Thursday, February 5, 2009
Boise Coppers To Cut Code 3 Responses
by Davd Frazier Feburary 5, 2009
If it seems like you can’t walk outside without hearing an emergency siren wailing, you are probably correct.
Boise coppers make more than 10,000 high speed responses in the past three years, but an estimated 38% of those adrenaline charged car races will be eliminated when a new set of rules go into effect by March 1.
Top copper Mike Masterson made a presentation to the City Council Tuesday detailing some of the reasons for cutting back on the lights and siren responses–often by two coppers at a time. The main reason is such a response is now needed and the risk to other motorists is too great to continue the practice.
Currently 911 dispatchers make the decision based on a “protocol” that is programmed into the computer aided dispatch system. Masterson and staff reviewed the types of calls and found that just on typical injury accident calls only a fraction of the calls are incapacitating injuries AND there are firemen and EMS medics also responding. So, instead of two coppers putting the pedal to the metal, only one gets the go fast assignment on injury accidents.
The new protocol is a drastic cutback on the numbers and speed of responses and should not compromise public safety in any way. One basic premise under the new plan is to “start slow” and increase use of lights and siren according to need rather than go fast “just in case.”
Here is an excerpt from the new rules:
Emergency responses shall be authorized only when one or more of the following emergency conditions exist or are believed to exist based upon reliable information:
• When the situation involves the imminent potential for serious injury or death to any person
• In order to prevent or halt a crime of violence
• When a serious public hazard exists
• When an emergency response will enhance the likelihood of apprehending a felony suspect
• When a critical incident or potentially major incident has not yet been stabilized by on-scene units
Command personnel, investigative personnel, and support staff responding to the scene of a critical or major incident shall only conduct an emergency response at the request of an officer on the scene.
In his report to the councilors, Masterson notes that liability from code 3 responses is one of the top risks for cities nationwide. Boise coppers crashed 13 times during code 3 runs over the past three years and he has increased the amount of driver training for emergency responses.
I hear more sirens in Caldwell than I have ever experienced in cities many times the size of Caldwell. 10th Avenue is a constant source of siren noise that carries for many blocks in all directions. The subject of siren noise has been raised several times by THE GUARDIAN over the years to no avail. Hard to believe sirens are necessary in the wee hours of the morning and dark of the night. Lights can be seen a long way off. Most cars travel with the windows rolled up and radio on. Siren use needs to be rethought and some reasonable use determined for the peace and quit aspects of the community.
Posted by Paul Alldredge at 7:37 PM