Thursday, July 1, 2010

Recent CHP Officers Deaths Raises Concerns on Traffic Violation Stops Procedures

The recent deaths of two CHP officers have put the spotlight on the law enforcement agency and their procedures when stopping a traffic law violator.

Just this weekend, Officers Brett Oswald and Officer Justin McGrory were killed in separate vehicle accidents; both happened during stops.

Officer Oswald was waiting for a tow truck to remove an abandoned car near Paso Robles when a woman, who apparently lost control, rear ended his patrol car.
The 21-year-old veteran was hurled in the air and landed on the woman’s car.

Justin McGrory on the other hand just stopped a speeding vehicle when a 2009 Pontiac, which was being driven by an 18-year-old kid, struck him and his patrol car.

The two fatal car accidents has brought to five, the total number of CHP officers killed in similar related accidents in less than 2 months.

Although the incidents were probably caused by the other drivers’ negligence, it may also be time to change the standard operating procedure (SOP) or review the guidelines to ensure the safety of an officer when he accosts erring motorists on the road.

Although these procedures have been in place for more than a decade, it does not mean it does not have room for improvement.

The concerns about where traffic officers can make a stop so that they are relatively safe from vehicles moving in high speeds can be the first one addressed in the discussion.

For the family of Officers Brett Oswald and Justin McGrory, they should consult with a wrongful death attorney to know how they can make a claim against the drivers who caused the accidents that claimed the lives of the two officers.

Although the compensation they can get is not going to replace their loved ones, it is something they deserve for what they lost and can also serve as a statement that the state recognizes that they have been wronged.