LEO crash leads to a question.

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Thread: LEO crash leads to a question.

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array MilitaryPower's Avatar
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    LEO crash leads to a question.

    Deputy responding to shooting flips cruiser | news-press.com | The News-Press
    Deputy responding to shooting flips cruiser

    A Lee County sheriff's deputy remained hospitalized Sunday night after she crashed her vehicle - reportedly by swerving to avoid a pedestrian in a wheelchair - while responding to a shooting in Lehigh Acres earlier in the day.


    Meanwhile, two Immokalee residents were injured in the shooting incident. Two persons of interest were detained for questioning, although no charges had been filed Sunday night, according to the Lee County Sheriff's Office.

    Deputy Susan Ferri, 33, was in stable condition at Lee Memorial Hospital. Another deputy who was a passenger in the cruiser

    Ferri was driving, field training officer Jamie Thorpe, 31, was treated and released earlier Sunday.

    At 2 a.m. Sunday, deputies received a call about a shooting on Ground Dove Circle in Lehigh Acres, according to the sheriff's office. Deputies at the scene found a 16-year-old male - whose name is being withheld because of his age - who had been shot in his upper body. The teen was transported to the Trauma Center at Lee Memorial Hospital.

    A second shooting victim, 20-year-old Eliezer Alce, had left the scene, but called for medical assistance and was taken to the hospital for treatment.

    The condition of the shooting victims was not known Sunday night.

    Ferri, responding to the call, was driving on Homestead Road near Andros Street with her vehicle's lights and sirens on when 66-year-old James C. Kane of Lehigh Acres, using a wheelchair, crossed the road ahead of her, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report. Ferri swerved her car to the left, then to the right, and struck two reflector signs and a traffic-signal pole before overturning.

    Ferri was ejected from the vehicle and airlifted to the Trauma Center at Lee Memorial. Her passenger, Thorpe, was taken from the crash scene by ambulance.

    It is uncertain whether either of the deputies were wearing seat belts. Accident reports normally indicate whether those involved were wearing seat belts, but no such indication was made on the FHP report on this crash. Neither FHP officials nor sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Larry King could confirm Sunday night if the deputies were wearing seat belts.

    Kane, the man in the wheelchair, has been charged with failure to yield to an emergency vehicle.



    I have it from inside sources that say that both deputies were not wearing their seatbelts (not in accordance with policy). As I'll be starting my career into the LE community starting next month, I'm interested in current LEO's methods in dealing with the situation of seatbelts. Obviously, wearing a seatbelt while driving is a good idea, but when you need to get out of the car, you need be be out 2 seconds ago, so seatbelts are not such a good idea then. You can die going either way. At this point in time I say that I'd wear the seatbelt until I get close to the scene then unbuckle so I can clear out immediately as that car can be a coffin real quick.

    What do you do and why do you do it (not just your departments policy)?
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    Generally, I wear my seatbelt. If there are some extenuating circumstances, I may take it off, but it is on much more often than not. Statistically, we as LEOs are MUCH more likely to be injured in an auto accident than by a BG shooting us because we couldn't get out of the car fast enough. I'm a big believer in odds...
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    What do you do and why do you do it (not just your departments policy)?
    My dept leaves it up to our discretion.

    I always wear a seatbelt. I have been known to roll up to a stop, pop it off before I actually stop, put the car in park and take off running. To me, not wearing it while driving is stupid. Running stop lights, passing other vehicles, people jumping out in frot of you, deer, dogs, there is just too much that can happen when driving. You cant imagine how many cop cars get rear ended.We have had several this year.

    Like anything else, you have to use common sense.
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    Also, generally cars do not flip over unless it is a vehicle with a lot of ground clearance, like a passenger van, truck, or SUV. It's a bit of a Hollywood myth that swerving in a car will cause it to flip (apparently Bond did it in Casino Royale with his DB9, I groaned a bit at that)... it will either understeer or oversteer under extreme steering load at high speed. If you hit something though that will flip the car - in her case, the poles that she hit unfortunately.

    I haven't been in a wreck so critical, but I'd say you'd be safer with the belt on than off.

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    Not trying to start any argument here, but if your state law makes seat belt use mandatory, then there really isn't any question. Being a LEO does not exempt you from following that law.
    If it is the law and you are injured, you are screwed. You are not entitled to workmans comp, and insurance does not have to pay, due to your negligence.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HotGuns View Post
    My dept leaves it up to our discretion.

    I always wear a seatbelt. I have been known to roll up to a stop, pop it off before I actually stop, put the car in park and take off running. To me, not wearing it while driving is stupid. Running stop lights, passing other vehicles, people jumping out in frot of you, deer, dogs, there is just too much that can happen when driving. You cant imagine how many cop cars get rear ended.We have had several this year.

    Like anything else, you have to use common sense.
    It's also state law to wear seat belts here! Discretion? Interesting...I won't take that any further, I promise.

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    I'd though the debate of whether or not wearing a seatbelt can make a significant and critical difference in ones survivability was settled once and for all with the Princess Di crash.

    Wearing a seatbelt should be a no brainer.
    Removal of a properly functioning sealtbelt takes ~1s longer than it does to just jump out the car. If ~1s makes a real cost difference then you or the person you were trying to get to was going to be dead regardless.

    As noted by HG, use your common sense. This is akin to the should or shouldn't I wear body armor question.
    Being ejected out of your vehicle is not something that should be occurring.

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    Many state seat belt laws exempt LEOs on-duty from the requirement to wear them. Many agencies' policies require it, but some don't.

    If a LEO is working in a state where the law exempts them, and the policy doesn't require it, they are OK legally speaking.

    That said, I always wear mine except when stationary or arriving at a hot call.
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    A lot more LEO'S are killed in traffic than they are by anything else.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    So what's the question? Is it whether or not the deputies were wearing seatbelts? I hope for a speedy recovery for the injured officers, but this reads more like a classic case of poor judgment; I can't find anything deeper to read into.


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    The problem with unbuckling when approaching a scene is that unless I have a crystal ball on the dash, and time to consult it, I may not know exactly when/where I will stop, or if I will have to start a vehicular pursuit upon arrival, or if a vehicle fleeing the scene will strike mine while fleeing the scene, or if another police vehicle will crash into mine right before we both arrive. This latter scenario occurred within my agency recently.

    I am not saying I wait until I am totally stopped to unbuckle. I try to balance risk and benefit. I see co-workers who unbuckle when still several blocks away, and I think that is too soon.

    My agency policy is that the seatbelts be fastened if the vehicle is in motion. I don't know anyone who rigidly adheres to the letter of that policy.

    Regarding the car-as-coffin concept, well, that can be true, but the car is also one's fastest way to change position, while still retaining a bit of concealment and cover.

    I will pray for the deputies' recovery.

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    Senior Member Array MilitaryPower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BAC View Post
    So what's the question?
    Your reason for wearing/not wearing your seat belt in your patrol car and how you deal with it when driving and getting out of your car quickly.

    The BG's more than likely won't be wearing their seatbelt and can bail quickly while it takes an officer wearing their seatbelt precious moments from doing the same because they have to unbuckle (especially with all the gear that the belt can get caught on) and the bad guy knows this. A BG can stop his car and run back towards the officer's car firing a gun, faster than it takes for the officer to unbuckle and open his door. A compromise must be taken between being ready for a crash and being ready to get out quickly.
    Gun control can be blamed in part for allowing 9/11 to happen.
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    BAC
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    Quote Originally Posted by MilitaryPower View Post
    Your reason for wearing/not wearing your seat belt in your patrol car and how you deal with it when driving and getting out of your car quickly.
    Ah, okay. Thanks for the clarification.


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    Not only that, but unbuckling can and will foul a draw. When trying to execute a felony stop, you sure dont want to have to deal with a fouled draw with all of the other stuff you have to worry about.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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    Getting injured on-duty in a GOV crash while not wearing a seatbelt will lead to zero coverage by my agency as a line-of-duty injury since I'm out of compliance with policy.
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