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  • Cops and Reckless Driving

    First off, this thread is not meant to bash the police. Rather, it is here to compile your observations regarding what I see as a dangerous problem in LE, and to hear any suggestions about the most effective way to curb this trend.

    Anyone who has spent time reading the fatal accident reports on the ODMP website is well aware of the loss of life that often occurs when a LEO loses control of their cruiser during a pursuit, poor weather, or while responding to an urgent call.

    I have witnessed a few incidents where I have observed the police "throwing caution to the wind" while driving to a call. The latest occurred last night. A back-up police cruiser suddenly appeared behind me on the way home. I had already watched the first cruiser go by before I pulled out onto the road. He was driving normally because the call was not urgent, and did not require code. (I am a former police dispatcher and I was listening in on the scanner)

    I decided to pull to the right and let the second cruiser pass me even though he had not activated his lights and siren. Before I could do so (I was on a dangerous curve) I heard the sound of the engine in his Crown Vic. roar, and he passes me at 55 mph on a 30 mph 2-way road. When he attempted to move back into the right lane, he overcorrected and began to fishtail. He came close to taking out a telephone pole, but managed to regain control of his vehicle.

    Shortly thereafter the call disposition was broadcasted as resolved. No other action taken. This further confirmed that excessive speed was not necessary for this call. Why did the officer drive so recklessly? Youth can make one feel invincible, not to mention the effect of adrenalin. Many officers are in their early to middle twenties, and have not fully matured like the older officer who was driving the first unit at the speed limit.

    Finally, the question? Have you observed similar situations, and if so, how do you let supervisors know that they have an officer who may be a driving liability without making yourself public enemy number 1 with the police?
    Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

  • #2
    Originally posted by Mr. Security
    ...Many officers are in their early to middle twenties, and have not fully matured like the older officer who was driving the first unit at the speed limit...
    That pretty much sums up the problem there, an abundance of emotional content combined with vehicle piloting skills that are not polished due to lack of experience and emotional maturity. The way I see it though, there's nothing I can really do about it as long as they don't hit my car. Their supervisors will just give me a hard time if I complain about it. Now if one was to hit my car and then flee the scene that would be a completely different story...
    "We appreciate all the hard work you've done, the dedicated hours you have worked, and the lives you have saved. However, since this is your third time being late to work, we are terminating your employment here."

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    • #3
      Last edited by Tennsix; 04-30-2006, 06:55 PM.
      I believe I speak for everyone here sir, when I say, to Hell with our orders.
      -Lieutenant Commander Data
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      • #4
        That pretty much sums up the problem there, an abundance of emotional content combined with vehicle piloting skills that are not polished due to lack of experience and emotional maturity. The way I see it though, there's nothing I can really do about it as long as they don't hit my car. Their supervisors will just give me a hard time if I complain about it. Now if one was to hit my car and then flee the scene that would be a completely different story...
        I don't think that is very likely.
        Last edited by Tennsix; 04-30-2006, 06:50 PM.
        I believe I speak for everyone here sir, when I say, to Hell with our orders.
        -Lieutenant Commander Data
        sigpic

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        • #5
          I'm an emergency services buff. Recently I was reading that some fire departments are changing the way they respond to calls. Only the first due pumper & aerial ladder are responding "lights & siren". The rest respond following the traffic rules. If the first in units confirm that it is an actual fire, then the other respond as an emergency. It cuts down on the accidents & injuries.

          in Montreal my friend is a fire investigator. Last year the red lights were removed from his vehicle. The city decided that it was not necessary for the investigator to arrive as quick as the combate units. So far the response time has not really changed that much anyway.
          I enforce rules and regulations, not laws.
          Security Officers. The 1st First Responders.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by HotelSecurity
            I'm an emergency services buff. Recently I was reading that some fire departments are changing the way they respond to calls. Only the first due pumper & aerial ladder are responding "lights & siren". The rest respond following the traffic rules. If the first in units confirm that it is an actual fire, then the other respond as an emergency. It cuts down on the accidents & injuries.

            in Montreal my friend is a fire investigator. Last year the red lights were removed from his vehicle. The city decided that it was not necessary for the investigator to arrive as quick as the combate units. So far the response time has not really changed that much anyway.
            I disagree with that action. An investigator can be trusted to perform responsibly. What happens when he does need that equipment? He will be a bigger liablity if he runs hot without the proper equipment.
            I believe I speak for everyone here sir, when I say, to Hell with our orders.
            -Lieutenant Commander Data
            sigpic

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            • #7

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              • #8
                Originally posted by HotelSecurity
                I'm an emergency services buff. Recently I was reading that some fire departments are changing the way they respond to calls. Only the first due pumper & aerial ladder are responding "lights & siren". The rest respond following the traffic rules....
                That reminded me of a valuable lesson that I learned while driving in NYC as a young man. Sirens are so common there that one may not be on guard when hearing it. As I approached an intersection, I heard a fire engine coming from the left with lights and siren blazing. I stopped, allowed the FE to clear the intersection and then continued through the intersection. Once I entered the intersection, I looked left and there was a pumper truck coming right at me. I gunned it and narrowly made it through the intersection before I was T-boned.

                Afterwards, as I reflected on what went wrong, it dawned on me that I had assumed the siren from the pumper truck was the one from the FE that had already passed through the intersection. Lesson: If there is one emergency vehicle coming, chances are others will follow.
                Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Tennsix
                  .....
                  Our PD will not process an anonymous complaint but they will still speak with complaint, if (s)he requests to remain unidentified. I took a similar complaint once but the complainant could not provide a car number or time of day. That made it difficult to determine who was responsible. Time, location, car number will narrow it down significantly.
                  I know who he is. I've even met him. Everyone at the police station knows my voice, so remaining anonymous might be difficult. I toyed with the idea of speaking to him directly, but rejected it because the last officer that I did that to didn't take it so well.
                  Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

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                  • #10
                    LOL. That was good. Based on my comments above, it's unlikely that I will take any action at this point. But I will be watching/listening for any further careless driving. If it continues, I guess I'll have to speak up.

                    Afterwards, you can come and visit me in the "slammer."
                    Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

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                    • #11
                      The problem I saw in Florida was aggressive driving by deputies, and careless driving. The first was the classic speed trap: A deputy turns his high-beams on, then tail-gates you. You accelerate, they drop back, run the tag, and begin the traffic stop.

                      Since they drove Caprice's, it was obvious who it was to me. I would usually slow under the speed limit, like 10 under. If it continued, I would get into another lane and slow even further. The deputy would usually pass.

                      On Ulmerton Road in Pinellas County, there is a stretch of road that is 45 MPH and six lanes, divided highway. Usually, it was common to see a car flying up like a bat out of hell, do a sharp and unannounced three lane change, a whip around u-turn, and creep on the opposite side.

                      I finally figured out this was some sort of "Traffic enforcement" method. We had a huge problem in the 90s with LEOs endangering everybody on the road going after speeders. Blowing the doors off (80-90 MPH) of folks in a 45 to catch a 55 in a 45, etc. Improper lane changes, etc. The best one was the Largo Police Officer who stuck his 1997 CVPI on a curb, sideways, because he busted a U-Turn in the middle of traffic to catch a failure to signal lane change.

                      That one made the local papers, he had to sit there with his lights on, for two hours, while a private wrecker could come tow his car off the median curb - not enough ground clearance, his tranny was stuck!
                      Some Kind of Commando Leader

                      "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

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                      • #12
                        I guess there are some real nutjobs out there...When I was a cop, the thing I hated most, even more than carbon copies of forms, was traffic enforcement. I once had another officer call me on a side channel to let me know there was a vehicle headed in my direction with a headlight out...During the day. My response was something along the lines of 'If you want to be the headlight police, go ahead. I have cases to close'.

                        And yes, I understand the difference between traffic enforcement and fishing expeditions, but I was usually going from call-to-call-to-call-to...Oh, you get it.

                        That being said, I once had a civilian complain that I was going too fast responding to an injury MVA. He told the sergeant he knew I was going too fast, because:

                        a) He had a scanner and "didn't think an accident was a priority call", and

                        b) He had a radar on his dash so he knew exactly how fast I was going (55 in a 45).

                        Yeah, he eventually went way overboard and added a few red strobes to his grill...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Mr. Security
                          First off, this thread is not meant to bash the police. Rather, it is here to compile your observations regarding what I see as a dangerous problem in LE, and to hear any suggestions about the most effective way to curb this trend.

                          Anyone who has spent time reading the fatal accident reports on the ODMP website is well aware of the loss of life that often occurs when a LEO loses control of their cruiser during a pursuit, poor weather, or while responding to an urgent call.

                          I have witnessed a few incidents where I have observed the police "throwing caution to the wind" while driving to a call. The latest occurred last night. A back-up police cruiser suddenly appeared behind me on the way home. I had already watched the first cruiser go by before I pulled out onto the road. He was driving normally because the call was not urgent, and did not require code. (I am a former police dispatcher and I was listening in on the scanner)

                          I decided to pull to the right and let the second cruiser pass me even though he had not activated his lights and siren. Before I could do so (I was on a dangerous curve) I heard the sound of the engine in his Crown Vic. roar, and he passes me at 55 mph on a 30 mph 2-way road. When he attempted to move back into the right lane, he overcorrected and began to fishtail. He came close to taking out a telephone pole, but managed to regain control of his vehicle.

                          Shortly thereafter the call disposition was broadcasted as resolved. No other action taken. This further confirmed that excessive speed was not necessary for this call. Why did the officer drive so recklessly? Youth can make one feel invincible, not to mention the effect of adrenalin. Many officers are in their early to middle twenties, and have not fully matured like the older officer who was driving the first unit at the speed limit.

                          Finally, the question? Have you observed similar situations, and if so, how do you let supervisors know that they have an officer who may be a driving liability without making yourself public enemy number 1 with the police?

                          Oh boy have I seen some reckless driving-another reason New Haven has a no chase policy now. Another problem I see is the young cops go from front whell or all wheel drive drive cars to a rear wheel drive car with a totally different type of handling. Add in the modern robo-cop look and attitude and you got the problem you describe in your rearview mirror if you're lucky. The times I've complained I merely call the station as a concerned citizen and make a few polite suggestions in regards to officer and public safety. Don't mention any work affiliation or address- it will usually result in a little side conversation to watch your butt as people are calling. No harm done to anyone.
                          Old age and treachery will defeat youth and enthusiasm every time-

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ycaso77
                            Oh boy have I seen some reckless driving-another reason New Haven has a no chase policy now. Another problem I see is the young cops go from front whell or all wheel drive drive cars to a rear wheel drive car with a totally different type of handling. Add in the modern robo-cop look and attitude and you got the problem you describe in your rearview mirror if you're lucky. The times I've complained I merely call the station as a concerned citizen and make a few polite suggestions in regards to officer and public safety. Don't mention any work affiliation or address- it will usually result in a little side conversation to watch your butt as people are calling. No harm done to anyone.
                            I'm against no chase policies. I believe that this decision can and should be made by the shift supervisor while monitoring the pursuit. Pursuit policies can also help by limiting the number of units involved in a chase at any given time.

                            Also, reporting reckless driving in New Haven as a concerned citizen is a good idea. However, in my small town, the police know my voice as a dispatcher and if I tried a stunt like that I would have so many tickets for every vehicle violation on the books that I'd probably have to start walking.
                            Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mr. Security
                              I'm against no chase policies. I believe that this decision can and should be made by the shift supervisor while monitoring the pursuit. Pursuit policies can also help by limiting the number of units involved in a chase at any given time.

                              Also, reporting reckless driving in New Haven as a concerned citizen is a good idea. However, in my small town, the police know my voice as a dispatcher and if I tried a stunt like that I would have so many tickets for every vehicle violation on the books that I'd probably have to start walking.
                              I believe I speak for everyone here sir, when I say, to Hell with our orders.
                              -Lieutenant Commander Data
                              sigpic

                              Comment

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