Changes for Addis Police Department almost a year after deadly pursuit
ADDIS, La. (WAFB) - After an Addis Police Officer crashed into high schoolers Maggie Dunn and Caroline Gill during a police chase last New Year’s Eve, the department is making changes. Assistant Police Chief Jason Langlois said all of the department’s 16 officers are now equipped with stop sticks to help slow down or stop any police pursuits. They’re also adding dual-tone sirens and rumblers on all their units.
“These actually emit a bass tone so you can feel it in case they have the radio too loud or something so people start looking around and can clear an intersection or something when an emergency vehicle comes through,” said Langlois.
This is something retired law enforcement sergeant Thomas Gleason believes will make a big difference.
“When you’re driving like 80 miles an hour in a 40-mile-an-hour zone, the public doesn’t even realize that the emergency vehicle is in the area,” said Gleason.
Gleason also serves on the advisory board for Pursuit Safety; an organization working to stop tragedies, like Dunn and Gill’s, from happening during pursuits. He said additional defensive driving training for officers can also help.
“You have to consider not only what are you looking at but what are your outside factors that you need to be considering when you’re conducting a pursuit,” said Gleason.
Langlois said the department will now participate in classroom and hands-on emergency vehicle operation training at least once a year. Part of the training includes going over state policies for pursuits.
“We don’t just have a right of way because we have lights and sirens on,” said Langlois. “Our officers have been instructed and taught during some of our trainings to slow down at intersections and make sure it’s clear.”
As for any policy revisions on when to join or initiate a pursuit, Langlois said they’re working with outside agencies to see what would be most effective. He’s also looking into driver simulation training to help his officers be prepared for any situation before they get behind the wheel.
Although these safety measures won’t change what happened, Gleason and Langlois hope it’ll prevent history from repeating itself.
“It will stay with the family for the rest of their lives so if there’s a positive outcome, then that would be one,” said Gleason.
“We’re trying to do anything we can to help public safety and you know move on in the future with better training,” said Langlois.
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