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  • Speed limits...for emergency repsonse!

    http://www.lvrj.com/news/police-departments-consider-speed-limits-other-driving-rules-for-officers-63955302.html


    THE BIG STORY: Police departments consider speed limits, other driving rules for officers

    Las Vegas police driving policy under review

    By BRIAN HAYNES
    LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

    LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
    View the slide show

    Las Vegas police officer Tyler Andrus tells 13-year-olds Derek Hann, left, and Alberto Pereyra about the fatal crash Wednesday night that took the life of officer Milburn "Millie" Beitel and seriously injured officer David Nesheiwat. In the background is a memorial of flowers, balloons and photos that has taken shape at the crash site near Nellis Boulevard and Washington Avenue.
    Photos by Jason Bean/Las Vegas Review-Journal

    A roadside memorial honors Las Vegas police officer Milburn "Millie" Beitel, who died after his patrol car crashed Wednesday night. The single-vehicle accident remains under investigation, but speed appears to have been a factor.

    Lights flashing and sirens blaring.

    Speeding past other cars and rushing through intersections.

    Someone needs help. A bad guy needs to be caught.

    Racing to a call as fast as possible has become an accepted part of being a cop.

    But as deadly crashes involving speeding police cars mount, more agencies, including the Metropolitan Police Department, are considering speed limits and other measures to make sure their officers get to their destinations safely.

    "The most danger officers face today is not guns. It's not violence. It's speed and intersections. That's what's killing America's finest today," said Tulsa, Okla., police Capt. Travis Yates, an emergency driving instructor and owner of the policedriving.com Web site.

    Two fatal crashes involving Las Vegas police in five months illustrate how driving to the scene can be one of the deadliest parts of a cop's job.

    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.

    As police agencies come to grips with those statistics and find themselves dealing with their own deadly police crashes, they are reversing a history of less restrictive driving policies in favor of those that put safety ahead of expediency.

    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.

    Officer Milburn "Millie" Beitel, 30, was killed, and officer David Nesheiwat, 25, was seriously injured and taken to University Medical Center.

    Driving too fast and not wearing seat belts are two common factors in deadly police crashes, and those are two areas under review for potential driving policy changes, Gillespie said.

    "Those are definitely a couple of areas I'm looking at," he said.

    As part of the driving policy review, Gillespie's department has talked to both Dallas and Illinois State police about their new policies.

    Dallas revamped its policy last October after one of its officers struck and killed a 10-year-old boy on a darkened road. The officer, who was responding to a report of a man with a gun, was driving at least 29 mph over the 40 mph speed limit without his car's lights and sirens on

    The agency's new policy generally prohibits officers from driving more than 20 mph over the speed limit on major roads and highways, even with lights and sirens on. In school zones and residential neighborhoods, officers must obey the speed limit at all times.

    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.

    In a news release announcing the changes, Illinois State Police Director Larry Trent said he hoped the policy would become a model for other emergency service agencies.

    "Having served law enforcement in four decades, I have never been part of such a dramatic change in the policing culture than we are about to implement," Trent said. "I know it's not going to be a popular decision in the law enforcement community, but it's my responsibility to not only protect our officers, but to protect the innocent citizens who travel the roadways within Illinois."

    Under the Metropolitan Police Department's policy, officers can drive with lights and sirens, called Code 3, in four situations, including a call of a felony in progress, an officer who needs help in a volatile situation and a call where a citizen's life could be in danger.

    If a patrol car is not responding Code 3, the officer is required to use due care and observe traffic laws, including speed limits.

    Chris Collins, head of the Las Vegas police union that represents 2,500 rank-and-file officers, said he believes just a small percentage of officers violate that policy.

    "Most, I believe, are violating that in the interest of doing their job or trying to save someone," he said.

    Collins said he doesn't oppose or favor implementing a specific speed limit, but forcing officers to slow down could have dire consequences, he said.

    "That's all fine and good until it's your family we're going to save and we get there three minutes too late," said Collins, executive director of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association.

    Yates, the emergency driving instructor, believes police put too much emphasis on speed, especially in an urban environment with lots of intersections and traffic to navigate.

    Add in everything else an officer is dealing with inside the car, such as calling on the radio, checking the computer and thinking about how to handle the call, and the officer can be overloaded, especially if the driving policy isn't clear on what the officer should do, Yates said.

    "There's just a lot of things going on, so it's unfair" to not give officers guidelines.

    But any new driving policies must have training to back them up, not just initially but throughout officers' careers, Yates said. Much like shooting skills, driving skills erode without constant practice and reinforcement, he said.

    "A policy without training is just a piece of paper," Yates said.

    Las Vegas police officers train and qualify with their guns four times a year, but training on emergency driving comes every two years for patrol officers and every three years for everybody else.

    As part of the Police Department's driving policy review, Las Vegas police driving instructors have suggested giving new officers training every year for their first five years, which is when most crashes occur.

    Gillespie said training will be a component of the upcoming policy changes, which would require "a significant organizational and cultural shift."

    He said his agency's driving policies are already on the restrictive side and are among the most progressive in the country, but that doesn't mean they can't be improved. Yet even the best policies and training won't prevent all human error.

    "You've got human beings out there doing the job," Gillespie said. "Even with the best training and policies in place, accidents do happen."

    After two deadly crashes in five months, officers throughout the valley have been more aware of the dangers they face behind the wheel, Collins said.

    "It was certainly on the minds of every police officer in town," he said. "You can drive these cars too fast and end up dead."

    Contact reporter Brian Haynes at [email protected] or 702-383-0281.
    This article skews the numbers a bit. The high number of deaths from officers killed in MVA is not because they T-bone people at intersections its from being hit on traffic stops.


    My first thought is the legality of such policy. As law enforcement, EMS, and fire we have a special duty to respond. (it is what we get paid for after all). Basically removing the emergency response mode for responders pretty much defeats the purpose of having a professional paid emergency services. It also opens responders to lawsuits who are forced to drive slow for no other reason than its policy.

    I believe there is a sever training deficiency with driving, yes we get EVOC and if you're lucky you get to repeat the training once a year or so.

    Also cops are notorious for not wearing their seat belts. Please wear the belts, it takes a half a second to take one off when you need to.

    If you need to go 109MPH to call, turn the damn lights on. If you have a conflicting policy that says expedited response but no code clarify what that really means.

    When I drive fast, I at least have the lights are on, they can be turned off (its a really niffty feature) when I get close to the call area and I need to be tactical.
    Last edited by wirefire2; 10-12-2009, 01:43 AM.

  • #2
    There is little to no excuse for driving 110 mph to ANYTHING short of an officer down call....with or without lights......esp. in an urban area such as LV....

    You cannot help unless you get there in the first place.
    The posts on this forum by this poster are of his personal opinion, and his personal opinion alone

    "Politicians are like diapers. They need to be changed often and for the same reason"

    "We fight not for glory; nor for wealth; nor honor, but only and alone we fight for freedom, which no good man surrenders but with his life"

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by LA DEP View Post
      There is little to no excuse for driving 110 mph to ANYTHING short of an officer down call....with or without lights......esp. in an urban area such as LV....

      You cannot help unless you get there in the first place.
      Absolutely. That's why I'm thinking there is a training issue. If cops don't realize that THEY are over driving the conditions where does that leave us in considering their overall judgment of situations?

      Comment


      • #4
        Big time training issue.....I cant say for other agencies, but we DO have a general guideline as to what speed you should not exceed under ANY circumstances, and what speed(s) are within guidelines in urban areas or the freeway....

        And 110+ mph isnt even CLOSE to the guidelines....even for a pursuit on the freeway.....never mind rolling to a call.
        The posts on this forum by this poster are of his personal opinion, and his personal opinion alone

        "Politicians are like diapers. They need to be changed often and for the same reason"

        "We fight not for glory; nor for wealth; nor honor, but only and alone we fight for freedom, which no good man surrenders but with his life"

        Comment


        • #5
          Also, there would not be any successful lawsuits for rolling slower to a call.....

          remember....there is ZERO duty to protect individuals.
          The posts on this forum by this poster are of his personal opinion, and his personal opinion alone

          "Politicians are like diapers. They need to be changed often and for the same reason"

          "We fight not for glory; nor for wealth; nor honor, but only and alone we fight for freedom, which no good man surrenders but with his life"

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by LA DEP View Post
            Also, there would not be any successful lawsuits for rolling slower to a call.....

            remember....there is ZERO duty to protect individuals.
            I was going to disagree but I found the case law the protects (in general terms) police from litigation when there is no special duty.

            Tipton v Town of Tabor (South Dakota case!) I don't know if it applies elsewhere but case law gets kind of whacky with other courts.
            Last edited by wirefire2; 10-12-2009, 02:25 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              We've got a limit on how fast we can go, it's a certain speed over the posted limit, and for the most part I abide by it because I know they'd throw me under the bus if they learned I caused an accident by going over it. In most cases, it doesn't really affect me because by the time I hit that speed, I've got to slow/stop for a light, traffic, stop sign, etc.

              The only exception of my going over of course is an officer in trouble.

              Comment


              • #8
                Wait till all cops start following policies and going on acceptable speed limits and the brass starts to notice how they cant brag about "response times" anymore.

                Trust me, ive heard unofficial "general orders" on getting to calls around my neck of the woods.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by LA DEP View Post
                  There is little to no excuse for driving 110 mph to ANYTHING short of an officer down call....with or without lights......esp. in an urban area such as LV....

                  You cannot help unless you get there in the first place.
                  +1..........
                  "Abandon your animosities and make your sons Americans." - Robert E. Lee, 1865

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I agree that 110 with no lights to something like that is unacceptable especially in an area like that, but 20 MPH is also way too restrictive.

                    As millions of people say here, there's no use for an Officer speeding fast to a call if there's a chance he's not going to make it there.
                    Last edited by LINY; 10-12-2009, 12:46 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I hit 100mph or more almost every time I run radar on the freeway. Ya can't catch somebody who is going 90+ if you are limited to 85.

                      It's should be about training and teaching officers to use better judgement, not removing their discretion.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Overly strict regulations come about because some police officers fail to exercise good judgment. Often, the resulting regulations are an even bigger problem than the practice they were meant to eliminate, and can themselves subject the agency to increased civil liability when -- sometimes with good reason -- they are violated.

                        Training, perhaps with simulations, seems like the best approach to me.
                        Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
                        Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          One of my professors at UW teaches a law class for undergrads, mentioned that one thing he taught when he was a sergeant with SPD was to drive at just above normal speeds. That the response time difference, when factoring in traffic, wasn't great enough to outweigh the officer arriving jacked up on adrenaline and shaky from playing pole position through the city.
                          **Not a LEO**

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by wirefire2 View Post
                            I was going to disagree but I found the case law the protects (in general terms) police from litigation when there is no special duty.

                            Tipton v Town of Tabor (South Dakota case!) I don't know if it applies elsewhere but case law gets kind of whacky with other courts.
                            There is also at least one SCOTUS case that states the same thing. Not sure of the exact case citation though
                            The posts on this forum by this poster are of his personal opinion, and his personal opinion alone

                            "Politicians are like diapers. They need to be changed often and for the same reason"

                            "We fight not for glory; nor for wealth; nor honor, but only and alone we fight for freedom, which no good man surrenders but with his life"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              we've had a policy in place for years that limits when we can run code and how fast we can do it
                              Perseverate In Pugna

                              Comment

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