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ironpony
04-26-11, 03:50 AM
Are cops allowed to speed without their sirens on? I saw on the news of one who killed a teenage girl from doing it, but can't remember the name of the officer or the girl. It happened in Edmonton, Canada. That was a few weeks ago, and just I was driving today, a cop speed through an intersection at about 15 miles over the limit on a read light, and almost hit he, coming in sideways. Because of the siren I had no idea, he was even coming and at that speed, I wouldn't have been able to stop or move, and could have been killed.

Are cops allowed to answer emergency calls, and speed, without sirens on? I was told it was illegal by my friends, but some websites say different. I called the 911 operator and reported the cop right after, but if you look at the news stories, nothing happens in these situations, and it seems like cops can endanger or kill whoever they want while speeding. The cop in the news got off free and nothing happened.

If it were a civilian speeding through red lights 15 miles over and nailed someone, they would be put on trial, so I feel it is unfair that the prosecutors feel they shouldn't treat everyone behind the wheel the same way. I'm very pro-police, and respect them having to speed to emergency calls, but aren't they legally required to put their sirens on to warn people?

Okay for some reason this thread posted itself twice I noticed. Sorry about that.


Reapp
04-26-11, 09:14 AM
Yes, it is legal to drive w/o sirens (in TX at least). No, it is not smart to drive through a red light without due regard for others.

retdetsgt
04-26-11, 09:18 AM
In Oregon, the law says we have to drive with "due caution" no matter whether or not we have the siren on or not.


BP348
04-26-11, 01:39 PM
Holy crap you need to go back and proof read your posts!!

As to your question Yes LEO's can respond without lights or sirens.

I have read accounts of officers being prosecuted for injuring/killing someone for speeding in a unit while not responding to a call.

Gutwrench
04-26-11, 03:36 PM
I don't believe this has changed in California but hopefully someone will correct me if so...generally in CA an emergency vehicle is exempt from certain sections of the vehicle code when displaying a solid red light visible from the front and sounding a siren "as may be reasonably necessary."

Like most things dealing with legal issues, the law is examined in the light of the specific circumstances.

When it comes to civil issues the law and department policy will be closely reviewed against the actions.

cntryboy0531
04-26-11, 04:48 PM
Cops are held to the same standard when they operate their vehicles with disregard for the safety of others. HOWEVER if they are driving fast, while carefully doing so, and in the performance of their LAWFUL duties, it's a bit different than joe shmoe driving 20 over the speed limit because he's late for dinner and kills someone. It's not reasonable to tell law enforcement "Ok, you drive as you are trained, obey all of the applicable laws while driving quickly to get to a call including lights and sirens, and make no mistakes, and someone crashes with you, YOU will be charged for causing it". There is a significant difference there.

However, if a cop kills someone on duty, and they are completely found out at fault for the crash, and had no lawful reason for breaking the speed limit, then they can be charged with various things. Broward County Florida just had a Deputy charged with Vehicular Homicide for killing someone in a crash where speeding was a factor. The deputy has since been fired and is now facing criminal charges. It's all about the circumstances around the crash.

BJJVad
04-26-11, 05:32 PM
Why would you call 911 to report the Officer? 911 is for EMERGENCIES. Not for reporting Officer's misconduct. Call the station and complain to a supervisor.

Blackgoat06
04-27-11, 09:20 AM
An officer at one of my old departments got in a crash at an intersection with lights and sirens on. It was an unmarked car but it lit up pretty well. This was in the daytime. No one got hurt other than the cars.

Somehow the insurance company found him at fault. We still can't figure out that one.

I guess this isn't that relevant to the post but I guess it shows you're damned if you do, damned if you don't

mcsap
04-27-11, 12:06 PM
Even though lights and sirens give us additional " abilities" , it does not relieve us from operating with care in caution while doing so. Each case must be viewed independantly.

Have I turned off my light and siren when approaching a bank alarm or burglar alarm ? Yes. Would I do so while 4 miles away ? No.

cntryboy0531
04-27-11, 01:28 PM
An officer at one of my old departments got in a crash at an intersection with lights and sirens on. It was an unmarked car but it lit up pretty well. This was in the daytime. No one got hurt other than the cars.

Somehow the insurance company found him at fault. We still can't figure out that one.

I guess this isn't that relevant to the post but I guess it shows you're damned if you do, damned if you don't

Insurance companies are their own animal. You can be cleared of fault criminally, but still be held civilaly liable for the crash.

MP_Steve
04-29-11, 05:53 AM
In my home state, law enforcement officers are immune to civil lawsuits arraising from accidents that are the result of responding to an emergency. I suspect that there must be a similar type of immunity up there in Canada. Police officers must drive with due regard to the safety of the public in any situation. This isn't Grand Theft Auto :)

retdetsgt
04-29-11, 08:54 AM
In my home state, law enforcement officers are immune to civil lawsuits arraising from accidents that are the result of responding to an emergency. I suspect that there must be a similar type of immunity up there in Canada. Police officers must drive with due regard to the safety of the public in any situation. This isn't Grand Theft Auto :)

Oregon doesn't have that. I was sued once when a woman pulled out in front of me when I was going code 3. She hit a pedestrian standing on the sidewalk. He sued the city because we had the deep pockets and she was uninsured. He lost that one because the allegation was I didn't have the lights and siren on. A couple of witnesses down the street saw me pass by with them on.

cntryboy0531
04-29-11, 09:17 AM
In my home state, law enforcement officers are immune to civil lawsuits arraising from accidents that are the result of responding to an emergency. I suspect that there must be a similar type of immunity up there in Canada. Police officers must drive with due regard to the safety of the public in any situation. This isn't Grand Theft Auto :)

Yeah we have nothing like that in Florida. Matter of fact, in State Statutes it states that nothing in the "exceptions" to us being able to violate traffic laws, supercedes the fact we have to drive with due care. We can be lights and sirens, but if we are driving like we stole the car (like blowing through red lights at 80mph) then we could still be sued, or held criminally liable for injuries or death.

Frankly, I take my time going to calls or accidents now. Working a few fatal crashes, you find out just how easy these can happen at such low speeds. Even before I worked traffic homicide, I told people who complained about response times as to why I took so long, even to a high priority call. Maybe I'm an a$$hole, but I flat out told people "your situation is not worth me getting sued or going to jail over". I then directed them to their state legislator to change the laws if they were that pi$$ed over response times.

I just don't care.

MP_Steve
04-29-11, 03:11 PM
Yeah, the reason its like that in my home state is over a decade ago a deputy struck a car while responding lights only to a call. The family of the occupants sued and won initially I believe, then it was appealed to the state supreme court who overturned the ruling, saying that police aren't liable for T/As while responding to emergencies. I was in middle school when that happened, and I no longer reside there so things may have changed in the years since.

Gutwrench
04-30-11, 06:38 AM
Insurance companies are their own animal. You can be cleared of fault criminally, but still be held civilaly liable for the crash.

1. From the ten thousand foot level, a California police officer is fully indemnified by their agency as long as they are acting within the "scope of his or her employment." The entity will pay for the civil defense and settlement or award. There have been several jaw dropping examples of officers being indemnified for some wholly stupid acts. As long as you are doing your job and your actions are not totally outrageous you can expect to be indemnified.

2. Unless something has changed dramatically over the past few years, most cities and counties in CA are self insured entities.

retdetsgt
04-30-11, 08:12 AM
1. From the ten thousand foot level, a California police officer is fully indemnified by their agency as long as they are acting within the "scope of his or her employment." The entity will pay for the civil defense and settlement or award. There have been several jaw dropping examples of officers being indemnified for some wholly stupid acts. As long as you are doing your job and your actions are not totally outrageous you can expect to be indemnified.

2. Unless something has changed dramatically over the past few years, most cities and counties in CA are self insured entities.

That's the way it is here. I don't know about other cities and counties, but Portland is self insured.

The only glitch is that there is a state law saying that if any punitive damages are awarded, the employee has to pay those out of his own pocket. I've never seen anyone ask for punitive though.

ironpony
09-08-11, 02:02 AM
Why would you call 911 to report the Officer? 911 is for EMERGENCIES. Not for reporting Officer's misconduct. Call the station and complain to a supervisor.

I called 911 cause in my opinion it was an emergency. This officer was driving without lights and siren and going about pretty far over the speed limit, so I thought the longer I take to report it, he could have killed someone by then. So I decided to call 911 since it was still in progress.

In the moment I thought if I call 911 now, maybe officers can intercept him in time, or maybe the dispatch will call him off, and he'll pull over and stop driving dangerously for the time being at least. I had a split second to calculate whether it was an emergency at the time or not, since he could have killed someone.

And yeah I looked it up. Apparently a cop can drive without lights and sirens on if he has a reason to speed, like chasing someone for example. But why is that? The siren is there to warn people, and I almost got killed, since I had no warning, to see him coming, and other people have been killed from it too, like in that example I gave.

It seems to me that the siren is there to warn people, and if they don't use it, they are disregarding safety of innocent bystanders, and this officer who killed this person (not the one I reported, the one in the news before), should be charged with some sort of vehicular manslaughter for not putting his siren on.

I feel it's a double standard that a cop should be exempt from a felony, while on duty, cause he acted carelessly not to warn people, where as if a regular person blew through a red light and creamed a bystander, would be in severe trouble. But that's just my opinion.

scott715us
09-08-11, 03:10 AM
In my home state, law enforcement officers are immune to civil lawsuits arraising from accidents that are the result of responding to an emergency. I suspect that there must be a similar type of immunity up there in Canada. Police officers must drive with due regard to the safety of the public in any situation. This isn't Grand Theft Auto :)

I'm not aware of any states that give immunity to officers from accidents. If they don't drive with due regard they can be held liable.

As far as the siren issue, TN law specifically states that audible and visual signals must be used in order to be exempt from traffic laws. Is it illegal if we don't use a siren? NO. Can we be held liable if we don't use the siren and crash into someone? Depends. If the officer was driving with "due regard," even without the siren, it's going to be hard to win against him. If the siren was off, which didn't give notice to other vehicles, that works against the officer in most cases (in my opinion).


I called the 911 operator and reported the cop right after, but if you look at the news stories, nothing happens in these situations, and it seems like cops can endanger or kill whoever they want while speeding.

DO NOT EVER call 911 to complain about an officer. That is an emergency number, not a complaint number. If you follow just the media (including the news), you never get the whole story. Believing anything the media says and making total conclusions from what you watch on tv is not very bright. News stations and media will always mention a lawsuit against people, especially something that could be a sensationalistic story like suing police officers, but they rarely follow up on the final decisions made by the trial or appellate courts. We don't "get away" with anything. If the lawsuit makes it to a jury trial, then citizens like you, who are not police officers, decide on the outcome of the case. When all of the truth comes out, which is normally much more than the media portrays, things are definitely not what they seem.


I called 911 cause in my opinion it was an emergency. This officer was driving without lights and siren and going about pretty far over the speed limit, so I thought the longer I take to report it, he could have killed someone by then. So I decided to call 911 since it was still in progress.

You seriously think a dispatcher or supervisor is going to tell an officer over the radio to stop what he's doing because someone called in that felt he was driving dangerously?

"Still in progress?" Even if he was driving without a siren or faster than you believed to be safe, it's not a crime. At worst he could get disciplined by his department or sued in civil court. You're not helping anyone by calling 911. They're not going to take action because you called in to express your opinion. That's not an "emergency situation" that would warrant a 911 call, no matter what your opinion is on the issue of his driving.


Apparently a cop can drive without lights and sirens on if he has a reason to speed, like chasing someone for example. I have never seen an officer actively pursuing a violator without use of his siren.


**So you start on the forum talking about a "story" about a female officer doing an illegal search, then you move into a thread about a ticket you received. Now you're going into officers speeding around and killing people. The trend you're carrying isn't going to go far here.

ironpony
09-08-11, 03:41 AM
I wasn't calling 911 to complain about him, I was calling to report him in progress of the act. I know now after research that it's not a crime, but I assumed it could be within the split seconds I had to make a decision. I thought best call while in progress, figure everything else out later.

I know that a dispatcher wouldn't do that, but I at the time of course I had to make a decision, and did not think of what the dispatcher would or would not do clearly at the time. I was mainly thinking about the officer being stopped at any possibly, which is why I decided to call and weigh in everything else after.

scott715us
09-08-11, 06:37 AM
I wasn't calling 911 to complain about him, I was calling to report him in progress of the act. I know now after research that it's not a crime, but I assumed it could be within the split seconds I had to make a decision. I thought best call while in progress, figure everything else out later.

I know that a dispatcher wouldn't do that, but I at the time of course I had to make a decision, and did not think of what the dispatcher would or would not do clearly at the time. I was mainly thinking about the officer being stopped at any possibly, which is why I decided to call and weigh in everything else after.

You thought wrong. Call to report him in the act of what? speeding? How do you know it was 15mph over the posted speed limit? Have you been through RADAR/speed estimation training? Looking at a vehicle from the side will always appear faster than actual speeds. The only problem is that you were occupying a 911 emergency line for an opinion of an officer's driving. Here's the deal, there are two sides to every story. If he blew an active red light while cross traffic had the green, then he would have likely hit someone in the intersection. No crime had been committed, no accident occurred, you didn't know the circumstances behind the response, and you're assuming that the officer was driving reckless because you didn't hear an audible siren. You want to reinforce your argument by making a bunch of statements about stories you "heard" or "saw" where officers where killing people left and right when failing to use a siren. While there were cases where officers failed to exercise due care, the liability is so great today, it doesn't happen near as often as it used to. Practically unheard of. Don't come to a PRO-LE forum and imply that we're just a bunch of crazies running people off the road because we have pretty blue lights on top of our car.

BJJVad
09-08-11, 06:40 PM
I called 911 cause in my opinion it was an emergency. This officer was driving without lights and siren and going about pretty far over the speed limit, so I thought the longer I take to report it, he could have killed someone by then. So I decided to call 911 since it was still in progress.

In the moment I thought if I call 911 now, maybe officers can intercept him in time, or maybe the dispatch will call him off, and he'll pull over and stop driving dangerously for the time being at least. I had a split second to calculate whether it was an emergency at the time or not, since he could have killed someone.

And yeah I looked it up. Apparently a cop can drive without lights and sirens on if he has a reason to speed, like chasing someone for example. But why is that? The siren is there to warn people, and I almost got killed, since I had no warning, to see him coming, and other people have been killed from it too, like in that example I gave.

It seems to me that the siren is there to warn people, and if they don't use it, they are disregarding safety of innocent bystanders, and this officer who killed this person (not the one I reported, the one in the news before), should be charged with some sort of vehicular manslaughter for not putting his siren on.

I feel it's a double standard that a cop should be exempt from a felony, while on duty, cause he acted carelessly not to warn people, where as if a regular person blew through a red light and creamed a bystander, would be in severe trouble. But that's just my opinion.

Your opinion is moronic..

No officer is exempt from laws while on duty. Maybe you need to go back to fairly tale land were you came from. Every case that an accident occurs between a LEO and civilian car is scrutinized down to the last tiny detail.

In addition, it has been my observation that MOST accidents that occur between Officers and civilians have been in large part to the civilians lack of paying attention and failing to yield to a light and siren.

Sorry but this has been asked and answered. I believe this poster is trying to make a statement where there is not one to make.

Someone shut this troll down before it gets uglier..

Citicop
09-08-11, 07:11 PM
I have to agree; there's nothing good to be gained by allowing this to continue.