July 06, 2009
Chevy Impala safety alert
Lt. John Moore, UNC Chapel Hill (NC) PD
During our in-service training this year we included High Risk Vehicle Stops. Our Officer Cameron Gales played the role of one of our suspects during the scenarios. Officer Gales made an observation that we need to be attentive to.
In the scenario, the cover officer at some point takes over commands to the driver/passenger of the suspect vehicle and has that suspect walk back to a position of cover behind the contact/primary officer vehicle, at which point he places the suspect into either a kneeling or prone handcuffing position. Our training parallels that of NC BLET outlines.
What Officer Gales noticed is that as he was in a kneeling handcuffing position behind our Chevrolet Impala patrol vehicle, he was able to use the chrome trim on the rear of the vehicle as a mirror and could observe the cover officer make his approach. I looked at what he described and the chrome trim provided clear view of everything behind the suspect to include the cover officer, as well as any other officers, vehicles, K-9's, etc. Even if we opted for the prone position, the suspect would be able to view to the rear when going from a kneeling to a prone position.
Please be alert to this detail which could create severe officer safety concerns. Please forward this to any agency utilizing the Chevrolet Impala patrol vehicle.