Believe it or not, outside of New Jersey this practice is not that
Philadelphia police officers may no longer activate their lights or
siren without first getting permission from a supervisor.
Ultimately, the city reduces its liability, and the front-line
supervisor gets even more.
Let's hear it for all the sergeants out there.
Big changes are in effect today for emergency vehicles in the city
of Brotherly Love. Instead of using their discretion, those
operating emergency vehicles -- like police cars -- must first get
permission to turn on their lights and sirens.
Currently, emergency vehicle operators can decide when they want to
flip the switch, activating their lights and sirens.
"Leaving it totally to the discretion of officers for non-emergency
calls to activate their lights and sirens is what we're trying to
avoid," Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey told NBC10 exclusively.
Under the new policy, anyone operating an emergency vehicle is
required to request permission from police dispatch or a field
supervisor before turning on their lights or sirens and ignoring
normal traffic laws.
Police are citing the number of officer-involved accidents as a
reason for the change. Last year, the Philadelphia Police Department
had 535 police vehicle accidents.
"We wanna make sure that when people do respond in that fashion,
it's a call where we need to respond and get their that quickly, and
disobey traffic regulations and put the general public and ourselves
at risk," said Ramsey.