State Patrol pushes safety campaign to keep police deaths down on roads

CSP damage

CSP reported at least six accidents that led to injured troopers or damaged patrol cars since Dec. 19, 2013. (Photo: CSP)

DENVER — Colorado State Patrol leaders are taking action to try to reduce the number of law enforcement who get hit and injured or killed on state roads.

Patrol Chief Col. Scott Hernandez is ordering his troopers and asking all Colorado peace officers to undergo the “Below 100” training, to make sure officers are employing four basic safety procedures.

They include: using reflective vests, wearing their seat belts, staying focused and off social media, and remembering their main job is community safety.

“We don’t want to lose any more officers to careless actions on their part, regardless of actions of members of the public,” said Hernandez. “We have to make sure we are doing everything we can to keep our personnel safe, so in turn we can ensure public safety.”

Nationwide, more than 111 officers were killed last year, 46 in traffic incidents, 11 involved them outside of their cars. The goal is to return to numbers recorded in 1944, when less than 100 were killed in the line of or while on duty.

Trooper Scott Hinshaw was almost killed along with his partner Zack Templeton, back in October of 2007, when a 17-year-old struck both of them while they were handling a wreck.

Hinshaw is still recovering from his injuries and pleads with the public to stay focused, off cell phones, and to refrain from eating and doing other distracting things while they are behind the wheel.

“It just takes a second for things to go wrong, when you are not paying attention,” said Hinshaw. I can only say the worst thing people can do when they get behind the wheel is something other than concentrating on watching out for the other guy.”

The State Patrol is asking the public to use the four tenets of “Below 100” when they are driving as well, so everyone makes it to where ever they are going safely.