Safety-First Course for Officers; Program Seeks to Reduce Fatalities with Special Training for Police and Fire Personnel

By Jones, Walter C. | The Florida Times Union, October 7, 2012 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Safety-First Course for Officers; Program Seeks to Reduce Fatalities with Special Training for Police and Fire Personnel


Jones, Walter C., The Florida Times Union


Byline: Walter C. Jones

ATLANTA | Their job is to protect the public, but police, fire and rescue personnel are involved in crashes that trigger hundreds of accidents each year in Georgia, some resulting in fatalities. Now a state program is working to reduce that number.

According to figures from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, there were 2,475 collisions involving on-duty officers in 2011. As a result, 386 Georgians were injured and three died.

The most notable of the wrecks killed the wife of Atlanta Braves trainer Jeff Porter one block from the Capitol on New Year's Eve. The officer involved, Trooper First Class Donald Crozier, was fired, but records released to the media show he had been in 20 crashes in his patrol car in his 10 years with the Georgia State Patrol, seven of them determined to be his fault directly.

The new effort involves classroom time, online simulation and realistic challenges in a mock-up trainer the way pilots learn and hone their skills.

The Georgia Department of Public Safety is working with the Georgia Sheriffs' Association, which has purchased two trainers that will begin operations early next month for a course developed by the Georgia Public Safety Training Center.

Every trooper will undergo the program and, starting in South Central Georgia, as many as 10,000 law-enforcement officers and local first-responders will be trained each year. The first 1,000 students have already gone through the initial segment in Perry.

"I think it's safe to say, the more we can train on operating emergency vehicles the better," said Terry Norris, executive director of the Sheriffs Association. "It's just an underlying need to drill into deputy sheriffs and troopers the need for safety."

This is not the first effort to increase safety.

About two decades ago, the law-enforcement community nationally began to address the number of crashes associated with high-speed pursuits.

Agencies began changing their policies to allow officers to break off pursuits if continuation would endanger the public more than allowing a suspect to escape.

"When I started patrolling in the 1970s, you would pursue until the wheels fell off," said Frank Rotondo, executive director, Georgia Chiefs of Police.

After changing the policies, agencies then stepped up their training of recruits and refreshers for veterans to ensure they understood the new approach.

"Like firearms training, you can give them a proficiency rating, but you have to tell them when and when not to use the weapon," Rotondo said.

BYSTANDER INJURIES SPIKED

The State Patrol reports that troopers broke off 13 percent of the 464 pursuits last year. In those chases, 393 vehicles were damaged because nearly half of the pursuits resulted in crashes, even though the average only lasted about 5 minutes over 5 miles.

Wednesday, a car with three occupants died when it crashed during a pursuit in Camden County that a state trooper was leading. One passenger died instantly when the Dodge Charger struck a tree and broke in two, a 16-year-old girl died two days later and the driver was still in a Jacksonville hospital Friday in serious condition.

Last year's pursuits brought four deaths, all of them classified as the "violator." Still, seven officers, 29 bystanders and 73 other violators were injured. Half of all pursuits were over a misdemeanor.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Safety-First Course for Officers; Program Seeks to Reduce Fatalities with Special Training for Police and Fire Personnel
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?