A truck driver and a police officer were sent to the hospital after a crash last week. The wreck occurred on Eastland Street at Hanna Street, in the northeastern part of our city, when the officer was responding to a call.
The condition of the drivers was not immediately released, but, hopefully, neither will suffer serious injury.
This collision reminds us again of the dangers involved in the high-speed operation of emergency vehicles. The police department must thoroughly review its policies governing high-speed responses. Citizens of our community understand that, on occasion, law enforcement must pursue suspects or hurry to a scene. Yet, these chases impose huge risks upon motorists using the roadways. In fact, the threat to public safety of a chase can exceed the need for an emergency response. Serious injuries and deaths have resulted from high-speed operation of police vehicles. Accordingly, a panel comprising local leaders-consisting of both law enforcement officers and civilians-must vigorously review the policies of the Houston Police Department in this matter. And, since cities across the nation have dealt with this same issue, the review should consider the variety of policies adopted by other localities.
Our streets should be safe for public use. And the police department should make them safer, not more dangerous. Thus, the police force must be operated with modern policies designed to reduce risks for the public.