Police Driving Safety Reminders

As an officer having gone to at least 7 or more police officer funerals (to this point), it still brings tears to my eyes when I hear the music that's played at officer funerals, no matter where I'm at. In fact, just the other day my wife and I went to see a movie and there it was again, that melody in an officer memorial. So I decided to talk about some reminder safety tips that hopefully will save your life someday.

First, lets analyze, what's the #1 cause of police officer deaths? According to the ODMP website, in 2005, there were 156 total line of duty deaths (reported to them). Of those numbers, 33 were from automobile accidents, which interestingly are not all police chases, but was the #1 cause of death. Of course this makes sense; we're on the road more then most people.

But what does this mean to you and I?  Well, it means to me that I need to drive safer and be aware of the fact that history is showing me that if I die while at work, this is the most probable cause.  And lets think about this for a second.  How many times do we actually get into police chase?  Depending on where you work, it could only be once every year, or where I work about once every 3 days is more likely.  So lets talk about police chases for a moment.

Based on my own experience, when I first got into a police chase I didn't worry about a lot of things.  I mean you just don't at first.  I never realized the consequences if something went bad until later in my career.  Everything is happening so fast and your only objective is to catch the son of a bitch that is running from you.  And luckily for me, none of my chases turned deadly.  Yes, I'm covered by the law (now anyway), even in third party deaths, as long as I didn't directly cause the suspect to crash (i.e. making physical contact with them, pushing them into someone for example).  But do I really want to live with that?  And for the point of this article, am I even considering my own life risk?

Well just to get back on topic, I'm talking about you, me and fellow officers.  Who cares about the suspect.  We have to come #1.  So since this is the #1 cause, let us remind ourselves if we fly through that red light or yield sign and not stop or at least slow down enough to make it safe (while the bad guy goes through at 100 MPH), then so be it.  At least I know I'm going home.  Yes, the bad guy might get away, but at least I know I'm going home tonight to see my family again.

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