A metro police officer was injured this weekend when investigators say a drunk driver hit his car. One of the officer’s injuries was caused by the computer that came loose from the car, hitting him in the head.
The accident Saturday night and the injury suffered by an officer has led to the department checking the mounts in all their patrol cars. “You always have to be concerned about what is in your vehicle and it could have been a briefcase – it could have been a backpack – it could have been anything. In this case it was apparently a computer. You have the mounts that you have to look at and you also have to make sure that you successfully put it in there so that it is not gonna come out cause they’re designed obviously for this environment,” says Long.
But is the threat of a flying projectile the only danger these computers pose? What about distracted driving? Long explains, “There is a voice component to the dispatch text that comes through – there is a voice component to responses from NCIC – so there is that distraction and I don’t know whether there’s been any short or long term studies about whether this has increased the number of traffic accidents. The officers are responsible for checking the information and accessing the information in a safe manor – in most cases you’re going to see them at a stop light or if it’s something detailed they are going to pull over to the side of the road because they do realize.”
She says the computers are mounted high enough so that it’s in the officers field of vision while they keep an eye on the road. Training also plays a role in using the computers safely. The officer injured in Saturday night’s accident was treated in released. The man police say hit him was arrested and faces numerous charges.