Questions Posted to "Ask a Dispatcher"
Q. There have been several times in the past year where I have observed drunk drivers on Egan. Additionally, I often see extremely aggressive drivers speeding, tailgating, and weaving through traffic. What is the best way to notify JPD about these instances while they are happening? I have hands-free calling in my vehicle, so I could safely call as it is happening.
Dear Juneau Resident,
This is actually a tricky question from a public safety viewpoint. Handsfree calling is legal and has often been helpful for law enforcement, however the latest studies we see suggest that it's inattention to driving, mental distraction by devices, that causes vehicle accidents. The issues isn't really where your hands are, it's where your head is (what you are thinking). So, for your own safety we don't want to encourage someone to call JPD while driving. Pulling over can be a good idea but that depends on your location. Egan during a busy time, not very safe, store parking lot, safe.
All of these concerns have to be balanced against the behavior of the dangerous driver. If the driver just hit a pedestrian or caused an injury collision and fled, then calling immediately and as safely as you can is reasonable. If someone is being obnoxious and tailgating, get a license plate number and call us from a safe place but don't risk yourself at all by making a call while driving.
While your question may seem on the simple side, like so many law enforcement issues it gets complicated quickly and just one detail can change everything. That is why the law talks about being reasonable and reasonableness is what JPD encourages. So look at the totality of the circumstances and proceed legally using the same plan you would want any other citizen to use in the same situation.