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2018 Officer Traffic Safety Winner
The Placer County (CA) Sheriff’s Office is made up of 270 sworn officers and 301 civilian personnel, serving a population of 376,000.
In response to the trend of law enforcement officers dying due to traffic incidents, the Placer County Sheriff ’s Office instituted training that went above the requirements of the California Police Officer Standards and Training (POST). All officers are required to participate in annual training on the department’s pursuit policy, as well as behind the wheel perishable skills training (double the minimum POST requirement).
Officers have to perform a slow-speed driving course that incorporates the following maneuvers: turn around, parallel parking, reverse driving, off set lane, cul-de-sac U-Turn, “Y” driveway, steering course (forward & reverse), bootleg turn, chicane, angled driveway, and “T” driveway. They also have to participate in a high-speed pursuit course involving a suspect vehicle and two pursuing units. Training staff set up the course annually along with portable street signs, stop signs, and a trained dispatcher to simulate calling out directions, speeds, and traffic conditions. A collision avoidance course is included to train officers to react to sudden obstacles at high speeds.
In 2016, the department hosted the Below 100 program for their officers and outside agencies. The Sheriff ’s Office has aggressively posted Below 100 posters throughout the various facilities they occupy and on vehicle egress gates as the last reminder to watch speeds and wear seatbelts when operating motor vehicles. These officer traffic safety posters feature photos of the department’s own vehicles that have sustained damage as a result of a collision.
Supervisory staff conducts random spot checks for speed law compliance. The Sheriff ’s Office also has a mandatory seatbelt policy requiring staff to wear their seatbelts when operating a department vehicle.