number of crashes involving distracted police officers is still relatively low. Still, cops acknowledge the tech wedged into the front seat is making safety harder. Imagine juggling radios, phones, squad computers that give officers important information and fast communication with dispatchers, all while trying to patrol the streets, looking out for suspicious activity or someone who needs help.
The modern police vehicle is a “mobile office,” said Brooklyn Park Deputy Police Chief Mark Bruley.
His officers are trained to not take their eyes off the road for more than two seconds at a time. His department has also moved up the squad computer’s position in the front console of police vehicles and set it closer to eye level to help officers keep their eyes up and on the road.
Brooklyn Park also requires officers to go through defensive driving training where officers are tested on their ability to deal with distractions and when two officers are in the squad car together, one drives while the other operates the technology. The department, however, doesn’t ban officers from using cell phones or computers while driving.
Read Entire Article – See Additional Videos: http://www.mprnews.org/story/2014/11/12/police-distracted-driving
MOTORISTS on the M20 may have witnessed what they thought was a car chase today – but it turned out to be police training.
One Folkestone resident said he saw three police cars and another vehicle in an “insane high-speed police chase” on the London-bound carriageway in the Ashford area.
However a police spokesman cleared up any confusion on the matter, insisting it was a “supervised” training exercise.
They said: “Officers were carrying out training in a safe and controlled manner, supervised by trained officers. No contact was made to the unmarked vehicle, which was driven by a police instructor.”
Dallas Police Chief David Brown responded Friday to allegations that his department had lowered testing standards for recruits, blasting the claims as unfounded.
Brown said he found no evidence that his department violated procedures by allowing recruits to repeatedly take driving and shooting tests until they passed.
The chief launched an internal review after the president of the Dallas Police Association sent a letter to city officials Thursday complaining that the department had grown lax in its testing requirements for operating police vehicles and shooting firearms.
In the letter, Ron Pinkston cited one recruit who apparently failed the vehicle operations course more than the four times allowed by policy. He also accused the department of allowing “marginal” shooters to take remedial training until they succeeded.
After interviewing employees involved in training, Dallas police said they found “no facts” to suggest that shooters were given remedial lessons until they qualified. Police also said they abided by department policy by allowing the recruit to retake the driving test.
Brown is launching an internal affairs investigation into the source of the allegations. “We take these allegations very seriously and will not tolerate the lowering or downgrading of our training standards,” he said in a statement.
Pinkston remained confident that evidence supports his claims and asked that Brown release documents to prove otherwise.
“I’m also disappointed that he is starting an internal affairs investigation to find out who leaked the information, instead of starting an internal affairs investigation to find out who bypassed the policies and procedures already set in place,” Pinkston said.
Instructors from the Scottish Police College staged a dramatic high speed chase in Perthshire.
Traffic was slowed as the “pursuit” took place on the northbound carriageway of the M90, with motorists looking-on as the vehicles tore past.
They saw a grey Ford Sierra being followed “at very high speed” by four marked police vehicles as they passed Bridge of Earn.
Believing that the incident was real, one described the vehicle as “weaving from lane to lane” and its driver as “clearly very determined to escape from the police”.
Checks with Police Scotland, however, soon revealed that its officers were not involved in any such activities.
A spokesman for the Scottish Police College at Tulliallan said roads policing officers were currently in the midst of an intensive five-week course and had been taking part in a “pursuit management driving” course.
“Our instructors were showing the students how it should be done,” he said.
“They demonstrated the skills and tactics that are used during a pursuit and how to contain a fleeing vehicle.”
Over the next few days, the students will stage their own pursuits – though off-road, at Leuchars.
The college stages around six such training exercises each year.
The Association of Law Enforcement Emergency Response Trainers is holding their National Conference in Austin, Texas the week of September 9th. Featured speakers include Gordon Graham, Calibre Press, California POST, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office and much more.
This is going to be a great event for anyone interested in EVOC issues. Find out details at www.alertconference.org.
Chasing down a suspect is just one of the dangerous situations where police need to drive defensively, which is why more than 200 Horry County police officers have been taking emergency vehicle training the past few days.
In the near future when people hear the acronym ESC, it may be a reference to more than just the escape key on the keyboard of the computer. EVOC instructors could be talking about a safety feature installed in all new police cars and SUVs as of the 2012 model year. It is called the Electronic Stability Control System. An Electronic Stability Control system is a new safety technology designed to prevent rollovers and loss of traction by keeping your vehicle in contact with the ground during dangerous situations.
New 2012 police vehicles are here and the challenges that Public Safety Driving Instructors face are not getting any easier. Training with new driver safety technologies must be included in current curriculum. Depending upon the type of vehicle being driven, possible changes in driving habits could be necessary. When used in an EVOC environment where we know drivers and vehicles are often used beyond their limits, ESC can influence and change the expected outcome of driver inputs.
Accidents can certainly be prevented to a certain extent with an active safety system including ESC, Antilock Brakes and/or Traction Control systems. When a vehicle accompanied by ESC reads a complex situation such as curves or sudden swerves to avoid obstacles, it takes over and allows the driver a better chance to get through the situation, further improving the advantages of the Antilock Brake and Traction Control.
SKIDCAR System, Inc. now offers an ESC WORKSHOP which will bring an up-to-date understanding of Electronic Stability Control systems installed in all new Police Vehicles as of the model year 2012. Although each manufacturer has different detail operations of their ESC System, they all work within the same premise and are therefore exposed, explained, and understood within the workshop.
According to preliminary NLEOMF statistics, 2011 was the first year in many that vehicle accidents were not the main cause of fatalities in Law Enforcement. Better driver training and safer vehicles could be contributing factors. It is practical to assume that with the advent of ESC, the vehicle accident rate of Law Enforcement officers will continue to fall and be a major contributor to the “BELOW 100” initiative.
Tuesday, November 6th, 2012 – 8:00am to 5:00pm
The Orleans Hotel
4500 West Tropicana Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89103
Click here for Course Outline http://www.skidcar.com/esc-workshop/index.php
and contact SKIDCAR SYSTEM, Inc. for additional Workshop & Hotel Reservation Details at (866) 754-3227 or email@example.com
Holland — Every driver knows the scenario: Flashing red and blue police lights appear in the rearview mirror, and suddenly, traffic parts on either side to make way for the speeding patrol car.
Many wish they could drive that fast and get away with it.
But the truth is, learning to do it safely is a whole lot of work.
That’s where the West Michigan Criminal Justice Training Consortium comes into the picture.
City and county police agencies from Manistee south to the Indiana state line — including Holland — team up each year to provide road training for officers so they can practice safe driving skills and vehicle handling in high-speed or other at-risk scenarios.
Officers must learn to expect the unexpected: Kids might run out into the roadway; cars might fail to yield; and a suspect might decide to hit the accelerator and take off instead of braking for a traffic stop.
“We obviously put people at risk when we run lights and sirens,” said Joel Maat, an officer with the Holland Department of Public Safety.
The training at the West Michigan Criminal Justice Training Consortium is largely grant-funded through state money the agencies obtain as a group and takes place each fall and spring at the Grattan Raceway in Belding and the Gingerman Raceway in South Haven. The goal is to get officers in each department through training every two or three years.
Maat, who serves as a driving instructor, said there is a bit of apprehension for some as their skills are under close watch, but there is also a sense of competition in navigating courses set up around the track.
Officers joked with one another as they slipped behind the wheel.
“It’s real world stuff — up hill, down hill; there’s hairpin turns and ‘S’ curves,” he said.
The latest video from California POST and highly recommended.