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What Slows Down Emergency Responders When Every Second Counts

A few weeks ago I was watching a “dash cam” video from one of our cars. The video came from a sergeant’s car as he was in route to intercept the pursuit of an armed robbery suspect. The sergeant’s role is to supervise the pursuit — it is his/her responsibility to make sure our policies and procedures are followed to ensure the safety of the public and the officers themselves. He was trying to get to the location where he expected the pursuit to end. In this case it was an armed robbery of a gas station where a gun was seen. The video shows him struggling to get around a truck in the left lane. The sergeant was using lights and sirens and still the truck wouldn’t move. Ultimately he did, but slowly. It wasn’t clear if he didn’t hear or see the police car behind him or he didn’t know what to do. Playing loud radios or wearing headphones or talking on the telephone in the car is commonplace now. It creates a dangerous situation for us and delays our response.

We have changed our response policies for both police and fire to limit our use of lights and sirens. So when you see us coming lights and sirens — it is the real deal.

I’ve attached a news story that gives some detail to the subject.

By the way, the law in Michigan says to pull to the right to allow emergency vehicles to pass. It is very dangerous for us to pass you on the right and we train our folks not to do that. Allow us to pass by pulling to the right and stopping.

We know you want us to be there when you need our help. Paying attention to emergency vehicles and pulling over helps us get where we are going.

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Doreen Olko
Director of Public Safety
Auburn Hills Department of Public Safety, Michigan