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Posted: 1/17/2006 6:29:28 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/17/2006 6:30:27 PM EDT by otar]
First off let me state that I believe in seatbelts. They do save lives. As the saying goes, been there and done that. I've picked up parts from MVA's, and cut a few people out of their seatbelts.
My question is why when its a law in Nebraska do these people think their extempt from the law?

Discuss.

www.omaha.com/index.php?u_pg=1636&u_sid=2100060
Three unbelted officers seriously hurt in past month

BY LYNN SAFRANEK


WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER

RELATED STORY


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Officer hurt in crash wasn't wearing seat belt


For area drivers, the oft-used public warning for not wearing a seat belt is clear: Click It or Ticket.

Yet in the past month, three Omaha police officers were not buckled up when they were injured in police cruiser accidents.

Standard police procedure requires Omaha officers to buckle up every time they drive in a city-owned vehicle.

But officers may see this rule as a conflict with other safety concerns.

Studies have shown that typical seat-belt designs can interfere with officers' responses to threats. According to a 2005 study by University of Central Florida researchers, wearing a seat belt can prevent quick maneuvers and easy access to the officers' weapons - moves that could save an officer's life.

Aaron Hanson, president of the Omaha Police Union, said there are situations in which officers don't wear seat belts, even though the best rule of thumb for officers is to wear them as often as possible. Those situations could include times when they need to get out of their cruisers quickly, Hanson said.

Despite this, unbelted officers have been found to be more than twice as likely to die if their patrol car crashes than are officers who wear seat belts, according to the Journal of Trauma.

Also, more officers lose their lives in automobile accidents than in any other type of accident situation.

In 2004, 48 of the 82 officers who were accidentally killed died in automobile wrecks, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Omaha police officers injured in the recent accidents all survived - but with severe injuries.

On Dec. 24, Officers Jeffrey Warnock and Mark Gillaspie were unbuckled when a 1991 Cadillac Seville ran a red light and crashed into their police cruiser at 90th and Maple Streets, police reports show. After being hit, the cruiser hit a 2003 Ford Escape stopped at the red light.

The officers suffered broken bones, including a broken vertebra in Gillaspie's neck. Two passengers in the Escape were wearing seat belts and were not injured. The passenger of the Cadillac also was wearing a seat belt. He was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

Little more than a week later, Officer Chad Simmons was called to join a police pursuit in downtown Omaha. It isn't clear what Simmons was doing before he joined the pursuit. But police reports show the 28-year-old wasn't buckled up when his cruiser crashed at 17th and Cuming Streets. He was left with critical head and neck injuries.

Police reports from the Jan. 2 accident show that Simmons' cruiser spun out on loose gravel when turning south onto 17th Street from Cuming Street.

The cruiser began spinning, hit a metal reflector pole and careened across traffic lanes before smashing into a wooden utility pole at 17th and Burt Streets, according to the reports.

Simmons, who joined the police force in August, was kept in a medically induced coma in the days after the accident.

He has been released from the hospital but continues his recovery from a head injury and a cracked vertebra in his neck.

Omaha Police Sgt. Teresa Negron said the accident is being reviewed by the pursuit and safety review committees, which determine whether proper procedures were followed.

Officers working in high-crime areas or officers with higher workloads were the least likely to wear seat belts, according to the University of Central Florida study, which surveyed 341 officers in the southeastern United States.

"Each situation is different," Hanson said. "We don't know the events that set (Simmons' accident) in motion."

edit for code correction.
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 6:31:32 PM EDT
they're the only people that they know of that are professional enough to drive without seatbelts on
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