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Emergency vehicle driver training by Texas municipal police departments: a descriptive study
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Because of the increase in the number of monetary civil judgments arising out of police emergency driving situations, law enforcement agencies are taking a critical look at their emergency driver training programs. At the present time there is no state mandated emergency driver training program in Texas for police officers. To help promote a statewide emergency vehicle driver training program, this study was undertaken to provide answers to the Following questions: 1) Is competency-based emergency vehicle driver training being taught by Texas municipal police departments?; 2) Does the size of a department have an effect on what is taught within these driver training programs?; 3) Has having an emergency vehicle driver training program had an effect on the number of collisions during emergency driving situations?; and 4) What do police administrators consider to be the advantages and disadvantages of having an emergency vehicle driver training program? A review of the literature suggests that police departments nationwide that have no emergency vehicle driver training program or an inadequate program are at risk of becoming entangled in expensive and time consuming litigation. To accomplish the objectives of the study, 123 Texas municipal police departments with 26 or more sworn police officers were mailed questionnaires that were to be completed and returned to the researcher. The questionnaire requested information on the current emergency driver training program of each agency. Results indicated that there was little done to train municipal police officers in emergency driving. The larger the police department, the more likely the department was to have a driver training program, but these programs seldom encompassed a complete competency-based, task related curriculum. The reasons given for the inadequate training by the majority of police departments centered around monetary constraints. It can be concluded that, without proper attention being given to improving emergency driver training for municipal police officers, municipalities face increasing civil litigation. It is recommended that the state mandate adequate training programs, provide regional training facilities, and require statistical analysis of all traffic collisions involving emergency vehicles.
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Westmoreland, Robert Lawrence (1994). Emergency vehicle driver training by Texas municipal police departments: a descriptive study. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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