As police cars add more tech, worries about distracted driving grow

November 13, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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

 

Honor The Fallen by Training the Living

November 6, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Today begins the ILEETA 2014 Conference in Lombard, Ill. ILEETA — the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association — is an amazing organization comprised of the best police trainers in the world, and this annual event draws all those amazing people into one place.

One of the countless people I look forward to seeing every year at ILEETA is my friend and PoliceOne colleague Travis Yates, who writes our police driving column. Regular readers of this space know that I’ve written about some of Travis’ efforts to help victims of natural disasters, and help outfit police officers with body armor. These “side projects” are in addition to his work as a full-time officer and trainer.

This year is a fairly special one for Travis — he is entering his tenth year as a PoliceOne columnist, and he’s founded a training company focused on increasing officer safety behind the wheel — so as the ILEETA 2014 conference got underway, he reflected on his 10-year milestone, and talked of his new training company.

 

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Supreme Court sides with police over fatal Ark. pursuit

May 28, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has sided with police officers who were sued over a high-speed chase that ended with the deaths of the fleeing driver and his passenger.

The court was unanimous in holding that the officers who fatally shot driver Donald Rickard did not violate the violate Rickard’s constitutional rights.

 

Watch The Video:  http://www.policeone.com/suspect-pursuit/articles/7230189-Supreme-Court-sides-with-police-over-fatal-Ark-pursuit/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=todaysTopStories&nlid=7221176

KCK police to study chase policy after fatal crash

April 14, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Kansas City, Kan., police have temporarily suspended most pursuits after a girl was killed Wednesday night by a man fleeing from a traffic stop, officials said Thursday.

 Only pursuits involving people suspected of serious felonies will continue while the department studies its pursuit policy to determine if changes are needed, Police Chief Ellen Hanson said.

Jasmine Rodriguez, a second-grader who was 7 or 8, died Wednesday night after a vehicle ran a red light at the intersection of North 63rd Street and Leavenworth Road and slammed into the van carrying her.

Police arrested a 27-year-old Kansas City, Kan., man. He was being held in the Wyandotte County jail pending the filing of charges.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2014/04/10/4949717/man-held-in-wyandotte-county-jail.html##storylink=cpy
Related Stories:  KCK Suspends Pursuits

PDI Featured In Police One Article

April 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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Today begins the ILEETA 2014 Conference in Lombard, Ill.  ILEETA — the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association — is an amazing organization comprised of the best police trainers in the world, and this annual event draws all those amazing people into one place.

One of the countless people I look forward to seeing every year at ILEETA is my friend and PoliceOne colleague Travis Yates, who writes our police driving column. Regular readers of this space know that I’ve written about some of Travis’ efforts to help victims of natural disasters, and help outfit police officers with body armor. These “side projects” are in addition to his work as a full-time officer and trainer.

This year is a fairly special one for Travis — he is entering his tenth year as a PoliceOne columnist, and he’s founded a training company focused on increasing officer safety behind the wheel — so as the ILEETA 2014 conference got underway, he reflected on his 10-year milestone, and talked of his new training company.

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Cleveland PD Changes Pursuit Policy

March 12, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Cleveland police on Thursday unveiled a vehicle pursuit policy that includes barring officers from driving after a fleeing suspect unless the suspect is accused of committing a violent felony or driving intoxicated.

Among the changes are rules that prohibit officers from deciding for themselves to join a chase and limits the number of trailing police cruisers to two — except in special circumstances, said Chief Calvin Williams.

Additionally, a sole supervisor — in most cases the immediate supervisor of the officer who initiates a pursuit — will assume all responsibilities of a chase, and officers ordered to terminate a pursuit must turn around and travel away from a fleeing suspect, according to the order.

Williams said revising the policy was not a reaction to the full-tilt pursuit on Nov. 29, 2012 in which more than 60 police cruisers chased after driver Timothy Russell and passenger Malissa Williams.

The chase began downtown near the Justice Center when officers reported hearing a gun fired from Russell’s passing 1979 Chevy Malibu.

The pursuit ended when officers cornered the Malibu in East Cleveland and let loose 137 rounds. Autopsies show Russell was shot 23 times, and Williams 24. Police said they opened fire because Williams tried to ram officers with his car.

Last year, the division changed its use-of-force policy to bar officers from shooting at or from a moving vehicle.

Chief Williams said the deadly chase “has a place” in the new police order, but that the process of revising the pursuit policy began months before Russell and Williams were killed.

“If the community can take one thing from this, they should take that the Cleveland Division of Police is committed to making sure we deliver the best possible service to them,” Williams said. “And our officers can be assured that we will do that in the safest possible way for them.”

City Councilman Zack Reed questioned whether the updated policy will do anything to keep officers from repeating the 2012 incident. More than 75 officers were found to have violated procedure during that chase.

“We have to make sure these people understand if they don’t follow a policy there will be serious consequences,” Reed said, suggesting the division intensify its pursuit training to ensure the new order is followed.

Williams said the division, since 2012, has undergone more frequent and better pursuit training.

“We’ve taken [our training] up 10 levels since then to ensure we don’t have the issue that arose November 29,” Williams said.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine – who called the 2012 chase a “systemic failure” – welcomed the policy changes.

“It sounds to me like they are moving in the right direction,” DeWine said. “I think the key is always in the training and a command in control. That obviously has to go along with the policy.”

Police union president Jeff Follmer fears the new policy will be an impediment.

“We still have to do police work and we still have to make split decisions,” Follmer said. “We still need to do our job to apprehend [suspects] and put them in jail. We can’t live in a city where there is a no-chase policy. Are we going in that direction? I don’t know.”

Original Article

So You Want To Skid?

January 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

You want to skid? You want to have a little fun?

Well, forget it. It’s over. The ESC technology in all new cars and light trucks has made skid control as we

knew it, over and done with. Skidding was abused so badly, and with so little skill as a global driving

culture, that we screwed ourselves out of whatever fun there was to be had from sliding sideways.

Billions of dollars in physical damage and loss of life was caused.

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Half Of Police Officers Don’t Wear Seat Belts, Study Says

December 12, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

LOS ANGELES (AP) — If you’ve ever been pulled over by a police officer for not wearing a seat belt, there’s a decent chance the officer also wasn’t buckled up either.

While 86 percent of Americans now wear seat belts, an upcoming study that will be published by California’s Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training estimates that roughly half of law enforcement officers don’t wear them.

With traffic-related fatalities the leading cause of death of officers on duty, departments nationwide are buckling down to get officers to buckle up.

“Something that can save a person’s life should be on a high priority of being enforced,” said Richard Ashton, a former police chief who has studied officer safety for more than a decade with the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

The Los Angeles Police Department has a new seatbelt education effort after Inspector General Alex Bustamante found that up to 37 percent of officers involved in accidents in 2012 weren’t wearing seatbelts.

State laws mandating seatbelt use often exclude police, but the LAPD and most other departments require them in all but certain circumstances.

The costs of not doing so are clear.

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4 Threats To Officer Safety This Month

December 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

We’ve completed 11 months in 2013, and we have the lowest annual line of duty deaths at this point in any year since 1944. Much can be written on why that is — and the various efforts that have helped our profession in this area — but something else is of utmost importance.

I want to sound an alarm of what could be looming ahead for us.

Traditionally, December has been a deadly month for our profession, and it is my hope that a few reminders here can help the heroes on the street during this last month of the year.

1.) Domestic Calls December is a month full of fun and food, but it’s the family aspect that we should all be cautious of. You only have to be a cop for one December to know that family gatherings bring family disputes.

For some, this month signifies additional financial stress, and individuals react to stress in various ways. Let’s be extra vigilant on those family calls. Take your backer, wear your vest, approach in concealment/cover, and don’t take anything for granted.

2.) Equipment Check Do you wear different clothing in the winter months? If you aren’t used to doing your job in that heavy coat or you haven’t practiced with your handgun while wearing those gloves, then practice. A fight is no time to find out that TASER doesn’t come out with that new coat on. A gunfight is no time to find out the gloves you’re wearing hinder your trigger control.

3.) Bad Weather Police work doesn’t take a break during bad weather. Every winter we lose officers because of snow or ice. Make sure you have the proper equipment on your car for bad weather.

Do your tires have the appropriate tread and air in them? When you stop to help that stuck vehicle, make sure you take care of your position first and know where traffic is coming from. Wear your reflective vest, and if you have to sit in your vehicle blocking traffic, then put your seatbelt on. A year doesn’t go by where I don’t see an officer killed or severely hurt because a car rear-ended them during traffic control.

4.) Suicide Season Health professionals tell us that December is a time to be on guard for suicides. Remember when you respond to these calls that a suicide could turn into a homicide at any second. Do not be a victim, and do not get fooled that any suicidal individual only wishes to harm themselves. If it’s a suicidal subject with a weapon, don’t hurry.

Use every method you can to communicate with them without having to approach. Time is on your side.

Speaking of suicide, be aware of our own brothers and sisters at all times. Know the signs, communicate, and don’t hesitate to get help for those around you. We lose more crime fighters to suicide each year than line of duty deaths.

This isn’t a secret anymore. Let’s do all we can to help our coworkers.

In closing, I want to thank PoliceOne, and especially Editor in Chief Doug Wyllie. Next year will be my tenth year with PoliceOne, and while I have seen many changes, one thing has been constant: Doug and the rest of the team at PoliceOne care about the cop on the street.

Above anything else, we want to give you the information to help you do your job better and make you safer. It has been my humble privilege to play a very small part in that effort, and I will be forever grateful to PoliceOne for letting me be a part of their wonderful family.

On behalf of myself and my family, I want to wish you and yours a very blessed holiday and happy new year.

Original Article

South Carolina Deputy Dies After Being Ejected

November 29, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

florencectyDeputy Sheriff Joseph Antwine died from injuries he sustained when his patrol car was involved in a collision with a light pole.

Deputy Antwine and his partner were responded to a back-up another unit at a domestic violence call when he lost control of the vehicle as it rounded a curve on Half Moon Road in Johnsonville. Both Deputy Antwine and his partner were thrown from the vehicle as it overturned and struck a pole.

Both of the Deputies were removed to McLeod Hospital, where they were treated for their injuries. Deputy Antwine’s partner was released several days later, however Deputy Antwine remained in intensive care with serious injuries. He died one week later from those injuries.

Deputy Antwine had served with the Florence County Sheriff’s Office for less that a year.

Read more: http://www.odmp.org/officer/21871-deputy-sheriff-joseph-c-antwine#ixzz2m6NSk4TG

Related Article:  3 Words We Must Eliminate

 

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