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Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 11:07am

Emergency Crashes Focus Of New Training

Georgia law enforcement agencies are rolling out new training next month to cut down crashes that happen when police are responding to emergencies.

On-duty officers were involved in nearly 2,500 traffic crashes last year in Georgia. And of the 131 officers killed in the line of duty across the country, 49 were in a traffic-related incident.

Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills said the danger occurs during high-speed chases and in the course of answering emergency calls. He said it's not a new problem, but the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association has a new weapon against such accidents in the form of two new, state-of-the-art simulators for a new training program.

“Just because the law says I can run that red light doesn’t mean I go through it," said Sills, president of the sheriffs' association. "You approach that red light, you stop, you look, make sure there’s not a car coming, then you proceed through it. Telling somebody that and then putting them in a device where they can actually do this without endangering themselves or others is an invaluable component.”

Sills compared the simulators to the kind pilots use in flight training. The enhanced training is a joint effort between the sheriffs’ association and the state department of public safety.