Questions Posted to "Ask a Dispatcher"
Q. How come police officers are aloud to go over the speed limit without there lights on in an emergency situation, or better yet, I should ask, who do I contact about prosecuting officers violating speeding laws. It seems 9 out of 10 officers I see are going faster than the speed limit. Its hypocritcal for them to even go a mile over the speed limit.
Dear Juneau Resident,
When an officer is not on a call, he or she is required to abide by all the same traffic laws as any other driver.
There is a state statute, 13AAC 02.517, and a CBJ ordinance that follows the state law that allows for emergency vehicles on a call to exceed the speed limit and take other action civilian drivers are not allowed to do legally. Here is the language from the law:
(a) The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle, when responding to an emergency call, when in pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of a statute, regulation or ordinance, when responding to but not upon returning from a fire alarm, or in the performance of his official duties may disregard a statute, regulation or ordinance governing the operation, stopping, standing or parking of a vehicle, except as provided in this section.
JPD does has policies about when and to what extent driving laws can be disregarded. Our drivers are always responsible for the risk he or she creates and we take driving very seriously.
We find that when people call for emergency help, they want the officers to arrive as quickly as they can in a safe manner. Also some duties, like speed enforcement, are inherently going to require the officer to drive faster than the offender to make the traffic stop.
If you wanted officers cited for speeding in the line of duty you would need to get state law and the similar city ordinance changed. You would have to go to your elected officials.
If you believe that a JPD vehicle is being operated in a reckless manner, that person's supervisor needs to be notified. Please call JPD with specifics so the situation can be addressed. JPD and any other employeer certainly doesn't need any driver out there creating a liability.