Racing to a call as fast as possible has become an accepted part of being a cop. As deadly crashes involving speeding police cars mount, more agencies, including the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, are considering speed limits and other measures to make sure their officers get to their destinations safely, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “The most danger officers face today is not guns. It’s not violence. It’s speed and intersections. That’s what’s killing America’s finest today,” said Tulsa, Ok., police Capt. Travis Yates, an emergency driving instructor and owner of the policedriving.com Web site. Two fatal crashes involving Las Vegas police in five months illustrate how driving to the scene can be one of the deadliest parts of a cop’s job.
Last year, more police in America died in traffic crashes, 44, than from gunshots, 39, according to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, which tracks officer deaths. That trend has continued through the first half of this year, with traffic deaths outpacing shooting deaths 35 to 22. For the 12th year in a row, traffic-related incidents remain the leading cause of death for law enforcement officers. As police agencies come to grips with those statistics and find themselves dealing with their own deadly crashes, they are reversing a history of less restrictive driving policies in favor of those that put safety ahead of expediency. In the past year, the Dallas Police Department and the Illinois State Police limited how fast their officers can drive. Both moves were prompted by officer-caused crashes that killed civilians. Las Vegas could follow suit after a review of its driving policies ordered by Sheriff Doug Gillespie when officer James Manor, 28, died in May. Manor, who was responding to a domestic dispute call, was driving at a speed of 109 mph without lights and sirens when a pickup turned into his path.