Outfitted with cellphones, radios to communicate with dispatch, and in-car computers, Arlington. Tx., police have no shortage of distractions while patrolling in their mobile offices. That technology can take an officer’s focus away from the road for too long, department officials tell the Ft. Worth-Star Telegram. At least 18 Arlington officers have been involved in crashes with other cars, curbs, fences and poles over the past three years because they were looking at their devices, not where they were driving.
To prevent more wrecks, the police department updated its driving policy — written before the invention of smartphones — last month to restrict officers’ cellphone and computer activity behind the wheel. The new policy now specifically bans officers from texting, posting to blogs, or tweeting while driving a department vehicle. The policy change comes one year after police began enforcing an ordinance that bans drivers, with the exception of public safety officers, from texting or using cellphones for anything other than phone calls. All 640 officers are required to undergo training next year designed to keep them focused on the road and not technology. “Our goal is zero crashes,” said Interim Police Chief Will Johnson.