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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- DC's Metropolitan Police Department says it has decreased by more than 100 the number of traffic accidents its officers were involved in last year.
"We've got over 15 hundred vehicles, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Considering the number of crashes that we're actually involved in, I would consider that pretty low, especially with the nature of the job that police officers have; responding to calls, driving in inclement weather, responding to emergency calls for service. I think it's amazing that we're not involved in more crashes," said Assistant Police Chief Patrick Burke.
An analysis by the Washington Examiner newspaper concludes that about one third of the vehicles owned by the Montgomery County Police Department were involved in accidents last year, and about one half of the vehicles on the road for the Metropolitan Police Department were involved in accidents.
"It may serve as a wake-up call that more training is needed, and don't make the assumption that simply because someone has been driving for a great period of time, or for many hours a day, that that makes the person a safe driver behind the wheel. Many police departments around the country are beefing up their driving training because of the high incidents of traffic crashes and fatalities and injuries," said John Townsend of Triple-A, Mid-Atlantic.
"We do very extensive training. All of our recruit officers go through a week of training and then, pending the nature of a collision that an officer is involved in, a preventable collision, then our officers on the street go through remedial training as well. And just a few years ago, as the former head of our crash review board, I went through that training and it's fantastic. If we're seeing an increase in a certain type of collision, that's always taken into consideration by our training academy and adapted into that training," said Assistant Chief Burke.